The Paley group specializes in developing new methods for synthetic organic chemistry. We are currently using planar chiral, enantiomerically pure iron(0) tricarbonyl diene complexes to control the absolute stereochemistry at positions along the periphery of these dienes to make spiroketals, carbocycles, and other natural product sub-units.
Research in the Porello lab focuses on the study of carbon nanotubes as potential drug delivery agents. We “load” our nanotubes with a biologically active “cargo” molecule and study the delivery of such molecules to their cellular target. Our goal is to characterize the process at the molecular level as well as to study its effect on cellular growth and other biological functions using yeast cells as model organisms.
The Yatsunyk group focuses on the design, synthesis, and characterization of novel porphyrin-based antitumor drugs. Current work includes preparation of novel porphyrin molecules that are capable of both chiral sensing and interaction with noncanonical DNA structures called quadruplexes. In addition, our lab started working this summer on an application of quadruplex DNA in nanotechnology. More about the Yatsunyk Lab
The Howard group uses physical chemistry to study molecules bound to biological membranes. Current work focuses on using magnetic resonance spectroscopies to study the structure and drug binding properties of a protein from influenza virus. More about the Howard Lab
The Miller group uses biochemical methods to study the chemical basis of bacterial communication. In particular, we use x-ray crystallography to visualize the bacterial proteins and signal molecules in 3-dimensions at atomic resolution. More about the Miller Lab
The Graves group is interested in the development of novel aluminum complexes for application as catalysts. Current projects include the synthesis of aluminum complexes of redox active ligands across various oxidation states with the aim of expanding the utility of aluminum in catalysis by enabling novel reaction profiles.
The Riley group is interested in measuring the dynamic interactions of metal nanoparticles (e.g., silver) in biological and environmental solutions. Currently, group members are developing electrochemical and spectroscopic tools to quantify nanoparticle dissolution and aggregation rates, and to determine the affinity and rate of adsorption of organic molecules and proteins on nanoparticle surfaces.
The Fera lab is interested in understanding how some antibodies produced by the immune system develop to recognize a wide range of viral antigens. Towards this goal, lab members are looking at interactions between antibodies and either the HIV or influenza virus "spikes". Specifically, they are determining low- and atomic- resolution structures of complexes, and determining binding affinities between antibody variants and their targets. These analyses will provide insight into the co-evolutionary pathways that result in antibodies with great breadth, which would be informative for vaccine design.
Independent research is an integral part of the undergraduate experience in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Swarthmore College. Students engage in independent research throughout the year in close collaboration with faculty members. Participation in research exposes students to the practice of chemistry as a process of creating new knowledge.
Some students begin research as early as the summer after their sophomore year. Many such projects have led to student-faculty co-authored articles in major chemical journals including The Journal of the American Chemical Society, The Journal of Organic Chemistry, The Journal of Physical Chemistry, and Protein Science.
By completing an independent research project, a student may earn a degree certified by the American Chemical Society. Students also have the opportunity to write a senior thesis based on their independent research-an option that is required for chemistry majors in the Honors Program.
Research projects are supported by a wide range of funding sources including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Research Corporation, Petroleum Research Fund/ACS, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Merck/AAAS and Swarthmore College. In addition, Swarthmore students compete successfully for paid, off-campus research internships in academic, industrial, and government laboratories.
Summer Research Groups
Each summer Swarthmore students participate in a 10 week summer research session. For many students this work leads to their senior research thesis or to student-faculty co-authored publications in peer-reviewed chemical journals.
For more details about research please visit faculty lab web pages or stop by our offices - we will be happy to talk to you about research opportunities.