Faculty & Research


Research in the Department of Chemistry is loosely organized according to seven paths: analytical, chemical biology, chemistry education research, inorganic, materials, organic and physical chemistry. Faculty are often affiliated with more than one of these seven paths, as summarized below. They also explore a wide array of research topics, which branch out into other areas including astronomy, medical science, pharmacy, and physics, to name a few. Get to know the faculty and learn more about their research below.


Meet the Faculty

Professors of Chemistry

Berry, John

Credentials: Inorganic | Organic

Research Website


Bioinorganic, Physical


• Coordination Chemistry
• Electronic Structure and Bonding
• Synthetic Chemistry
• Crystallography
• Spectroscopy

Bertram, Timothy

Credentials: Analytical

Research Website


Environmental Chemistry, Atmospheric Chemistry


• Atmospheric and environmental chemistry

• Trace gas reactions at atmospheric interfaces

• Air-sea exchange of reactive trace gases and aerosol particles

• Chemical ionization mass spectrometry

• Distributed networks for air pollution monitoring


Also Affiliate Prof. Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences & Environmental Chemistry and Technology

Blackwell, Helen

Credentials: ChemBio | Organic

Research Website


Bioorganic, chemical biology, synthesis, biochemistry


• Cell-cell signaling, or “quorum sensing,” in bacterial pathogens and symbionts

• Chemical biology approaches to intercept cell-cell signaling

• Small molecule and peptide synthesis for chemical probe discovery

• Interspecies and inter-kingdom chemical signaling; methods to control the growth of bacterial communities

• New materials and surfaces for antimicrobial and antivirulence applications

Boydston, AJ

Credentials: Materials | Organic

Research Website


Catalysis, Polymer Synthesis, Functional Materials


• Photoredox catalysis and polymerizations

• Stimuli-responsive materials and polymer mechanochemistry

• Additive manufacturing (3DP)

Brunold, Thomas

Credentials: ChemBio  |  Inorganic  |  Physical

Research Website


Bioinorganic, Physical Inorganic


• Geometric and electronic structures of cofactors and metalloprotein active sites

• Electronic absorption, circular dichroism, magnetic circular dichroism, resonance Raman, and EPR spectroscopies

• Quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics and density functional theory calculations

• Enzymes involved in coenzyme B12 biosynthesis and B12-dependent enzymes

• Thiol dioxygenases

Buller, Andrew R.

Credentials: ChemBio  |  Organic

Research Website


Biocatalysis, Protein Engineering, Biophysics, Synthesis


• Biocatalytic synthesis of biological building blocks

• Protein engineering methods to enhance enzyme function

• Biophysical chemistry of the cofactor pyridoxal phosphate

• X-ray crystallography

• Natural products biosynthesis

Cavagnero, Silvia

Credentials: Analytical | ChemBio | Organic | Physical

Research Website


Protein folding and aggregation in the cell, laser-driven NMR, single-molecule fluorescence, cryo-EM


• Protein folding, misfolding and dynamics in the cellular environment

• Role of the ribosome and molecular chaperones in protein folding, aggregation and prion diseases

• Laser-driven multidimensional NMR spectroscopy and nuclear spin hyperpolarization

• Time-resolved fluorescence, synergistic NMR / single-particle cryo-EM

Choi, Kyoung-Shin

Credentials: Analytical  |  Inorganic  |  Materials

Research Website


Energy, Materials for Electrode and Catalyst Development


• Electrochemical synthesis of electrode and catalyst materials

• Solar energy conversion

• Electrochemical and photoelectrochemical energy storage and conversion

• Electrochemical and photoelectrochemical biomass conversion

• Electrochemical desalination and water treatment

Coon, Joshua

Credentials: Analytical  |  ChemBio

Research Website


Mass spectrometry, electron microscopy, and structural biology


• Chemical instrumentation

• Structural biology

• Proteomics, metabolomics, and lipidomics

• Systems biology

• Data analysis and computation


Also Professor of Biomolecular Chemistry

Feng, Dawei

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Organic

Research Website


Metal-Organic Frameworks, Batteries, Electronics


• Semiconductive metal-organic frameworks

• Rechargable ion batteries

• Redox flow batteries

• Solid electrolyte

• Inorganic-polymer hybrid materials


Also Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

Forest, Katrina

Credentials: Chemical Biology

Research Website


Structural Microbiology


• Light sensing by phytochromes

• Design of novel phytochrome-based fluorophores

• Retraction mechanism of bacterial Type IV pili

• Structures of proteins required for symbiosis


Also Professor of Bacteriology 

Fredrickson, Daniel

Credentials: Inorganic | Materials | Physical

Research Website


Solid-State, Crystallography, Theoretical Chemistry


• Structural chemistry of metals, alloys, and intermetallic phases

• Chemical bonding theory

• Crystallography

• Structure-properties relationships

Garand, Etienne

Credentials: Analytical | Physical

Research Website


Laser spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, catalysis, computational chemistry


• Characterization of catalytic reaction intermediates

• Solvent effects on molecular structure and reactivity

• Excited-state spectroscopy of organic chromophores

• Instrumentation development for mass spectrometry and spectroscopy

Ge, Ying

Credentials: Analytical | Chemical Biology

Research Website


Mass Spectrometry, Proteomics, Cardiac Systems Biology


• Ultra high-resolution mass spectrometry-based top-down proteomics

• Nanoproteomics: novel proteomics strategies enabled by nanotechnology

• Top-down proteomics of myofilaments in heart failure

• Cardiac signaling and systems biology

• Stem cell and cardiac regeneration


Also Professor of Cell and Regenerative Biology

Gellman, Samuel

Credentials: Chemical Biology  |  Materials  |  Organic

Research Website


Bioorganic, Synthesis, Biomolecular Structure/Dynamics, Chemical Biology


• Protein-inspired oligomers with well-defined folding patterns (“foldamers”)

• Inhibition of specific protein-protein interactions with foldamers

• Selective agonists for polypeptide-activated receptors, and the origins of receptor signaling mechanisms

• Foldamer-based catalysts

• Structural characterization of membrane-embedded peptides and proteins

Gilbert, Pupa

Credentials: Physical

Research Website


Biomineralization, Synthetic Biomaterials, Methods Development in Synchrotron Spectro Microscopies, Saving Coral Reef Ecosystems


• Nano-to-Microscale Structure of natural biominerals: teeth, corals, seashells

• Biomineral formation mechanisms: amorphous precursors, crystal ordering

• Structure-property relations in teeth


Also Professor of Physics

Golden, Jennifer

Credentials: Organic

Research Website


Organic Synthesis, Medicinal Chemistry


• Synthetic methodology efforts leading to new scaffold development

• Medicinal chemistry optimization and drug discovery

• Synthetic medicinal chemistry focused on the development of anti-infective and anticancer agents


Also Assistant Professor of Pharmacy

Goldsmith, Randall

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology  |  Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website


Single-Molecule Spectroscopy, Nanophotonics, Catalysis, Biophysics, Microfluidics


• Investigating chemical and biophysical processes at the level of individual molecules and making molecular movies!

• Developing cutting-edge instrumentation for performing single- molecule measurements, resonators, microdroplets, cavity-enhanced spectroscopies, fluorescence, microfluidic traps

• Make use of chemical synthesis and nanofabrication as well as microscopy/spectroscopy

• We look at biomolecules, organometallic molecular catalysts, electronic materials, and anything else that excites us

Gong, Shaoqin Sarah

Credentials: Materials

Research Website


Nanomaterials, Biomaterials, Polymers


• Polymer-based biomaterials

• Nanomedicines

• Drug delivery systems

• Genome editing

• Tissue engineering scaffolds


Also Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Nanomedicine & Tissue Engineering, Theme Faculty at Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Gopalan, Padma

Credentials: Materials  |  Organic

Research Website


Functional organic/polymeric nanostructured materials


• Polymer synthesis for nanotube electronics

• Polymer coatings for stem cell biology

• Synthesis and assembly of block copolymers and polymer brushes

• Design of non-toxic monomers for functional polymers


Also Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biomedical Engineering

Hamers, Robert

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website


Nanomaterials, Surface and Interface Chemistry, Quantum-Based Sensing, Surface Analysis


• Surface chemistry and interactions of nanomaterials

• X-ray and ultraviolet photoemission spectroscopy

• Optical properties of nanoscale and bulk materials

• Electron emission into liquids

• Nv centers in diamond for quantum-based chemical sensing

Hermans, Ive

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Organic

Research Website


Catalysis, Sustainable Chemistry


• Functional materials and characterization

• Heterogeneous catalysis

• Sustainable chemistry

• Natural gas upgrading; renewables-to-chemicals; chemical building blocks

• In situ spectroscopy

Huang, Xuhui

Credentials: Physical | ChemBio

Research Website

Theorical Chemistry and Molecular Biophysics

• Markov state modeling of biomolecular dynamics.
• Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven inhibitor design.
• Integral equal theory for solvation and protein-ligand binding.
• Functional conformational changes of RNA polymerase.

Jin, Song

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology  |  Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website

Nanomaterials, Solid-State Materials, Electrocatalysis, Solar Energy and Energy Storage, Optoelectronics, Biomaterials

• Nanomaterials (0D, 1D and 2D) and solid state chemistry

• Electrocatalysis, electrochemical energy conversion and energy storage

• Optoelectronic and quantum materials

• Solar energy conversion, photoelectrochemistry

• Biological applications of nanomaterials and proteomics

Landis, Clark

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Organic

Research Website


Catalysis, Synthesis


• Ligands for enantioselective hydroformylation

• High pressure NMR reactors

• Kinetics and mechanism of catalytic alkene polymerization and hydroformylation

• Synthetic applications of hydroformylation

• Natural bond orbital methods

Li, Lingjun

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology

Research Website


Bioanalytical, Mass Spectrometry, Separations, Neurochemistry, Proteomics/Peptidomics, Glycomics, Metabolomics


• Development of mass spectrometry-based tools for neuroscience research

• Novel chemical tags for multiplexed quantitation of proteins, peptides and glycans

• MALDI mass spectrometric imaging technology development and applications

• Ion mobility mass spectrometry to probe peptide and protein structural dynamics

• Disease biomarker discovery enabled by large-scale proteomics and metabolomics


Also Professor of Pharmacy

Lynn, David

Credentials: Materials  |  Chemical Biology  |  Organic

Research Website


Nanomaterials, Biomaterials, Polymers, Synthesis, Interfacial Chemistry


• Soft materials and interfaces

• Polymer synthesis and characterization

• Reactive and responsive materials

• Thin films and coatings

• Biotechnology and nanotechnology


Also Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Martell, Jeffrey

Credentials: Chemical Biology  |  Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Organic

Research Website


Enzyme-Mimicking Catalysis, Bioinorganic, Biomaterials, Synthesis, Energy


• Harnessing biotechnology for high-throughput catalyst discovery and molecular recognition

• Porous protein framework materials

• Directed evolution of artificial metalloenzymes

• DNA nano-scaffolds as supramolecular catalysts

• Applications: synthetic methodology, energy, environmental remediation, diagnostics, targeted therapeutics, chemical separations

McMahon, Robert

Credentials: Materials  |  Organic  |  Physical

Research Website


Physical Organic, Synthesis, Interfacial Chemistry


• Astrochemistry

• Mechanistic organic chemistry of harsh reaction environments

• Photochemistry and spectroscopy of reactive intermediates

• Chemical reactions involving quantum tunneling

• Organic materials chemistry

Mecozzi, Sandro

Credentials: Chemical Biology  |  Organic

Research Website


Bioorganic, Synthesis, Physical Organic, Polymers, Drug Delivery


• Ionic liquids

• Self-Assemby and liquid crystals

• Molecular recognition of RNA

• Drug delivery and imaging


Also Professor of Pharmacy

Pazicni, Sam

Credentials: Chemistry Education Research

Research Website


Learning Environment Design and Assessment, Faculty Professional Development, Spatial Reasoning, Systems Thinking


• Equity in the chemistry classroom

• General and inorganic chemistry education

• Language and chemistry learning

• Student engagement with feedback

Rienstra, Chad M.

Credentials: Analytical | ChemBio | Physical

Research Website


Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy, Computational Structural Biology, Molecular Dynamics


• Amyloids involved in Parkinson and other diseases
• Antifungal drugs (such as amphotericin B) that bind sterols
• Membrane proteins in native lipid bilayers
• Time-dependent quantum mechanics and NMR theory
• Design and construction of magic-angle spinning NMR probes
• Wide range of collaborations with NMRFAM users


Also Professor of Biochemistry & Co-Director, National Magnetic Resonance Facility at Madison (NMRFAM)

Schmidt, J.R.

Credentials: Materials  |  Physical

Research Website


Theoretical Chemistry, Energy


• Theoretical and computational chemistry

• Computational heterogeneous catalysis

• Nucleation and growth of nano-porous materials

• First-principles force field development

• High performance scientific computing

Schomaker, Jennifer

Credentials: ChemBio | Inorganic | Organic

Research Website


Synthetic Methods, Catalysis/Catalyst Design, Total Synthesis, Chemical Biology


• Stereochemically rich building blocks from allenes

• Asymmetric Ag(I) complexes for enantioselective C-H functionalizations

• Aziridinium ylides and amidoallyl cations as key intermediates in syntheses of drug-like N-heterocycles

• Application of methods to total synthesis of bioactive natural products and analogues

• Designer bioorthogonal labeling and photoswitchable reagents for biological applications

• New modes of reactivity for first-row transition metal catalysts

Schreier, Marcel

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website


Electrified Interfaces, Electrochemical Energy Storage, Electrocatalysis Interfacial Charge Transfer


• Electrochemical interface and catalyst surface chemistry interactions

• Reaction scope of electrocatalytic transformations, extended beyond activation of small inorganic molecules

• Interconversion of electrical and chemical energy

• Processes at electrochemical interfaces

• Renewable electricity storage

• Electrification of chemical industry


Also Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Schwartz, David C.

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology

Research Website


Single-Molecule Genomics, Bioinformatics, Nanofluidics, Synthetic Biology


• Development of single molecule systems for personalized medicine, cancer genomics

• Creation of functional systems for many types of genome analysis engendering large data sets for providing scalable biological insights

• Development of a nanofluidic-based, cell-free system for genome construction that will allow construction of mammalian chromosomes, or large-scale molecular objects

• Investigation of molecular nanoconfinement and new principles for development of genome analysis systems featuring electronic detection


Also Professor of Genetics

Smith, Lloyd

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology

Research Website


Bioanalytical Chemistry, Quantitative Biology, Mass Spectrometry, Proteomics, Proteogenomics

and Bioinformatics


• New proteomics tools, technologies and protocols to further the understanding of complex biological systems

• Bioinformatics software development for comprehensive elucidation of peptides, proteoforms and proteoform families

• Proteogenomic discovery of protein variation including post-translational modifications, sequence variants and splice variants

• New technologies and strategies to reveal the DNA:protein and RNA:protein interactomes

• Developing and applying new bioanalytical technologies to reveal key molecular interactions in HIV, cancer immunotherapy and diabetes

Stahl, Shannon

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Organic

Research Website


Catalysis, Synthesis, Energy


• Homogeneous catalysis: Catalyst development and mechanistic studies of catalytic reactions

• Electrocatalysis: applications to energy (fuel cells), biomass conversion and chemical synthesis

• Synthetic organic chemistry, emphasizing oxidation methods that use O2 as the oxidant

• Organometallic, organic and inorganic chemistry related to catalysis

• Green chemistry related to pharmaceutical/chemical synthesis, energy and biomass conversion

Stowe, Ryan

Credentials: Chemistry Education  |  Organic

Research Website


Sensemaking, cognition, assessment


• Molecular-level sensemaking

• Learning environment characterization

• Model-based reasoning in organic chemistry

• Resource theory of cognition

• Evidence-centered design of assessments

Tang, Weiping

Credentials: ChemBio | Organic

Research Website


Organic Synthesis and Chemical Biology


• Synthetic methodology development for the synthesis of bioactive compounds
• Carbohydrate chemistry and glycobiology
• Targeted protein degradation for drug discovery
• Assay development and mechanism of action studies for bioactive compounds


Also Professor of Pharmacy

Wang, Tina

Credentials: Chemical Biology  |  Organic

Research Website


Protein Folding, Directed Evolution, Synthetic Biology


• Continuous evolution of chaperones to improve or retarget client protein folding

• Addressing constraints on protein evolution to improve fitness of challenging targets

• Small-molecule biosensor design

• Microbial stress responses

Weix, Daniel

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Organic

Research Website


Catalysis, Synthesis, Mechanism


• Development of new catalytic methods for organic synthesis

• Discovery of new lead ligand structures for use in catalysis

• Study of unusual organometallic mechanisms involving radicals and multiple metals

• Exploration of nanomaterial-metal complex conjugates as a new frontier for catalysis

• Application of these new methods to long-standing challenges in organic chemistry

Wickens, Zachary

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Organic

Research Website


Catalysis, Organic Synthesis, Sustainable Chemistry, Organometallic Chemistry


• Discovery and development of sustainable methods for organic synthesis

• Synthetic organic electrochemistry and photochemistry

• Organic and organometallic radical ions as a new family of homogeneous catalysts and reagents

• Mechanistic study of organic reactions

• Synthesis of biologically active molecules

Widicus Weaver, Susanna

Credentials: Analytical | Physical  |  Astronomy

Research Website

Faculty Page


Molecular Spectroscopy, Astrochemistry


• Laboratory astrochemistry

• Rotational spectroscopy

• Astrochemical modeling

• Observational astronomy


Also Professor of Astronomy

Wright, John

Credentials: Analytical  |  Inorganic  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website

Development of New Families of Coherent Multidimensional Spectroscopies and Applications

  • Floquet State Spectroscopy of the potential energy surfaces for synthetic chemistry (Berryand Yoon collaboration)
  • Ultrafast and Multidimensional Spectroscopy of novel nanoscale heterostructures (Jin collaboration)
  • Multidimensional spectroscopy of cobalamin, transition metal coordination complexes, and charge transfer compounds (Brunold collaboration)
  • Label-free multidimensional contrast and imaging of cancerous tissues (Yesilkoy collaboration)
  • Method development and dissemination of Floquet State and Schrodinger Cat State Spectroscopies

Yang, Yang

Credentials: Physical

Research Website


Theoretical Chemistry

  • Method development in multicomponent quantum theory
  • Method development in excited-state theory and calculations on excited-state problems
  • Molecular dynamics simulations on systems with significant nuclear quantum effects

Yesilkoy, Filiz

Credentials: Analytical

Research Website


Spectral bioimaging, Optical biosensors, Nanophotonics

  • Development of novel analytical platforms for biomedical diagnostics
  • Spectral tissue imaging
  • Exploration of light’s interactions with nanomaterials in the context of surface enhanced spectroscopy

Also a Professor of Biomedical Engineering 

Yethiraj, Arun

Credentials: Physical

Research Website


Statistical Mechanics, Theoretical Chemistry, Biophysics, Polymer Physics


• Statistical mechanics of complex fluids

• Polymer physics

• Complex coacervates

• Room temperature ionic liquids

• Coarse-grained force fields for complex fluids

Yoon, Tehshik

Credentials: Inorganic  |  Organic

Research Website


Synthesis, Catalysis


• Synthetic organic photochemistry

• Enantioselective catalysis

• Understanding mechanism in photochemical reactions

• Generation and control of reactive radical intermediates

• Synthesis of complex bioactive organic structures

Yu, Lian

Credentials: Materials  |  Physical

Research Website


Solid State Chemistry, Crystallization, Interfacial Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Materials


• Surface diffusion

• Crystal polymorphism

• Crystal nucleation and growth in molecular glasses

• Polymer additives and nano-coating for improving materials


Also Professor of Pharmacy

Zanni, Martin

Credentials: Analytical  |  Chemical Biology  |  Materials  |  Physical

Research Website


Biomolecular, Laser Spectroscopy/Dynamic


• Ultrafast 2D spectroscopy in the infrared and visible

• Optical engineering of new ultrafast microscopies

• Amyloid fiber formation in Type 2 diabetes and other diseases

• Protein structural dynamics of ion channels

• Singlet fission and energy transfer for new solar cells

• Atomic Force Microscopy imaging coupled to ultrafast laser spectroscopy