Jr. Faculty Focus: Scott Ulrich

Scott Ulrich, assistant professor of chemistry, began teaching at the College five years ago. He serves on the premedical advising committee and was recently the lead author on the department’s successful NSF grant to purchase a magnetic resonance instrument.

As a scientist, what has your experience been at Ithaca College?
It’s a great balance of being a small enough place that you get to know lots of people (and I can honestly say that I really like everyone I work with), but it’s big enough to support its science programs. We have the necessary budget and infrastructure in the sciences to do our research.

How would you explain what you do in the lab to someone who knows nothing about chemistry?
In chemistry we are making molecules that never existed before in the whole history of the universe. I want to make a molecule that could potentially help people. So, for instance, a biologist figures out how an organism works by breaking pieces of it and seeing how it doesn’t function anymore. I’m working on molecules that biologists could use to do those experiments.

What are some of the possibilities for these molecules?
It’s been established that bacteria such as Salmonella use signals to communicate. If we can stop the signaling process, then we can stop virulence. We know it works in the test tube, and we’ll see what comes of that with actual bacteria.