Dr. Joseph M. Keane
A common theme in some of my favorite courses is the relationship between structure and function. In chemistry we develop models, or ways of thinking about, the structures of atoms, molecules and materials. We use these models to understand and explain the properties and behaviors of macroscopic substances. Muhlenberg students regularly take the structural understanding they develop in chemistry courses and apply it to such diverse fields as clinical medicine, pharmaceutical development and alternative energy research.
Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests
My research group is engaged in an ambitious effort to develop new reactions that might be useful for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals and other small molecules of interest. To this end, we are studying a series of compounds in which an organic component wraps around a heavy metal such as molybdenum or tungsten to give a molecule that has a well-defined and interesting shape. Precedent suggests that the shapes we are observing can be used to control other reactions taking place on the metal, in a manner similar to that observed for enzymes.