At Lawrence, we feel that undergraduate research should play an integral part in any curriculum of study. Student involvement in independent learning and research fosters the type of critical thinking needed when pursing future opportunities, both professionally and academically.  This emphasis on original research permeates our curriculum, from class projects to independent studies.

Every member of the chemistry department at Lawrence runs an active research group, supported by a combination of internal funding and external grants. Students can often earn credit for research done during the school year as an Independent Study; our department also has a thriving Lawrence University Research Fellows (LURF) program, in which students immerse themselves in research for a ten-week term for a stipend. Students interested in research opportunities for the summer should plan to attend the relevant info session given by the Research Coordinator in the winter term, and students interested in research during the school year should talk with the scientist they'd like to work with as soon as possible!

Senior Experience

One part of the Senior Experience is CHEM 680, where each student gives an individual seminar presentation.  Occurring during Spring Term, these presentations are streamed live and recorded for later viewing.


CHEM 680, Spring 2018 Talk Schedule

Thu, Apr 25


12:00 PM Nicolette Puskar Measuring molecular diffusion in ammonium-based ionic liquids using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy
Fri, Apr 26
  3:10 PM Leah Reeves

Design principles of stable organic radicals with luminescent properties

  4:00 PM Katie Nottberg

Affibody-indocyanine green based contrast agent for imaging of B7-H3 expression in breast cancer

Wed, May 1
  4:00 PM Fry Intia

Mapping Ozone and Methane in Western Pennsylvania around Natural Gas Wells

Wed, May 8
  3:10 PM Alex Gomez Photoinduced trifluoromethylation of pyrroles
  4:00 PM Sarah Schweickart Lingering lead in today’s world: Lead analysis of water using anodic stripping voltammetry
Thu, May 9
  11:10 AM Linh Nguyen Rett Syndrome, synaptic density and clinical use of PET scan
Fri, May 10
  3:10 PM Erica Craddock

Investigating oxidation state of iron-containing enzymes: magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopy of thiol dioxygenases

  4:00 PM Sam Patterson Bioremediation of the Nitrogen Cycle
Wed, May 15
  3:10 PM El Goblirsch Methods for Beta-Amyloid Peptide Detection and Inhibition
Thu, May 16
  4:30 PM Max Stahl Anti-schistosomal drug synthesis
Fri, May 17
  3:10 PM Ned Martenis Long-Term Effects of Antibiotics on Epigenetic Markers in Human Cells
Thu, May 23
  11:10 AM Dora Dujmic Rapid brain atrophy and disability progression in late and adult onset multiple sclerosis patients
Fri, May 25
  3:10 PM Alex Gesme Synthesis of Heterocyclic Fluorescent Liquid Crystals

Below are more detailed descriptions of a few of the many senior research projects that occurred in 2016.

Tyler Herman '16, Waukegan, Illinois

"My senior project involves computer modeling of chemical systems using open source programming.  Specifically, I seek to develop a computational laboratory exercise in which students can model kinetic properties of a reaction.  This will provide students with a hands-on approach to understanding the physics of chemistry.  It should also help to develop computer skills beyond the level typical of an undergraduate chemistry student."



Achamaporn (Nutt) Punnanitinont '16, Thailand

"My senior research project will entail a combination of my previous two summer research projects done through the LU-R1 program at Lawrence. The major focus will be on my first summer research project, whose purpose was to determine the interaction of two key enzymes involved in the pentose phosphate and trehalose pathways in the human opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. In addition, I will also talk about the immunohistochemistry used to determine the ratio between proliferation and apoptosis of cardiac myocytes obtained from premature lambs, which are models for the pulmonary hypertension study in Professor Albertine’s lab where I spent my last summer.


Annabelle Tsai '16, Katy, Texas

Portrait of Annabelle Tsai"Yeast is a model organism used to study countless biological and biochemical mechanisms.  By analyzing the biochemical processes of different yeasts through a brewing lens, we can enhance the brewing process while gaining information on yeasts’ biochemical function.  Over the summer, we analyzed the flavor profiles of 700 wild yeast isolates and brewed beer from those with the best profiles.  My project is to create hybrids between these wild yeast strains and domesticated Saccharomyces cerevisiae used in the brewing industry in an effort to make new beer yeasts that combine the unique flavor of the wild yeast with the brewing properties of the domesticated yeast."


Charlie Martin ’16, Plymouth, Wisconsin

Portrait of Charlie Martin"My research focuses on using new methods to make molecules with potential anti-malarial activity. An interdisciplinary project between the organic chemistry and biochemistry classes at Lawrence has students make potential drugs and then test them on cells; my research supports this project in a number of ways. The current iteration of the project involves the functionalization (addition of new components) of a class of molecules called triazolopyrazines. I am attempting some novel synthetic methods towards the functionalization of these compounds, with the goal of learning about new ways to make these molecules and others like them."


These are just a few of the many projects taking place throughout the year. Whether during the year or over the summer, faculty and students are engaging in various investigations.  Some of those projects can be found here.  Check back for exciting developments and read about past challenges in the research occurring within Chemistry.