Sep 27, 2020  
2013-2014 University Catalog 
    
2013-2014 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacognosy Graduate Programs


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Graduate Studies

Program Description

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry offers graduate programs leading to the master of science (MS thesis or non-thesis) and doctor of philosophy (PhD) in chemistry (specialties: analytical, computational, medicinal, organic, and physical chemistry); biochemistry (specialties: bioanalytical chemistry and peptide, protein, lipid and nucleic acid chemistry); and pharmacognosy (MS thesis and PhD only; specialties: analytical pharmacognosy, biotechnology and cell culture, and natural product synthesis). Pharmacognosy, i.e., natural product chemistry, is a multidisciplinary field drawing on expertise from chemistry, biology, and pharmacology in order to give students the necessary breadth of experience.

Each program is designed to prepare students for careers in academic, industrial, and governmental settings. Individualized programs of study, which take advantage of modern instrumentation, provide a solid foundation for independent research. In addition to the possibility of performing research in the traditional areas in chemistry, i.e., organic, inorganic, physical, analytical, and biochemistry, the close affiliation of chemistry faculty with faculty in pharmacology, toxicology, bioinformatics, and pharmaceutics has resulted in a particularly strong research focus on the application of chemical methods to research problems in the health sciences and drug discovery.

Students in the graduate programs offered by the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry will:

  • Achieve an in-depth understanding of important concepts pertaining to all the major areas of chemistry appropriate to the research problem being addressed and be able to apply the knowledge gained.
  • Be exposed to the laboratory procedures and chemical instrumentation necessary for the solution of the research problem being addressed and be able to use them effectively for that purpose.
  • Become aware of critical safety issues and environmental regulations.
  • Be able to use computers effectively for both scientific and nonscientific tasks.
  • Be able to explore the scientific literature using a variety of resources and communicate that information effectively.
  • Attain a level of problem-solving and critical-thinking skills appropriate to the graduate degree being sought and be able to learn independently.

Students also have an exciting opportunity to use computer-modeling techniques to understand and predict the structure and behavior of chemical and biochemical systems through our West Center for Computational Chemistry and Drug Design (WC3D2). The West Center faculty currently consists of a focused group of six faculty members from the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry with expertise in computational chemistry and biochemistry. A combination of several powerful, parallel-processing, Beowulf “supercomputer” clusters, running sophisticated software packages, is available for use by students.

Students entering the graduate program in chemistry, biochemistry, or pharmacognosy may have any undergraduate degree that satisfies all the prerequisites for these programs. However, in some instances the graduate program director will need to assign appropriate undergraduate courses to ensure that students are properly prepared for the graduate courses in their particular program.

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry also offers the option of an integrated BS/MS or BS/PhD degree program for qualified undergraduate students who wish to pursue an MS or PhD degree in biochemistry, chemistry, or pharmacognosy while completing their undergraduate degree. Students interested in this option should contact the graduate program director in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.

MS and PhD Program Requirements


A minimum of 31 credits is required for the MS non-thesis degree; a minimum of 32 credits is required for the MS thesis degree; and a minimum of 45 credits is required for the PhD degree. Students also participate in the department’s seminar courses and, if in a MS thesis or PhD program, complete a laboratory rotation to assist in the selection of a thesis research advisor. Specific courses are assigned by the graduate program director and the student’s Advisory Committee once a thesis advisor is selected.

In order to help the program director evaluate an entering student’s background, each student takes a series of entrance examinations in specific areas of chemistry that will vary depending upon which of the three department programs is chosen.

A prospectus describing the student’s anticipated independent research project must be submitted by students in an MS thesis or PhD program. This research will be completed under the direction of a member of the graduate faculty, with the guidance of an Advisory Committee. Students who enter the PhD program must also complete a series of comprehensive examinations over a one-year period. Each MS thesis and PhD student must complete the research necessary to defend a thesis based on an original research project and report the results of this research at professional meetings. PhD students must publish at least two original research articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Biochemistry Curricula


MS (Non-Thesis) Requirements


Prerequisites


  • Analytical chemistry, 1 semester
  • Biochemistry, 2 semesters
  • Biochemistry laboratory, 1 semester
  • Calculus, 2 semesters
  • Cell biology or advanced biochemistry, 1 semester
  • English composition, 1 semester
  • Genetics, 1 semester
  • Literature of chemistry, 1 semester
  • Organic chemistry with laboratory, 2 semesters
  • Physical chemistry, 1 semester

Required Courses


  • Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry or biology courses (must be approved), Credits: 12
    (See Footnote Below)
  • Additional 300-level or above courses (must be approved by advisor) Credits: 6
Select either one of the following two courses (Credits: 3)

Total Credits: 31


MS (Thesis) Requirements


Prerequisites


  • Analytical chemistry, 1 semester
  • Biochemistry, 2 semesters
  • Biochemistry laboratory, 1 semester
  • Calculus, 2 semesters
  • Cell biology or advanced biochemistry, 1 semester
  • English composition, 1 semester
  • Genetics, 1 semester
  • Literature of chemistry, 1 semester
  • Organic chemistry with laboratory, 2 semesters
  • Physical chemistry, 1 semester

Required Courses


  • Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry or biology courses (must be approved) Credits: 6
    (See Footnote Below)
Select either one of the following two courses (Credits: 3)

Total Credits: 32


PhD Requirements


Prerequisites


  • Analytical chemistry, 1 semester
  • Biochemistry, 2 semesters
  • Biochemistry laboratory, 1 semester
  • Calculus, 2 semesters
  • Cell biology or advanced biochemistry, 1 semester
  • English composition, 1 semester
  • Genetics, 1 semester
  • Literature of chemistry, 1 semester
  • Organic chemistry with laboratory, 2 semesters
  • Physical chemistry, 1 semester

Required Courses


  • Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry or biology courses (must be approved by advisor) Credits: 7
    (See Footnote Below)
Select either one of the following two courses (Credits: 3)

Total Credits: 41


Footnote:


At least one chemistry or biology lecture course must be at the 800 level, and CH 802 – Research Seminar may not be used to satisfy this requirement.

Chemistry Curricula


MS (Non-Thesis) Requirements


Prerequisites


  • Analytical chemistry, 1 semester
  • Biochemistry, 1 semester
  • Calculus, 2 semesters
  • English composition, 1 semester
  • Inorganic chemistry (with physical chemistry as prerequisite), 1 semester
  • Instrumental analysis (with physical chemistry as prerequisite), 1 semester
  • Literature of chemistry, 1 semester
  • Organic chemistry with laboratory, 2 semesters
  • Physical chemistry, 2 semesters
  • Physical chemistry laboratory, 1 semester

Required Courses


  • Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry courses Credits: 12
    (See Footnote Below)
  • Additional 300-level or above courses (must be approved) Credits: 6
Select any two courses from the four categories below (Credits: 6):

  • Organic chemistry graduate course
  • Analytical chemistry graduate course
  • Physical chemistry graduate course
  • Biochemistry graduate course

Total Credits: 31


MS (Thesis) Requirements


Prerequisites


  • Analytical chemistry, 1 semester
  • Biochemistry, 1 semester
  • Calculus, 2 semesters
  • English composition, 1 semester
  • Inorganic chemistry (with physical chemistry as prerequisite), 1 semester
  • Instrumental analysis (with physical chemistry as prerequisite), 1 semester
  • Literature of chemistry, 1 semester
  • Organic chemistry with laboratory, 2 semesters
  • Physical chemistry, 2 semesters
  • Physical chemistry laboratory, 1 semester

Required Courses


  • Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry courses (must be approved) Credits: 9
    (See Footnote Below)
Select any two courses from the four categories below (Credits: 6):

  • Organic chemistry graduate course
  • Analytical chemistry graduate course
  • Physical chemistry graduate course
  • Biochemistry graduate course

Total Credits: 32


PhD Requirements


Prerequisites


  • Analytical chemistry, 1 semester
  • Biochemistry, 1 semester
  • Calculus, 2 semesters
  • English composition, 1 semester
  • Inorganic chemistry (with physical chemistry as prerequisite), 1 semester
  • Instrumental analysis (with physical chemistry as prerequisite), 1 semester
  • Literature of chemistry, 1 semester
  • Organic chemistry with laboratory, 2 semesters
  • Physical chemistry, 2 semesters
  • Physical chemistry laboratory, 1 semester

Required Courses


  • Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry courses (must be approved by advisor or Advisory Committee) Credits: 7
    (See Footnote Below)
Select any two courses from the four categories below (Credits: 6):

  • Organic chemistry graduate course
  • Analytical chemistry graduate course
  • Physical chemistry graduate course
  • Biochemistry graduate course

Total Credits: 41


Footnote:


At least one chemistry lecture course must be at the 800 level and CH 802 - Research Seminar may not be used to satisfy this requirement.

Pharmacognosy – Analytical and Natural Products Chemistry Option Curricula


MS (Thesis) Requirements


Prerequisites


  • Analytical chemistry, 1 semester
  • Calculus, 2 semesters
  • Cell biology or biochemistry, 1 semester
  • English composition, 1 semester
  • Literature of chemistry, 1 semester
  • Organic chemistry with laboratory, 2 semesters
  • Organismal or population biology, 1 semester
  • Statistics, 1 semester

Required Courses


  • Analytical chemistry graduate course Credits: 3
  • Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry or biology courses (must be approved) Credits: 3
  • Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry courses (must be approved) Credits: 3

Total Credits: 34


PhD Requirements


Prerequisites


  • Analytical chemistry, 1 semester
  • Calculus, 2 semesters
  • Cell biology or biochemistry, 1 semester
  • English composition, 1 semester
  • Literature of chemistry, 1 semester
  • Organic chemistry with laboratory, 2 semesters
  • Organismal or population biology, 1 semester
  • Statistics, 1 semester

Required Courses


  • Analytical chemistry graduate course Credits: 3
  • Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry or biology courses (must be approved) Credits: 3
  • Additional 700- or 800-level chemistry courses (must be approved) Credits: 3

Total Credits: 45


Pharmacognosy – Biotechnology and Metabolic Engineering Option Curricula


MS (Thesis) Requirements


Prerequisites


  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology

Required Courses


  • CH or BS 800-level elective Credits: 3 (minimum)
  • Additional 700- or 800-level BS and CH courses Credits: 3
    (minimum)

Total Credits: 30


PhD Requirements


Prerequisites


  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology

Required Courses


  • Biology or Chemistry Elective (700- or 800-level)* Credits: 3
Analytical chemistry graduate course Credits: 3

(Choose 1 of)*

Advanced cell/molecular course Credits: 2–3

(Choose 1 of)*

Total Mininum Credits: 45


*Requires approval of advisor or Advisory Committee. A minimum of 6 credits at 800 level is required for the degree.

Faculty – Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Pharmacognosy*


James R. McKee
BS, PhD (Maryland)
Professor of Chemistry
Director, Graduate Programs in Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Pharmacognosy
Phone: 215.596.8847
E-mail: j.mckee@usciences.edu
Research: chemistry of the trihalomethyl group: isonitrile antibiotics, sulfone and sulfonanilide antibiotics

Adeboye Adejare
BS, MS (Iowa); PhD (Ohio State)
Research Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Phone: 215.596.8944
E-mail: a.adejar@usciences.edu
Research: mechanisms of neurodegeneration; drug targeting; pharmaceutical profiling; chemistry of fluoroaromatic compounds

Catherine M. Bentzley
BS (St. Joseph’s); PhD (Delaware)
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Phone: 215.596.8581
E-mail: c.bentzl@usciences.edu
Research: analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and oligonucleotides using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI); investigation of noncovalent interactions, e.g., peptide/protein complexing with DNA via electrospray ionization (ESI); the rates of enzymatic reactions, such as the digestion of peptides with carboxypeptidase Y, using MALDI and ESI

Michael F. Bruist
BS (Stanford); PhD (Cornell)
Associate Professor of Biochemistry
Phone: 215.596.8530
E-mail: m.bruist@usciences.edu
Research: chemistry of DNA recombination reactions; protein-DNA interactions in site-specific recombination; local DNA strand alignment in the lambda integration reaction; DNA isomerizations that occur during recombination

Ara DerMarderosian
BS, MS (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy); PhD (Rhode Island)
Professor of Pharmacognosy
Research Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Phone: 215.596.8915
E-mail: a.dermar@usciences.edu
Research: isolation and identification of bioactive substances from natural products; phytochemical evaluation of ethnobotanicals; analytical evaluation of nutraceuticals

Peter J. Harvison
BS (Carnegie Mellon); PhD (SUNY, Buffalo)
Research Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Phone: 215.596.8979
E-mail: p.harvis@usciences.edu
Research: in vitro and in vivo metabolism of drugs and chemicals; formation and disposition of toxic metabolites; structure-toxicity relationships; application of analytical techniques such as HPLC to metabolism studies

Zhijun Li
BS, MS (Tsinghua, China); PhD (Vanderbilt)
Research Asociate Professor of Biochemistry and Bioinformatics
Phone: 215.596.7539
E-mail: z.li@usciences.edu
Research: computational and bioinformatics methods used to generate and analyze three-dimensional structures of protein molecules, and to gain insight into protein sequence, structure and function relationships, by leveraging and combining a broad range of techniques to tackle biological problems in multiple dimensions

Charles N. McEwen
BS (College of William and Mary); MS (Atlanta); PhD (Virginia)
Houghton Professor of Chemistry
Phone: 215.596.8552
E-mail: c.mcewen@usciences.edu
Research: mass spectrometry; development of new sampling techniques and probes to determine molecular mass of solids, especially of biological molecules

Preston B. Moore
BS (Bates); PhD (Boston)
Professor of Chemistry
Director, West Center for Computational Chemistry and Drug Design
Phone: 215.596.7537
E-mail: p.moore@usciences.edu
Research: molecular interactions within biological systems; computational chemistry; molecular dynamics simulations

Guillermo Moyna
BS (Universidad de la República, Uruguay); PhD (Texas A&M)
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Phone: 215.596.8526
E-mail: g.moyna@usciences.edu
Research: biomolecular NMR spectroscopy; computational chemistry; computer-assisted rational drug design

Vojislava Pophristic
BS (Belgrade); PhD (Rutgers)
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Chair, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Director, Center for Drug Design and Drug Delivery
Phone: 215.596.8551
E-mail: v.pophri@usciences.edu
Research: computational methods and their application to foldamers, metalloclusters, and small molecules

Bela Peethambaran
BTech (St. Xavier’s, India); MS (Gujarat University, India); PhD (Mississippi State)
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Pharmacognosy
Phone: 215.596.8923
E-mail: b.peethambaran@usciences.edu
Research: engineering plants as a source of bioactive compounds such as phenolics and flavonols; effects of Myrothamnus on cancer cell lines

John R. Porter
BS (Pittsburgh State, Kansas); PhD (Montana)
Professor of Biology
Research Professor of Pharmacognosy
Director, Biology Graduate Programs
Phone: 215.596.8917
E-mail: j.porter@usciences.edu
Research: production strategies for medicinal natural products through root cultures initiated by Agrobacterium rhizogenes inoculation; genome characterization of the plasmids of Agrobacterium rhizogenes for understanding of the plant-microbe interactions; isolation and characterization of naturally occurring cytotoxins and antimicrobial (antibacterial, antifungal) compounds

Alexander Sidorenko
MS (I. Franko Lviv State University, Ukraine); PhD (National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine)
Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Phone: 215.596.8836
E-mail: a.sidore@usciences.edu
Research: design of novel nanostructured materials and biopolymers by applying micro/nanotemplated synthetic methods and self-organization phenomena to fabricate smart surfaces and devices for cellular biology applications in drug delivery, cell adhesion control, molecular electronics, magnetic/optical storage, smart optical devices, etc.

Julian W. Snow
BS (Washington); PhD (California, Santa Barbara)
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Phone: 215.596.8837
E-mail: j.snow@usciences.edu
Research: thermodynamic properties of drug–red blood cell membrane interactions; thermodynamic properties of the interactions between serum apolipoproteins or model amphipathic helices with model lipid systems

John W. Tomsho
BS (University of the Sciences); PhD (University of Michigan)
Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Phone: 215.596.7395
E-mail: j.tomsho@usciences.edu
Research: development of small molecules and peptides that target important processor in the organisms that cause infectious disease

Nathan M. West
BS, PhD (University of North Carolina)
Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Phone: 215.596.7251
E-mail: n.west@usciences.edu
Research: synthesis and mechanism of reaction of new organometallic and transition metal catalysts, which will be used to prepare both petrochemicals and fine chemicals; initially this will involve studies with palladium or rhodium catalysts for the carboxylation of C-H bonds

Rodney J. Wigent
BS, MS, PhD (Michigan Tech)
Professor of Chemistry
Dean, College of Graduate Studies
Phone: 215.596.8974
E-mail: r.wigent@usciences.edu
Research: thermodynamic properties of drug excipients; effect of water content on drug release; physical and thermodynamic properties of aqueous electrolyte solutions; environmental factors affecting DNA supercoiling and stability

Randy J. Zauhar
BS/BA (Eastern Washington); MS, PhD (Pennsylvania State)
Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Director, Graduate Program in Bioinformatics
Phone: 215.596.8691
E-mail: r.zauhar@usciences.edu
Research: computational chemistry; bioinformatics; design of inhibitors against HIV protease and other polymorphic targets; development of computational methods to determine solvation effects in biological molecules; computer-aided drug design

Notes:
* More information about faculty research activities can be found at each faculty member’s web page.
† Research professors are members of the graduate faculty in other departments.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Graduate Studies