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Undergraduate Chemistry Research

Chemistry happens in the lab, a place where first-person experience becomes lifelong knowledge. As a chemistry major, you will have a number of opportunities to conduct original chemistry research with our incredible faculty, through industry internships across Chicago and summer research opportunities like the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.

Dr. Rienstra-Kiracofe's Research

Dr. Jonathan Rienstra-Kiracofe uses computational chemistry to model the quantum mechanical structure of electrons in atoms and molecules and predict their properties. He invites undergraduate students to participate in all of these computational investigations. Students who have taken organic chemistry and physical chemistry have sufficient chemistry knowledge to understand the chemical concepts needed to model molecular properties: concepts such as vibrational frequencies, electron affinities, and dimerization.

Dr. Rienstra-Kiracofe also develops undergraduate teaching experiments for the general chemistry and physical chemistry laboratories, with an emphasis on introducing technology into the teaching laboratory.

Dr. Larraza's Research

Dr. Isabel Larraza's interests lie in the area of green chemistry as applied to the production of intermediates with pharmaceutical relevance. She has studied the use of superbases and microwave-assisted synthesis in the development of new, greener ways to protect primary amines and in the Hoffman Rearrengement. Currently she is working in the synthesis of alpha-hydrazino esters as precursors of heterocyclic structural units found in different drugs.

She is also interested in the development of modern experiments with a service learning component in the organic chemistry curriculum and which make use of our new instrumentation.

Dr. Vazquez's Research

Dr. Anne Vázquez’s research group works on developing and assessing “writing-to-teach” activities in which students create written teaching materials for their peers. This aims to meet an emerging goal in science education: to actively engage students in their own learning through peer education and student writing. Students in Dr. Vázquez’s chemistry classes actively participate in this work.

She also invites students into the process of designing new laboratory experiments. Recently, chemistry major Matthew Baumer worked with Dr. Vázquez to develop an experiment for the survey of organic chemistry course using the gas chromatography technique.

Chemistry Research