People

Faculty

Chemistry Chair, Professor of Chemistry

Maria Gomez and her student researchers use the principles of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and quantum mechanics to study how structure affects proton and oxygen vacancy conduction in fuel cell systems. Their work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the MERCURY consortium, the Dreyfus Foundation, and the Research Corporation. Gomez enjoys teaching Chemical Principles in General Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and electives. She and her students also enjoy getting K-6 parent/child teams to tackle interesting scientific ideas through the Passport to Chemistry Adventure outreach program.

413-538-2868
G22C Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Kyle Broaders' research interests focus on the interaction of living cells with their material surroundings. He employs the tools of organic synthesis to prepare materials with tailored properties like shape, stiffness, permeability, or response to external stimulus. The responses of cells to these designed properties allows him to assay the way they integrate information about their surroundings and make behavioral choices.

413-538-3658
G22A Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only
Wei Chen
Chair of Biochemistry, Marilyn Dawson Sarles, M.D. Professor of Chemistry

The primary research goal of Wei Chen's interdisciplinary research group is to use materials chemistry to understand and impart important surface phenomena, such as wetting and bio-compatibility of polymeric and inorganic substrates. The selected projects are contemporary, relevant in the field, and feasible for undergraduate researchers and to use the tools of organic, analytical, bio-, physical chemistry.

413-538-2224
G22D Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only
Associate Professor of Chemistry

Donnie Cotter's scientific research focuses on the mechanism of transmetalation. Recently, he has turned his scholarly attentions to the study the history of chemistry, focusing on the American chemical community between 1890 and 1920. Cotter is the author of numerous scholarly papers and presentations, many of them coauthored by Mount Holyoke students.

413-538-2120
111 Carr Laboratory
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By appointment only
Professor of Chemistry

Darren Hamilton and his students use the tools of synthetic organic chemistry to prepare molecular systems with designed properties or functions. These molecular systems can bind and transport, or bind and recognize, a species of interest. Current projects involve the preparation of transport systems for metal ions employed in medical imaging techniques, as well as the development of a prototype molecular construct for carbohydrate recognition. Hamilton's research with undergraduate students has been published most recently in the Journal of Organic Chemistry, Crystal Growth and Design, and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

413-538-3427
G02A Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only
Kathryn McMenimen
Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Chemistry, on leave 2015-16

Kathryn McMenimen is interested in the chemical interactions that underlie biological systems. Her research group uses tools at the interface of chemistry, biochemistry, neuroscience, and biophysics to study one type of molecular chaperone, the small heat shock proteins. McMenimen is particularly interested in protein homeostasis and how dysfunction of molecular chaperones contributes to protein misfolding diseases, such as, cataracts, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other neurological diseases.

413-538-3375
G22B Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only

Gary J. Snyder

Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Gary Snyder's research focuses on the synthesis and spectroscopic detection of new molecules. Several years ago, in collaboration with Jakob Wirz (Univ. Basel), Snyder and a former Univ. of Chicago graduate student, Dan McMasters, succeeded in making the only known Kekulé biradical. By using a new ab initio computational method, RASSCF-RASPT2, Snyder has since identified several other small hydrocarbons that should also leave two π-electrons unpaired and prefer to exist in a paramagnetic form.

413-538-6662
G08 Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only
Alan van Geissen

Alan van Giessen

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Alan van Giessen uses theoretical and computational techniques to understand the structure and thermodynamics of both complex and simple systems. His research focus has focused on the destabilization of a test protein and its potential to provide a mechanism for nucleating misfolded aggregates complicit in diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Huntington's Disease. A second area of focus is the energetic properties of curved interfaces, such as liquid drops or micelles. Van Giessen teaches a wide range of courses including both general chemistry and physical chemistry and including a seminar course entitled “Poisons: Death by Chemistry”.

413-538-2449
G02C Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only

Staff

Dina Bevivino

Academic Department Coordinator

Dina Bevivino helps students with major declarations, permission forms for credits that need to be transferred and answers any general questions related to the Chemistry department. Along with planning events for the majors and department awards presentations and collecting thesis information as needed.

413-538-2214
G04 Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only

Ashley Figueiredo

Senior Laboratory Instructor, Coordinator of Passport to Chemistry Adventure Program

Ashley Figueiredo is the coordinator and senior instructor of the Organic Chemistry laboratories. She teaches the introductory organic labs and the advanced laboratory course for chemistry and biochemistry majors which focuses on advanced syntheses and scientific writing. Figueiredo mentors laboratory teaching assistants and works on curriculum development to keep our labs aligned with current standards in chemistry and to spark interest in students. She values emphasizing the relevance of organic lab techniques and discussing real-world applications of organic topics. Additionally, along with Professor Gomez, Figueiredo advises MHC Students in the Passport to Chemistry Adventure outreach program for K-6 children at local libraries.

413-538-2215
G02B Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only

Thomas Houle

Laboratory Director/Instructor

Thomas Houle is the Director of the department of chemistry teaching laboratories with a concentration on general and analytical chemistry.

413-538-2213
G03 Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only

Himali Jayathilake

Senior Laboratory Instructor for Physical Chemistry, Research Associate

Himali Jayathilake joined the MHC Chemistry Department in Fall 2008 after receiving her Ph.D. in physical chemistry. She has taught courses and associated laboratory components in both general chemistry and physical chemistry. In addition to teaching, Jayathilake enjoys performing research with students on synthesis, characterization and assembly of metal nano-particles.

413-538-2678
103 Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only
 Laurie Lentz-Marino Laboratory Instructor

Laurie Lentz-Marino

Laboratory Instructor

Laurie Lentz-Marino earned her Master's, MA Chemistry in 2001 from MHC, under Dr. Cotter in organometallic chemistry and her BA in Biology from Temple University. She strives to update and adapt real world applicable exercises in biochemistry labs. She is the co-author along with Dr. Stephanie Seneff, an MIT professor of computer science, on three papers both concerning sulfur biochemistry in nutrition.

413-538-2106
106 Carr Laboratory
Contact
By appointment only