Research

Summer Research 2013 smallHave you ever wondered…

Why dust matters?

How elephants communicate?

How alcohol is toxic to the liver?

Why snake venom is poisonous?

How laser light affects molecules?

How natural products are synthesized?

How green experiments are developed?

These and many other perplexing questions are being investigated every day at Hendrix College.
Explore below the diverse research projects being conducted in the Chemistry Department or
have a look at the research being conducted by our graduates .
 

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Dr. Andres Caro:  Biological Chemistry

The Caro Research Group is interested in the biochemical mechanisms by which alcoholic beverages produce liver damage.  We use cell fractions (endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria), cells (liver cells in culture), and experimental animals (mice), and analytical, biological, and cellular chemical techniques including HPLC, polarography, real time PCR, RT-PCR, ELISA, western blot, chemiluminescence, fluorimetry, spectrometry, flow cytometry, and fluorescence microscopy. 

Dr. Tom Goodwin: Organic Chemistry

Research in the Goodwin Group has three major foci:(1) using GC/MS to search for chemical signals in secretions and excretions from threatened or endangered mammalian species; (2) development of green (environmentally benign) experiments for the introductory Organic Chemistry laboratory; and (3) synthesis of enantiomerically pure samples of human metabolites of the anti-thrombolitic drug Coumadin (warfarin) to aid in biomedical research at UAMS.

Dr. Liz Gron: Analytical/InorganicChemistry

Dr. Gron’s research interests presently include environmental sampling of water and soil, development of undergraduate chemical educational materials: green analytical laboratories and scientific literacy, and the analysis of biologically relevant ions: hydrogen sulfide/garlic project.      

Dr. David Hales: Physical Chemistry

We use tandem time-of-flight mass spectrometry to study chemical reactions in and fragmentation of ionized clusters of molecules.  Mass spectrometric analysis of the cluster ions reveals their elemental compositions.  Cluster fragmentation experiments and computational modeling provide information about bonding within the cluster ions, including which bonds are broken and formed in reactions that result from the ionization process.    

Dr. Courtney Hatch: Analytical/Atmospheric Chemistry

The Hatch Research Group uses an integrative and multidisciplinary approach to study the effects of natural aerosols on the Earth system. We aim to better understand how mineral aerosol influences bio-geochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, and climate. Currently, we have four ongoing and integrated projects including 1) water adsorption on mineral mixtures, 2) heterogeneous uptake of gaseous mixtures on mineral surfaces, 3) bio-geochemical impacts of nutrient dissolution from mineral aerosol during atmospheric aging, and 4) phytoplankton bio-marker studies.      

Dr. Randall Kopper: Biological Chemistry

Coral snakes are a group of species with highly neurotoxic venom.  A key enzyme in coral snake venom is phospholipase A2 (PLA2), an esterolytic enzyme that hydrolyzes glycerophospholipids causing potent neurotoxicity, myonecrosis, and lipid membrane damage resulting in immobilization and death of those envenomated.  Our lab studies the PLA2 enzymes in the two most dangerous coral snake species in the U.S. to understand the evolution and activity of this polypeptide, and in particular how it varies from individual to individual based on gender, age, and geographic origin of the individual snake.

Dr. Chris Marvin: Organic Chemistry

We are interested in developing new reactions and methods for organic chemistry. One area of focus involves studying new ways to form carbon-carbon bonds using catalysts that are activated by low-energy light sources. These methods/reactions are applied to the synthesis of biologically active, or “drug-like” small molecules. Students in my group learn to work with air and moisture sensitive chemicals, purification techniques, and use NMR on a daily basis to characterize their reaction products.