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.
G22C Carr Laboratory
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.
G22A Carr Laboratory
Chair of Biochemistry, Marilyn Dawson Sarles, M.D. Professor of Chemistry
Professor Wei Chen works with her undergraduate research students in the context of Materials Chemistry. The research centers around modifying the surface chemistry of natural and artificial materials for industrial and biomedical applications, such as enhancing surface wettability, improving the biocompatibility of implants, and designing microchips for disease detection. The selected projects are contemporary, relevant, and feasible for beginning researchers. The research methodologies are interdisciplinary applying the tools of organic, analytical, physical, and biological chemistry.
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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.
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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.
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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.
G22B Carr Laboratory
Alan van Giessen
Associate 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”.
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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.
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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.
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Thomas Houle is the Director of the department of chemistry teaching laboratories with a concentration on general and analytical chemistry.
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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.
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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.
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