Undergraduate Research at IC: Learn by Doing

Student research is a vital part of the undergraduate experience at Ithaca College. Ithaca College Chemistry & Biochemistry majors learn through hands-on laboratory experiences and their research project in a faculty member’s lab. Through this experience, you'll have multiple opportunities to learn how to do science and have access to all the modern instrumentation to make your own meaningful contribution to the field.

Potential research opportunities with our faculty encompass a broad range of chemistry fields, including biochemistry, organic chemistry, theoretical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, environmental chemistry and materials science.  And most importantly, since our focus is solely on undergraduate students, you'll have the chance to be centrally involved in our research activity from the very beginning. 

To get involved in research, students are invited to talk to faculty in person about openings in their research lab. Use the list of example project areas below to sample the possible range of projects. In addition, the Chemistry department will host a mixer in the spring to chat with multiple faculty members. Students will be required to select and participate in one research project for their senior year.

Check out the faculty pages for specifics on our research programs. 

Vincent DeTuriPhysical and Analytical Chemistry

  • Computer modeling of solvent effects on reaction equilibrium
  • Mapping reaction pathways for proton transfer reactions in solution

Jamie Ellis, Biochemistry and Biophysical Chemistry of Proteins

  • Promiscuity versus specificity in protein:protein interactions required for transcription regulation
  • Shining a light on order within disordered proteins

Akiko FillingerAnalytical Chemistry

  • Materials for solar energy utilization - synthesis and characterization of materials that absorb the potential energy of solar photons and catalyze the production of sustainable alternative fuel (such as H2 via water-splitting and alcohols from atmospheric CO2 dissolved in water) and other important chemical reactions.
  • Metal oxides, electrochemistry, and surface chemistry - our main focus is metal oxides, for instance Cu2O and Fe2O3, which can be electrodeposited in our lab.  We pay special attention to the surfaces of the metal oxides, where catalytic activities take place, and examine the properties of the metal oxides using electrochemical methods in our lab and surface chemistry instrumentation at Cornell Center for Materials Research. 

Michael HaafOrganic Chemistry

  • Synthesis of polymeric materials with interesting properties: Porous polymers, Conjugated polymers, and Biodegradable Polymers
  • Development of hands-on experiments for chemistry education
  • Synthetic methodology: Exploring the scope of the benzannulation reaction

Janet HuntingSolid State Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, and Inorganic Chemistry

  • Solid-state synthesis of oxide and nitride materials with interesting properties and applications (fuel cells, superconductors)
  • X-ray Crystallography

Anna Larsen Organometallic and Inorganic Chemistry

  • Low melting ionic salts based with cluster carborane and ortho-carborane anions
  • Transition metal electrophilic complexes with weakly-coordinating carborane anions
  • Synthesis, structural and reactivity studies of rhodium and other transition metal complexes with pincer ligands for organic transformation catalysis (in collaboration with Professor Oleg Ozerov group in Texas A & M)

DJ Robinson, Organic synthesis and Chemical Education

  • Synthesis of biologically active natural products and their analogs
  • Development of undergraduate lab experiments for education

Steve Russo

Scott UlrichBiochemistry and Organic Chemistry

  • Bacterial quorum sensing as an antibacterial strategy
  • Metabolism: either aberrant cancer cell metabolism and ketone body levels for aging-related diseases
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