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Chemistry & Biochemistry

The complex interactions of atoms, molecules, and ions determine our shapes and sizes, our environment, and even how we feel on a given day. Our faculty and students endeavor to understand the the world at the molecular level and apply this understanding to tackle problems in modern society.

Students in our department have close relationships with faculty who are committed, excellent educators. They’re engaged in rigorous coursework on exciting modern topics, including bioanalytical chemistry, environmental chemistry, and medicinal chemistry. In their laboratory courses, students use advanced instrumentation to learn technical skills and problem-solving strategies that prepare them for careers after SCU. Outside of the classroom, our award-winning chemistry club fosters camaraderie among majors and engages students in fun chemistry-themed activities on campus and in the community.

Our faculty work one-on-one with many students in the research laboratory, on such projects as developing organic materials for harvesting solar energy, manipulating chemical reactions with microfluidics, and understanding interactions between nanoparticles and biological molecules. Students routinely present their work at local and national conferences and are co-authors on publications in the chemical literature.


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      Korin Wheeler receives a $374,000 award from the National Institutes of Health

      Korin Wheeler receives a $374,000 award from the National Institutes of Health to support her project entitled "Peptide probes of nanomaterial protein corona dynamics and biological response”.   In addition to new instrumentation, these funds will support at least three undergraduate researchers a year and a post-baccalaureate research assistant in the Wheeler lab through 2019.

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      Amelia Fuller has received a $300,000 award from NSF

      These funds will support her project "RUI:  Synthesis, Structural and Functional Studies of Bioinspired Macrocyclic Oligoamides". This project studies the synthesis and properties of molecules that mimic compounds found in nature. The synthetic methods to make these compounds allow Professor Fuller to easily change structure and chemical composition, ultimately enabling a comparison of these variations on molecular function as potential therapeutics or sensors. The three-dimensional structures of these molecules and their abilities to bind to metal ions will be studied. Experiments will be conducted by undergraduate students in two venues: in Professor Fuller's independent laboratory, and in an introductory undergraduate organic laboratory course and will enhance the scientific training of approximately 50 undergraduate students over the course of the award. 

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      U.S. and Cuba Collaboration

      Professor Amelia Fuller and student Daniel Tiano ('17) recently attended the Ernest Eliel Workshop—U.S. and Cuba Collaboration in Chemistry Education & Neglected Disease Drug Discovery took place at the University of Havana, Cuba, on October 17–21. The workshop was co-sponsored by the American Chemical Society and the Cuban Society for Chemistry and aimed to foster new scientific and cultural collaborations among U.S. and Cuban scientists by building on the Distributed Drug Discovery program implemented at SCU and other universities internationally that links science education to neglected disease drug discovery. Along with other faculty and undergraduate students from two other U.S. universities, Prof. Fuller and Daniel Tiano gave lectures, led hands-on laboratory experiments, and engaged in collaborative research discussions. Read more

    • 2016 Publications

      The department has been very successful in having their research papers published in 2016.  Students in the research laboratories of  Paul Abbyad, Linda Brunauer, Amelia Fuller, Brian McNelis, Grace Stokes, Eric Tillman and Korin Wheeler enjoyed seeing their efforts rewarded and their names appearing in scientific  journals.