Department of Chemistry

Chemistry Faculty and Staff


Pedro Bernal, PhD

Pedro Bernal, PhD

Professor of Chemistry

Bush 367


BS, Chemistry, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 1978
PhD, Physical Chemistry, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 1984 
Post-Doctoral Research, University of Oklahoma-Norman, 1984-1986

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 323


BS, Biochemistry, St. Bonaventure University, 2000
MS, Molecular and Cellular Physiology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 2003
PhD, Biomedical Sciences, University of Central Florida, 2017
Post-Doctoral Research, University of Central Florida, 2018-2019

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, 1999
PhD, Chemistry, Duke University, 2004
Post-Doctoral Research, North Carolina State University, 2004-2006

Specialties: Organic, Inorganic

Research: Consumers use products made from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries daily.  Environmental and economic pressures with current synthetic methods create a need for the development of new ways to make molecules.  My research focuses on the use of transition-metal catalysts for organic transformations.  The goal is to find a different route to making a target molecule that requires less time, energy, reagents, and waste produced.  Current work focuses on the synthesis of iron complexes with N-heterocyclic carbene ligands.  The iron complexes are then screened for different types of reactivity including additions, aromatic substitutions, reductions and oxidations.

Brian M. Mosby, PhD

Brian M. Mosby, PhD

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Bush 218B


BS, Chemistry, Grambling State University, 2009
PhD, Inorganic Chemistry, Texas A&M University, 2014
Post-Doctoral Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014-2017

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

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Bush 118A


BA, Chemistry, Wellesley College, 2006
MA, Chemistry, Columbia Univeristy, 2008
MPhil, Chemistry, Columbia University, 2010
PhD, Materials Chemistry, Columbia University, 2011
Consultant, ClearView Healthcare Partners, 2011-2012

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

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Bush 173


BS, Medicinal & Biological Chemistry, University of Toledo, 2005
PhD, Medicinal Chemistry, University of Michigan, 2010
Post-Doctoral Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2010-2015

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, Departmental Chair

Bush 214C


BA, Chemistry, Biochemistry, & Biology, Wartburg College, 2002
PhD, Biomedical Science: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 2007
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Yale University, 2007-2012

Specialties: Biochemistry, General

Research: The Riley Lab explores the identity and function of small non-coding RNAs in bacterial and viral diseases. We are teasing out the function of the Hfq protein and sRNAs in Staphylococcus bacterial species. Members of our group are also exploring the interplay between cancer-causing viruses and infected human cells.  We identified and are currently exploring thousands of gene transcripts that are regulated by human and viral microRNAs: tiny non-coding RNAs that base pair with specific messenger RNAs to down-regulate them. It is our hope that our research will contribute to a greater understanding of how the virus causes cancer and thereby pinpoint good targets for future anti-viral drug development.  Our projects are interdisciplinary, combining foundational elements of biochemistry, bioinformatics, molecular biology, cell biology, and genetics.

Evan Vanable, PhD

Evan Vanable, PhD

Visiting Professor of Chemistry

Bush 273


Specialties: General and Organic Chemistry

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