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Department of Chemistry

Chemistry Faculty and Staff


Pedro Bernal, PhD

Pedro Bernal, PhD

Professor of Chemistry

Bush 367


BS, Chemistry, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
PhD, Physical Chemistry, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Post-Doctoral Research, University of Oklahoma-Norman

SpecialtiesPhysical, General

Research: I engage students in two distinct types of research projects.  Both are concerned with different aspects of the role played by water in our lives.
1.  Volumetric Properties of Water Solutions. In our research group, we are interested in the volumetric properties of solutions.  To have a solution you need a solvent, say water, and a solute (what is dissolved in the solvent).  The molecular structure of both solute and solvent affect the way they interact with each other.  These interactions are important, among other reasons, because they influence the behavior of biological molecules (proteins, nucleic acids, etc.).  We study solute-solvent interactions by measuring how the volume of the solution changes as one changes the pressure and the concentration.  The way the solution behaves as a function of concentration and pressure provides information about solute-solvent interactions and allows us to tell a story about why biological macromolecules behave the way they do in water.

2.  Appropriate Water Purification Interventions. Lack of access to potable water kills about 4000 children a day worldwide.  For that reason, a great deal of attention is being paid to simple devices that allow people to purify water at home.  It is an approach known as “Household Water Treatment and Storage” (HWTS).  We use one of those devices and implement projects in rural communities in the Dominican Republic.  Research in this area can be the testing of HWTS devices in the lab, which may be accompanied by a field experience.

Marisa Fuse, PhD

Marisa Fuse, PhD

Lecturer in Chemistry, Health Professions Advisor

Bush 112


BS, Biochemistry, St. Bonaventure University
MS, Molecular and Cellular Physiology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
PhD, Biomedical Sciences, University of Central Florida
Post-Doctoral Research, University of Central Florida

Specialties: General Chemistry

Laurel Goj Habgood, PhD

Laurel Goj Habgood, PhD

Professor of Chemistry, DJ and JM Cram Chair

Bush 331


AB, Chemistry, Smith College
PhD, Chemistry, Duke University
Post-Doctoral Research, North Carolina State University

Specialties: Organic, Inorganic

Research: Organometallic compounds, complexes composed of a transition metal center and organic ligands, are used by the pharmaceutical and chemical industries daily. My research focuses on the synthesis and utilization of these compounds for two distinct applications. (1) Gold, palladium, platinum, and silver complexes are synthesized. In collaboration with others, the goal is to expand their potential by testing efficacy for different forms of bioactivity than previously reported. (2) Environmental and economic pressures with current synthetic methods drive the development of new ways to make molecules. The goal is to develop new metal complexes that catalyze organic transformations creating options for different routes to making a target molecule.


Brian M. Mosby, PhD

Brian M. Mosby, PhD

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Bush 218B


BS, Chemistry, Grambling State University
PhD, Inorganic Chemistry, Texas A&M University
Post-Doctoral Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Specialties: General, Inorganic

Research: As the demands of society continue to grow, new sophisticated materials will be necessary to address societal needs and solve complex problems. My research focuses on the design and synthesis of functional hybrid materials for a variety of applications. Of particular interest are materials that possess multiple functionalities or stimuli-responsive behavior. In the Mosby lab, our approach to multifunctional and responsive materials involves inorganic materials, polymeric materials, and the combination thereof. Current investigations focus on the synthesis of multifunctional materials from inorganic host-guest compounds, triggered structural transformations in metal organic frameworks, and the development of stimuli-responsive polymer composites. 

Ellane J. Park, PhD

Ellane J. Park, PhD

Associate Professor of Chemistry, Departmental Chair

Bush 118A


BA, Chemistry, Wellesley College
MA, Chemistry, Columbia Univeristy
MPhil, Chemistry, Columbia University
PhD, Materials Chemistry, Columbia University
Consultant, ClearView Healthcare Partners

Specialties: Analytical, General

Research: The advancement of biomaterials research has become more significant in recent years as the need for biocompatible, bioselective medical devices has grown. As surfaces of biomedical devices are often the first part of the device that interacts with the biological host, it is crucial to develop a method that is able to control and modify these surface properties. One theme in the Park research group is the development of bioselective gold nanocomposites that can serve as a platform for a new kind of cancer treatment. Gold nanoparticles are of special interest due to their unique ability to effectively convert light energy into the form of heat and potentially act as delivery vehicles of anti-cancer therapeutics to solid tumor sites. My lab will use tools in analytical and photochemistry to achieve the following objectives: (1) develop a photografting method that allows for the attachment of nearly any biomolecule onto gold nanoparticle surfaces, and (2) produce biocompatible, highly selective nano-vehicles for diagnostics and therapeutics. Other projects in the Park research group include the fabrication of thin films on a wide selection of surfaces (e.g., gold, silicon) using nano- and/or polymeric materials for biomedical applications.

James D. Patrone, PhD

James D. Patrone, PhD

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Bush 173


BS, Medicinal & Biological Chemistry, University of Toledo
PhD, Medicinal Chemistry, University of Michigan
Post-Doctoral Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Specialties: Organic, Biochemistry

Research: Fragment-Based Ligand Discovery (FBLD) is a modern technique for the discovery of chemical matter for challenging targets in drug discovery and basic research. My research interests are in the area of applying FBLD in basic cancer research. My laboratory consists of two major projects: 1. The synthesis of improved fragment molecules to establish a library specifically designed for the identification and rapid optimization of protein-protein interaction inhibitors. This project consists of synthesizing (3-5 steps) small libraries of multivariate molecules. 2. The fragment-based development of inhibitors of the glycolysis pathway, to take advantage of the Warburg Effect. This project will consist of screening fragments against enzymes in the glycolysis pathway, identification of fragment hits, and optimization of the fragments into potential lead molecules.

Kasandra J. Riley, PhD

Kasandra J. Riley, PhD

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Bush 214C


BA, Chemistry, Biochemistry, & Biology, Wartburg College
PhD, Biomedical Science: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Yale University

Specialties: Biochemistry, General

Research: The Riley Lab’s research probes two fundamental questions: (1) how gene expression is regulated by non-coding RNAs and (2) how extremophiles and yeast catalyze redox reactions. After discovering and naming a new species of extremophile bacteria (Psychrobacter koprana) in 2019, we used our sequencing data and comparative genomics to select intriguing genes for further study. Current student projects explore the identity and function of small non-coding RNAs and the Hfq protein in marine halophiles and radiation-resistant bacteria. We also express, purify, and measure the function of enzymes such as catalase, which may have utility in industry. Like much of biochemistry, Riley Lab's research projects are interdisciplinary: they combine foundational elements of biochemistry, bioinformatics, molecular biology, microbiology, cell biology, and genetics.


Rollins Chemistry Faculty Emeriti

Larry Eng-Wilmot, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, 1980-2013

Erich C. Blossey, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, 1965-2011

Support Staff

Beverley Bridge

Beverley Bridge

Chemical Stockroom & Laboratory Manager

Bush 261


Greg Donelson

Electronics Technician

Bush 012


Pamela Mason

Administrative Assistant

Bush 110