Faculty Research

Our faculty members take pride in the high quality of our program. They work closely with students in teaching and research laboratories. We strongly encourage our undergraduate students to participate in research with faculty members as early as the summer of their freshmen year. Research opportunities in the department are available for chemistry majors and minor.

Remi Oki Remi Oki , the department head, Dr. Oki’s research deals with fabrication of nanocomposite inorganic based materials that has significance potential applications in biomedical application especially for organ repair and treatment. Specifically,our research is focused on two primary area; Inorganic materials for bone repair and bone tissue engineering. In this area, we have concentrated on Bioglass composites and nanocomposites based on nano-apatite. The current area of interest is the fabrication of composite materials that will have the potential to locate cancer cells selectively, thermally ablate cancer cells when exposed to light in the Near Infra-red region. In this respect, we are fabricating CuS nanorods of varying aspect ratio to enhance photo-thermal conversion efficiency, when coupled with nanographene functionalized with the target driver
Ananda Amarasekara Ananda Amarasekara
We are currently studying the dissolution and hydrolysis of cellulose and lignocellulosic biomass using Brönsted acid ionic liquids for the production of ethanol from non-food biomass resources. Metal ion catalyzed degradation of cellulose is another area of interest, and this involves the use of metal catalysts for hydrolysis of cellulose and selective dehydration to produce furan derivatives such as furfural and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural, which are sustainable monomers for the polymer industry. Furthermore, we are investigating the synthesis of next generation biodegradable polymeric materials from these renewable resources based furan derivatives.
Gina Chiarella Gina Chiarella
Gina’s research is focused on preparation, characterization of transition metal complexes analogous to biological catalyst (enzymes), and their potential application in industrial processes.
Vassant Doctor Vassant Doctor
Dr. Doctor’s research group has recently prepared some highly active compounds from naturally sulfated polysaccharides by oversulfation, which are effective as anticoagulants and in enhancing the fibrinolytic process. These are being tested in vitro systems under physiological conditions using purified human blood proteins such as thrombin and plasminogen. The results are evaluated by comparing these with heparin, highly sulfated naturally occurring polysaccharide, which is widely used for treatment of cardiovascular problems.
Hua-Jun Fan Hua-Jun Fan
Dr. Fan’s research interests focus on applying computational chemistry method on understanding the fundamentals of chemical reactions and mechanisms. His research activities generally fall on (1) molecular model on protein and enzyme molecules, (2) reaction mechanism of organometallic and inorganic complexes, (3) Investigate the structure and electronic effects on explosive detection by modeling the terahertz spectra, particularly using the amplifying fluorescence polymer in detecting explosive materials, (4) Molecular simulation of peptides binding modes onto silica, (5) Study the electronic structure differences of various nanocomposite materials with the first principle approach, mainly the VASP software, (6) Design and identify the C-H bond activation catalysts through the reaction mechanism, kinetics and activation barrier investigation (7) Using computational modeling tools to investigate the kinetics and mechanisms of photocatalytic activities of hybrid metal-semiconductor heterostructures in order to improve the solar energy conversion
Max Fontus Max Winshell A. Fontus‘s research focuses on using physical and chemical principles for the development of theoretical and computational model. I am particularly interested in the establishment of electrophysiological/metabolomic modeling as a self-consistent and calibration-free entity able to further the understanding of the structure and dynamics of physical and biological complexes.
I am also interested in the evolution of physical laws and principles from the complex and intricate interactions of atomic scale and nanoscale entities.
I am invested in designing and implementing a stand-alone computer simulation for a microbial fuel cell, which should help in the methodic and strategic advancement of this technology as a viable and sustainable source of alternative energy.
Finally, I am involved in STEM education from the K-12 levels and I have teamed up with some Education colleagues in a concerted effort to reduce the persistent STEM achievement gap in our K-12 schools between those from historically underprivileged and underrepresented groups, i.e. our Black and Brown students, and those from White and Asian groups. .
Yingchun Li Yingchun Li
My research Interest falls into the research field of bioorganic chemistry. It is generally summarized as the following. 1) Design synthesis and characterization of compounds as substrates or inhibitors of enzymes in the effort to find the exact function of some enzyme of unknown functions in some organisms and also of enzymes of medicinal interest.
2) Development of green method using an enzyme as a catalyst for organic conversions that can lead to precursors with various applications.
3) Design and synthesis of organic compounds that can mimic the function of enzymes as catalysts for organic reactions. 4) Explore new methods for either organic or organometallic chemistry based on mechanism predictions. Extensive organic synthesis, biological and enzymatic assay are involved in the research. Preparation and characterization of organic compounds are performed routinely in the research
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Hylton McWhinney is interested in surface and interfacial characterizations as it relates to Environmental waste treatment, waste management and waste restoration, sensing and detection of toxic gases and hazardous bio-materials.
Nathaniel Soboyejo Nathaniel Soboyejo
John Williams John Williams is interested on computational chemistry and in the general application of technology in chemical research and teaching.

In addition, chemistry research opportunities and internships, and coops are also available to our majors outside PVAMU. For more information, contact any member of our faculty and visit the ACS site www.acs.org

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