Research by Faculty

Below is a list of our faculty members accompanied by their professional interests and research projects. For more information click on the link to their faculty biography page. 

Here are some research highlights regarding the faculty:

  • Faculty have over $758,000 in current research funding between UST and their collaborators.
  • Faculty collaborate with other universities and corporations such as ExxonMobil, Bayer, Vision-Ease Lens, and Medtronic.
  • Faculty have authored 16 publications in two years, including 15 undergraduate co-authors.
  • Faculty and students have given 30 presentations at conferences in the last 12 months.
  • The Department seminars have hosted over 50 faculty from 30 institutions in 14 states in the last 5 years.
  • The distinguished lectureship series drew nearly 1,000 student, faculty, and alumni attendees in 2 years.
  • The new X-ray fluorimeter was used for training by representatives from the Midwest Art Conservation Center, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the American Museum of Asmat Art, and the UST Geology Department.
  • The Department suite of TA instruments once served as a demonstration site for the company and is now used by local companies such as BioAmber and Applied Colloids.
  • Several local corporations submit samples for analysis on our JEOL 400 MHz NMR.

Tony Borgerding

Analytical Chemistry. Instrumental Development, Environmental and Biomedical Applications in the Areas of High Speed Chromatographic Measurements, Rapid Extractions, Mass Spectrometry, and other Selective Detectors. To read more click here. 

Justin Donato

Bacteria play a role in almost all processes at work on the planet.  From global warming to feeding the hungry to treating disease, many of the challenges that face us, as well as the potential solutions to these problems, can be traced back to bacteria.  The Donato lab focuses on applying functional metagenomics to explore chemical processes used by bacteria to survive in diverse habitats.  Current projects are aimed at the discovery and subsequent characterization of genes that confer antibiotic resistance on their host bacteria.  Using this approach, we have successfully identified novel resistance genes from bacteria found in soil and the human body.  Information regarding the nature of resistance genes will guide researchers in both the development of new antibiotics as well as strategies for antibiotic management.  We are also in the early stages of projects that will identify and optimize factors limiting the bacterial gene expression.

If you are interested in joining the research group, contact Dr. Donato.

To read more click here.

Eric Fort

Research in the Fort lab focuses on the synthesis and reactivity of unique aromatic systems. Our projects aim to rationally design structures that have new and interesting properties by combining computational chemistry with organic synthesis. Many of the molecules we work with may some day find applications in organic electronic devices or in imaging of biological systems.

If you are interested in joining the research group, contact Dr. Fort.

To read more click here.

Marites Guino-o

The Guino-o laboratory is interested in understanding the ligand - triazolylindene (triazole-based NHC).  We are also exploring the various applications of this ligand system in catalytic reactions and emissive lanthanide ion complexes. 

Students interested in this research will synthesize both their organic ligands and organometallic compounds; as well as investigate the properties of the resulting complexes.

If you would like more information on this research or joining the Guino-o lab, please contact Dr. Guino-o.

To read more click here.

J. Thomas Ippoliti

The students of Dr. Ippoliti's research group are actively involved in four areas of research. All of these areas utilize organic synthesis to make new molecules. The first area is in the field of diagnostic molecules. Diagnostic molecules are used to detect proteins or other biomolecules that indicate the presence of disease.  We have been synthesizing new fluorescent molecules and upconverting nanoparticles to detect the presence of enzymes that are indicative of disease.  Using Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assays (ELISA) and a start-of-the-art handheld detector, we can then utilize our new molecules to detect a variety of important bioactive molecules. The second area is synthesis of novel heterocyclic molecules. These molecules can be used to make Zeolites or Metal Organic Frameworks (MOF).  Zeolites are inorganic frameworks that can be used for catalysts or separations.  MOF’s can be used for the storage of fuels in a solid state.  The can also be used to capture CO2, a greenhouse gas. The third area is the synthesis of new antibiotics, antimalarials and molecules active against tuberculosis .  We have synthesized several new antibiotics recently based on a molecular topology program that predicted high antibacterial activity.  We are also synthesizing novel antimalarial compounds. The fourth area of research is in the area of thermochromic and photochromic molecules.  These molecules change color reversibly with temperature or light, respectively.

If you are interested in joining the research group, contact Dr. Ippoliti.

To read more click here.

Gary A Mabbott

Analytical Chemistry
Bioanalytical and Forensic Applications
Spectral Imaging

To read more click here.

Thomas Marsh

Biochemisty, Nanoscience, Material Science. Synthesis and analysis of self-assembled G4-DNA nanostructures, Biomaterials applications of self-assembled G4-DNA

To read more click here.

William H Ojala

Research conducted by Dr. Ojala and his students is focused on the organic solid state, aiming for a more complete understanding of the structures and reactivities of crystalline organic compounds.  Using single-crystal X-ray diffraction, Dr. Ojala and his students determine the crystal structures of a variety of organic compounds to examine the role of intermolecular interactions such as hydrogen bonding, halogen bonding, and Lewis acid-base interactions in defining the solid-state molecular packing arrangement and, in applicable cases, the solid-state reactivity.  Data sets are collected in the X-ray Crystallographic Laboratory of the University of Minnesota Chemistry Department, and the crystal structures are solved, refined, and analyzed by students of Dr. Ojala in his laboratory at the University of St. Thomas.  Research topics currently pursued by the Ojala group include polymorphism, isostructuralism, and solid-state phase transitions; compounds currently under study include nitrile oxides, monosaccharide derivatives, and “bridge-flipped” isomeric benzylideneanilines and phenylhydrazones. 

If you are interested in joining the research group, contact Dr. Ojala.

To read more click here.

Lisa Prevette

The Prevette research group is in the area of biophysical chemistry, studying the interactions between biomaterials and biomolecules. In particular, we are interested in interactions that occur at the cell surface, leading to cellular internalization of drugs and genes for gene therapy. We are also studying the effect of structure on the formation of DNA complexes. Students in the group learn about binding mechanisms, thermodynamics and kinetics, and the structure of biomolecules and their complexes through a variety of experimental techniques.

If you are interested in joining the research group, contact Prof. Prevette.

To read more click here.

Kristine H Wammer

Kris Wammer is interested in the chemical and microbiological processes that affect the fate of organic contaminants in the environment.  Students in the Wammer lab are currently involved in several projects, all of which study potential impacts of biologically active organic compounds, such as pharmaceuticals, in natural waters. One current project examines the influence of exposure to low-level concentrations of antibiotics on resistance levels in environmental bacteria.  This project is in collaboration with research groups from Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Minnesota and has a significant field-based component.  Another project is focused on understanding the environmental photochemical degradation of veterinary steroids; this work is being done together with researchers at the University of Iowa, the University of Nevada Reno, and Duke University.  Finally, students are studying the impacts of drinking water treatment, in particular ozonation, on macrolide antibiotics to determine if treatment results in potentially harmful byproducts.   

If you are interested in joining the research group, contact Dr. Wammer.

To read more click here.