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Chemistry - the science of everything

  • Polymer cross-linked aerogels - mechanically strong, lightweight materials. Credit: Nicholas Leventis group

  • Cucurbituril guest - host complexes. Credit: Chariklia Sotiriou group, Nicholas Leventis group

  • Lab on a chip - optical imaging of flows in nanoscale channels (100 nmdeep). Credit: Yinfa Ma group

  • Electrodeposited metal oxides for solar energy and battery applications. Credit: Jay A. Switzer group

  • Semiconductor nanocrystals as photosensitizers. Credit: Jeffrey G. Winiarz group

  • Field test of aircraft emissions. Credit: Philip D. Whitefield group

The Missouri University of Science and Technology was founded in 1870 in Rolla, Mo., as the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy (MSM). Chemistry was one of the first departments, initially named the Department of Chemistry and Metallurgy from 1871-1891, becoming the Department of Chemistry in 1893. The four-campus University of Missouri system was established in 1964 and MSM became the University of Missouri-Rolla. In 2007, recognizing the emphasis on technological research, the name was changed to its current form.

Today the chemistry department has 20 regular research active faculty plus additional lecturers and technical staff. Current student enrollment includes about 120 undergraduate majors and 55 graduate students.  

News in Chemistry:

Photo of Risheng

New Faculty Member: Risheng Wang  

Professor Jay Switzer named AAAS fellow

News Releases

Departmental Seminars


Department Academic Employment Opportunities

Faculty Profiles:

Richard Dawes

Our group is interested in the spectroscopy and dynamics of small molecules relevant to combustion, atmospheric and interstellar chemistry. We are developing methods to construct global potential energy surfaces. In many cases multiple coupled surfaces play an important role in the dynamics.

Calculations of molecular dynamics can be very sensitive to the topography of the surfaces especially at low-temperature. We are exploring high-accuracy multireference electronic structure methods for these applications.

Professor Dawes received a 5-year early career award beginning in 2013 from the DOE through the office of Basic Energy Science.

Nuran Ercal

Depletion of glutathione (GSH) renders cells particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress. The resulting damage is the key step in the onset and progression of many diseases. Our research focusses on studying the therapeutic effect of a novel GSH-prodrug, N-acetylcysteine amide (NACA), in neurotoxicity, diesel exhaust particle (DEP)-induced toxicity, methamphetamine abuse, metal ion toxicity, radiation, medicinal drug-induced toxicity, alcohol overuse, and degenerative eye disorders.

We are currently focusing on the development of NACA eye drops as an alternative to costly surgery for oxidative stress-related eye disorders like cataracts, macular degeneration and other degenerative eye disorders.

We are also developing HPLC techniques for analyzing various thiol-containing compounds in biological samples.


Yinfa Ma

The first branch of my research group focuses on bio-analysis and bio-separations; early cancer detection by using different markers and different techniques is our major focus.  Research is conducted using state-of-art instruments and techniques, such as UPLC-MSn, GC-MS, HPCE-MS, microfluidic and nanofluidic chips, and many others. In addition, single cell sensing and single molecule and single cell imaging technology has been used extensively for biomarker studies. The second branch of our research focuses on emerging environmental contaminants in natural water resources, drinking waters, and other matrices.  Their impact to human health will also be investigated, such as nanotoxicity.


Paul K. Nam

Our group is interested in analytical and environmental chemistry. We use various analytical techniques to investigate environment and find remedies for prospective problems. Our current interdisciplinary collaborative research involves the development of innovative technologies for economical and renewable production of biofuels and other valuable bioproducts from microalgae.

These photosynthetic microorganisms have potential to be a solution to the growing energy and environmental challenges as more efficient and sustainable methods for bioenergy production, carbon dioxide sequestration and wastewater bioremediation.

Honglan Shi

My research group manly focus on development of cutting-edge analytical techniques and methods for environmental and bioanalytical applications as following:

1) Trace emerging pollutants analysis and control in natural and drinking water - water disinfection by-products (DBPs), pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), algal toxins, pesticides, perchlorate, Cr(VI), and more.
2) Development of novel economical and green technologies for water treatment – use agricultural byproducts, such as rice hulls, soybean hulls, and other agricultural wastes to make adsorbents for water treatment.
3) Method development for rapid characterization and quantification of engineered nanomaterials – Novel single nanoparticle (SP)-ICP-MS methods development and screening study in environmental and biological samples.
4) State-of-the-art instrument development and manufacturing - Development of novel multi-functional single cell analyzer and high throughput-multifunctional single nanoparticle analysis system.
5) Bioactive material research –bioactive glass-biofluid-bioorganism interaction study by advance analytical technologies.
6) Advanced test kit developments and manufacturing – Development of plant tissue test kits for assessing environmental and food contaminations, such as explosive compounds, pesticides, and emerging pollutants.

Most of our research projects are using advanced state-of-the-art instrument including ICP-MS equipped with HPLC for speciation, UFLC-MSn, GC-MS, ICP-OES, and more.





Jay A. Switzer

Our group is interested in electrochemistry and inorganic materials chemistry. We use electrochemical deposition to produce epitaxial films and nanostructures of metal oxides. The emphasis in our group is on materials for energy conversion and storage, and on a new type of solid-state memory known as resistance random access memory (RRAM).

We have recently focused our efforts on electrodepositing cobalt oxide catalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction. Our goal is to deposit these catalysts onto n-type semiconductors to produce photoelectrochemical solar cells that use sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas.

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