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Research Interests and Strengths

Faculty research in the UNM Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology spans a broad range of disciplines and cutting-edge topics of great societal importance.  Faculty investigators have diverse backgrounds that often merge with those outside the tradiational boundaries of Chemistry.  Research in the Department is categorized in terms of the following three thrusts:

  1. Biological Chemistry: Faculty in this area cover a wide range of sub-specialties and have ongoing or potential collaborative relationships with several other units on campus, including Biology, Center for Biomedical Engineering, the College of Pharmacy and the School of Medicine.   Topics include but are not limited to, drug discovery, biological molecule structure-function relationships, medicinal chemistry, and imaging.  Faculty in this area typically collaborate with UNM School of Medicine as well as the Center for Biomedical Engineering.  The divisions of Biological and Medicinal Chemistry are the 4th and 2nd largest in the ACS as of 2012, and the potential for student recruiting and placement is high.
  2. Catalysis: Catalysis research bridges the traditional areas of organic and inorganic synthesis and mechanism, enzyme chemistry and theory.  Catalysis is a particular interest of the UNM Chemical Engineering department and of the Advanced Materials Laboratory group comprised of both UNM faculty and national laboratory staff .  Adding this focus area to the department’s plan recognizes the strength of several research efforts already present in the department, and should facilitate further collaboration as the program strives for greater national and international recognition.  Research in catalysis spans both biological and industrial applications and further benefits from synergized experimental and theoretical approaches.  
  3. Electronic and Photonic Materials:  Molecular-based materials have enormous potential to transform traditional electronics and chemists are poised to make large contributions to this global effort. Specifically, the harvesting, storing and productive use of solar energy requires improvements in understanding electronic materials and their behaviors; other energy-related technologies should also benefit from fundamental work in this area.  At UNM, we enjoy the close proximity of Department of Energy National Laboratories (Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs) as well as materials-oriented centers which enables many potential collaborations.  The department also has many cutting-edge facilities for energy materials research which provide students with hands-on exposure to current state-of-the-art applications.  

Faculty research groups support multiple graduate and undergraduate students as well as postdoctoral scholars.  Prospective students are encouraged to contact individual faculty members.