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Haverford College
Department of Chemistry

Student Involvement in Chemical Research at Haverford College

The Chemistry Department at Haverford strongly encourages students to engage in a research experience. Such experience often develops talents and abilities that may lie dormant in formal class work. Regardless of the option used for the initial core courses, all chemistry majors have the opportunity to do research as part of research tutorial courses (Chem 36x) normally taken for one course credit in each semester of the student's senior year.

Many of our majors begin involvement in research earlier in their academic career, either with part-time paid or volunteer research positions during the academic year or full-time paid summer research assistantships. Summer research experience is particularly encouraged, since it allows an intensity of focus not possible during the school year.

In recent years 15-20 students per summer have participated in research in the Chemistry Department, funded by summer stipends. In addition, several students have obtained summer positions in laboratories of collaborators of Haverford faculty members. In keeping with Haverford's emphasis on interdisciplinary science, there are generally several Chemistry majors doing research with faculty members from other disciplines, as well as Biology and Physics majors who do research in the Chemistry labs.

Students interested in working as research assistants for the upcoming summer should check the Summer Research page and talk with faculty members about the opportunities for research in their labs. Web pages of Chemistry faculty members have additional information about the chemical research activities underway at Haverford College. Some recent student research projects are listed below:

  • Investigation of mechanisms of certain metalloenzymes
  • Synthesis of Betalin Plant Pigments
  • Studies of drug candidates for laser-based treatment of cancers
  • Synthetic studies of structure-function relationships in proteins
  • Synthesis and characterization of nanoscale devices for harvesting of solar energy

Research by Haverford undergraduate students and their faculty mentors is supported by external grants from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes, and several other sources. Students and faculty from the chemistry department publish their research findings in peer-reviewed journals.

Faculty Research Interests:

Karin S. Ã…kerfeldt
Bioorganic Chemistry: synthesis and structures of peptides.

Frances Rose Blase
Organic Chemistry: synthesis of medically-relevant natural products.

Lou Charkoudian
Bioorganic Chemistry: elucidation of bacterial biosynthetic mechanisms.

Casey Londergan
Biophysical Chemistry: observing protein dynamics by vibrational spectroscopy.

Alexander J. Norquist
Materials Chemistry: crystal growth of organically templated transition metal oxides.

Robert C. Scarrow
Bioinorganic Chemistry: understanding and mimicking metals in enzymes.

Joshua Schrier
Physical Chemistry: theoretical and computational chemistry of nanostructured materials.

Helen K. White
Environmental Chemistry: investigating the cycling of organic compounds in the environment.