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Graduate Recruiting Seminars

Woman and man in lab with vials of colored liquid.

Faculty from the Clemson University Department of Chemistry are able to present research seminars in a wide variety of traditional and interdisciplinary areas of chemistry targeted toward undergraduate audiences. In addition to in-person or virtual research seminars, the department also provides virtual question-and-answer sessions with panels of graduate students who can answer specific questions about careers in chemistry and life in the Clemson graduate program. These virtual panels can be scheduled independently, or can follow a research seminar. For in-person seminars, the Clemson Department of Chemistry may be able to provide financial assistance for travel and accommodations of our faculty. A list of seminar topics and titles is provided below. 

Scheduling a Seminar or Panel

To schedule a research seminar with or without a graduate student question-and-answer session, contact individual faculty members using the email links below. To schedule a graduate student panel independently of a research seminar, contact the graduate student coordinator at


Faculty Interests and Seminar Topics

Measurements and Analyses: Analytical and Physical Chemistry

Jeffrey Anker — Analytical Chemistry

The Anker group uses combination of optical spectroscopy and nanoparticle devices to study chemical and biophysical processes.

  • “Magnetically Modulated Chemical and Biophysical Sensors.”
  • “Chemical Imaging Through Tissue: X-Ray Excited Optical Luminescence Chemical Sensors.”
  • “Multifunctional Magnetic, Plasmonic and Radiolumienscent Contrast Agents.”

Leah Casabianca — Physical Chemistry

Research in the Casabianca group focuses on using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to study the interactions between nanomaterials and biological molecules.

  • “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Studies of Nanoparticle Surface Interactions.”
  • “The Physics and Chemistry Behind Magnetic Resonance Imaging MRI.”

George Chumanov — Analytical/Physical Spectroscopy

The Chumanov group works on preparation and modification of different nanoparticles, including one-, two- and three-dimensional regular structures; investigation of their properties using different spectrochemical techniques together with optical, electron, atomic force and scanning tunneling microscopy; and development of new materials and devices for environmental and biomedical diagnostic applications.

  • “Nanomaterials: Preparation, Properties, and Analytical Applications.”
  • “Lasers and Laser Raman Spectroscopy, Atomic Force, and Near-Field Optical Scanning Microcopies.”

Stephen E. Creager — Analytical/Electrochemistry

Creager’s research is in the general area of electrochemical science with an emphasis on electrochemical energy storage and conversion. Much of his research involves fluoropolymer materials for polyelectrolyte membrane PEM fuel cells that convert chemical fuels such as hydrogen into electrical energy.

  • “Energy Conversion and Storage using Electrochemistry: Research from Clemson on Materials for Advanced Batteries and Fuel Cells.”

Brian Dominy — Physical/Computational Chemistry

Dominy's research involves the development and application of molecular mechanics and bioinformatics techniques to explore the physical chemical basis of biological phenomena at the molecular level. Specifically, the group focuses on applications relevant to medicine, including drug design and biomolecular evolution of drug targets — i.e., drug resistance.

  • “Computational Chemistry and Applications to Medicine.”
  • “Physical Mechanisms and Constraints Associated with the Evolution of Proteins.”

Carlos Garcia — Analytical Chemistry

The Garcia group is focused on the study of interactions of proteins with nanostructured surfaces and their use in analytical chemistry. Additionally, Garcia is developing microfluidic devices to monitor biologically active compounds.

  • “It’s Just Oxygen: Taking Advantage of Chemical Reactivity in Analytical Processes.”
  • “A Practical Approach to Writing and Publishing a Scientific Paper.”

R. Kenneth Marcus — Analytical/Spectrochemical Analysis

The major focus of the Marcus group is the development and application of new plasma techniques for atomic emission and mass spectrometry instrumentation. The use of novel polymer fibers towards separations of proteins and bionanoparticles is also a primary focus.

  • “Capillary-Channeled Polymer Fibers: A New Stationary Phase for HPLC Separations of Proteins and Exosomes.”
  • “Practical Microplasmas for Combined Atomic and Molecular CAM Mass Spectrometry.”

Jason McNeill — Physical/Analytical Chemistry

The McNeil group is developing novel probes for advanced fluorescence applications based on nanoparticles consisting of one or more conjugated polymer molecules.

  • “Sensing and Imaging Applications of Novel, Highly Fluorescent Polymer Dot Nanoparticles.”
  • “Single Molecule Detection and Tracking in Live Cells.”

Dvora Perahia — Physical/Analytical Chemistry

Research in Perahia’s group focuses on complex soft systems using both experimental and computational tools. Controlling the structure and motion of molecules in soft materials will enable design of new materials for technologies from drug delivery and biosensors to clean energy and nanoelectronics.

  • “Polymers for Energy Applications: Where Structural Techniques Meet Computational Studies.”
  • “Soft Matter: Following Sluggish Motion of Molecules.”
  • “Multiscale Computations in Soft Materials.”

Synthesis and Materials Development: Organic, Inorganic and Materials Chemistry

Dev P. Arya — Organic/Bio-organic Chemistry

The Arya group focuses on understanding, design, and discovery of new motifs for the molecular recognition of biological macromolecules for development of novel antibiotics.

  • “Nucleic Acid Groove Recognition by Carbohydrates.”
  • “RNA Targeted HIV and Antibacterial Drugs.”
  • “Probes and Assays for Drug Discovery and Development.”
  • “DNA Targeted Transcription Inhibitors.”

Julia Brumaghim — Bioinorganic/Coordination Chemistry

The Brumaghim group explores oxidative DNA damage and how antioxidants can prevent this damage by examining interactions of metal ions, antioxidants and DNA using a variety of interdisciplinary analytical, DNA-based and cellular techniques.

  • “More Than Just an Awful Smell: The Versatility of Sulfur and Selenium in Biological and Coordination Chemistry.”
  • “An Apple a Day, or Garlic, or Chocolate? The Edible Antioxidant World and the Link Between Basic Chemistry and Health.”

Shiou-Jyh Hwu — Inorganic/Solid State Chemistry

Hwu’s research involves 1 the synthesis of solids containing confined transition-metal-oxide frameworks, 2 electrochemical synthesis of conducting solids in nonaqueous media, and 3 synthesis of a new class of hybrid materials via salt inclusion.

  • “Magnetic Materials for Quantum Computing.”
  • “New Materials for Battery Applications.”

Byoungmoo Kim — Organic Chemistry

Kim’s research interests center on the development of selective functionalizations of bioactive molecules by discovering new catalytic transformations and designing innovative catalysts.

  • “Catalytic Diversification of Amides and Amines.”

Joseph W. Kolis — Inorganic/Solid State Chemistry

Kolis' group studies the synthesis and chemistry of novel inorganic compounds with unusual structures and properties. The group is particularly interested in chemistry under very unusual reaction conditions, such as with very high temperatures and pressures or in exotic solvents.

  • “Synthesis of Inorganic Laser Crystals in Supercritical Water.”
  • “Laboratory-Grown Gems.”

Bill Pennington — Inorganic Chemistry/Crystal Engineering

Pennington's research is focused on the crystal chemistry of materials involving halogen bonding Lewis acid-Lewis base interactions.

  • “Adventures in Crystallography: Lost in Reciprocal Space.”
  • “Halogen Bonding: An effective tool for Crystal engineering.”
  • “South Carolina: The Wonderful Iodine State!”
  • “Polydiacetylene Sensors for Food Safety, Wound Management and National Security.”

Sourav Saha — Organic/Supramolecular & Materials Chemistry

The interdisciplinary research endeavors in the Saha group focus on developing stimuli-responsive functional materials, such as metal–organic frameworks and other supramolecular assemblies that can transport charge carriers electrons and ions, produce and store clean energy, detect toxic chemicals and targeted transport and delivery of drugs and nutrients in our bodies.

  • “Stimuli-Responsive Supramolecular Coordination Complexes and Architectures.”
  • “Electrically Conductive and Light-Harvesting Metal–Organic Frameworks.”

Rhett Smith — Organic/Organic Materials

Professor Smith’s group works in the broad areas of sustainable building materials and energy generation. The team is especially interested in valorization of waste materials, plastics recycling, and replacing traditional plastics with plant-derived alternatives.

  • “Stimuli-Responsive Conducting Metallopolymers.”
  • “Biomimetic Fluorescent and Colorimetric Sensors.”

Ya-Ping Sun — Organic/Inorganic/Polymer Chemistry

Research in the Sun group is centered on the following three areas: 1 carbon nanotubes and nanosheets and related nanocomposite materials for novel electrical and thermal properties and applications, 2 carbon dots as a new class of photoactive nanomaterials for optical bioimaging and other fundamental development and technological applications, and 3 nanoenergetics and novel materials for new energy initiatives.

  • “Synthesis, Processing and Applications of Inorganic and Organic Nanomaterials.”
  • “Buckyballs and Nanotubes: from Chemistry to Optical and Electronic Devices.”
  • “Carbon Quantum, Dots: Exploring Carbon at Zero-Dimension.”

Andy Tennyson — Organometallic/Materials Chemistry

Tennyson Lab research harnesses redox chemistry to address unsolved challenges in medicine and environmental remediation. Our highly interdisciplinary projects lie at the interface of classical organometallic catalysis with biomaterials, oxidative stress, and sustainable building materials.

  • “Suppressing Transplant Rejection with Organometallic Medicines.”
  • “Fluorescent Probes for Inflammation and Immune Response.”
  • “Covalent Composite Materials for Optoelectronic and Photonic Applications.”

Thao Tran — Inorganic/Solid-State/Materials Chemistry

Research in the Tran laboratory focuses on addressing challenges in the functional properties of complex optical, magnetic and electronic materials for twenty-first century technologies by applying design-driven materials and chemistry approaches.

  • “Making Waves in Materials for Quantum Information Science.”
  • “Designing New Magnetic Spin Textures for Memory Applications.”

Joseph S. Thrasher — Inorganic/Analytical/Polymer Chemistry

Thrasher’s research involves preparation, characterization, and utility of novel sulfur-fluorine compounds; industrial fluorine chemistry including agro- and pharmaceutical intermediates, fluoropolymer chemistry, and electrochemistry; fluorine-containing molten salts/ionic liquids; fluorous media to improve separations and catalysis; batteries and fuel cell technology; new analytical methodology development in fluorine chemistry; and computational chemistry.

  • “Materials and Process Development for the Fluorochemical Industry.”
  • “Recent Advances in the Characterization of Fluoropolymers via Mass Spectrometry.”

Marek Urban — Materials Science and Engineering

Urban is a faculty member in Materials Science and Engineering with a joint appointment in Chemistry. His research focuses on the development of multi-phase stimuli-responsive nanomaterials as well as polymers capable of autonomous self-healing. Using chemical imaging and an array of other spectroscopic and macroscopic tools, the Urban group develops new generations of materials with adaptable, sensing, and signaling properties.

  • “Stimuli-Responsive Polymers: Sensing, Signaling and Environmental Adaptability.”
  • “Physico-chemical Processes in Self-Healing Polymers.”
  • “Chemical Imaging and Polymer Spectroscopy.”

Modi Wetzler — Organic Chemistry/Ligand Design

The Wetzler group uses synthetic organic and peptide chemistry to explore bioorganic and peptidomimetic chemistry for medicinal and materials applications, and modular ligand design for f-element chemistry.

  • “The Peptoid Swiss Army Knife: Medicinal, Inorganic and Polymer Applications.”
  • “Uranium and Plutonium Chemistry: Big Problems and Big Opportunities.”

Daniel Whitehead — Organic Chemistry

The Whitehead group leverages synthetic organic chemistry to explore three focus areas: new reaction methodology, materials chemistry and bio-organic chemistry.

  • “Accessing Rare Molecular Scaffolds by Means of Novel Cycloaddition Chemistry.”
  • “Functional Nanomaterials for Environmental Applications.”
  • “Non-Microbicidal Small Molecule Inhibition of the Polysaccharide Metabolism of Gut Microbes.”
Department of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry | 235 Hunter Chemistry Laboratory, Clemson, SC 29634