My teaching interests are primarily in the field of analytical chemistry and I regularly teach the two-course sequence, Analytical Chemistry I and II. Students in these courses develop their skills in advanced equilibrium, uncertainty propagation, calibration methods, statistical experimental design and data analysis, electrochemistry, analytical separations/chromatography and spectroscopy. We engage together in learning about the theory and applications of instrumentation, both in the classroom and in the laboratory.
I am also passionate about teaching introductory chemistry and general chemistry. Students in introductory chemistry come from a variety of backgrounds and plan to pursue majors in the natural sciences. We work to develop problem solving skills needed to succeed in general chemistry and upper-level courses in the sciences.
Other courses I have taught include fluorescence spectroscopy and laboratory automation and robotics, and I plan to offer a course in mass spectrometry in the future. In these upper-level, literature-based courses, students help shape the content and direction of the course and we visit industry laboratories to gain multiple perspectives on what we are learning in the classroom.
In all my courses, my students and I share the commitment to a culture of academic rigor, inclusivity, effective communication and collaboration.
Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests
Collaboration―with my students, colleagues and industrial partners―has been at the heart of my research program at Muhlenberg. Together, we leverage analytical chemistry to work with other scientists on cross-disciplinary research questions. Here at Muhlenberg, a collaboration with Dr. Richard Niesenbaum (professor of biology), investigated plant-insect interactions. We used HPLC to quantify phenolic compounds in plants to correlate light environment, plant chemistry and herbivory in the field. Currently, we work alongside Dr. Jeremy Teissere (professor of neuroscience) and his students to better understand modulation of the GABAA receptor in the brain. Using LC-MS and GC-MS, our goal is to develop and implement methods to identify and quantify constituents in herbal extracts. Our collective results to date suggest a chemical basis for the modulation of the GABAA receptor.
Our extensive work with external researchers include a collaboration with scientists at Johnson & Johnson, where we developed novel approaches using design of experiments (DOE) to prepare cell culture media samples for GC-MS characterization. Currently we are working with chemists from The Mentholatum Company on the GC-MS characterization of forced-degradation of natural pharmaceutical ingredients.
Our work together on these research endeavors has resulted in co-authored publications and conference presentations.