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Chemistry Research Opportunities


Why would an undergraduate want to do research?

It’s fun! Working on a new project in an area which nobody has explored this way before is intriguing. Sometimes the work doesn’t go smoothly - that can almost be guaranteed. But the sense of accomplishment is well worth the effort. As you are challenged to face problems in new, creative ways, your intellectual abilities are broadened and deepened. By the time you finish you should have a good idea of whether you would like to pursue more research in graduate school and/or as a career. Even if you decide research is not for you, you have had the experience of research which gives you a real sense of what doing science is all about. As to your future career, students who list research experiences (and publications!) on their applications usually have a better success of entering desired programs, such as graduate school in chemistry, and receiving increased support in these programs (graduate fellowships).

What kinds of research exist in chemistry at Briar Cliff?

Dr. Paul Weber's research interests lie in the bioanalytical applications of capillary electrophoresis (CE). CE is a separation technique, with its high resolving power and low sample consumption, has been applied by many researchers to biological samples. Dr. Weber is particulary interested in using CE to study the biological components of the eye. Most recently, he is focusing on the use of CE to detect selectively amino acid metabolites of medical interest with sensitivity. For example, xanthurenic acid can be selectively derivatized and detected by CE with UV-visible detection.

Dr. Ted Bryan, the other member of the department, is an inorganic chemist with research projects which pull from many of the major branches of chemistry. His broad area of research is in ruthenium metal complexes. He is interested in synthesizing and using certain compounds to model the formation of acid rain in the atmosphere.

What kind of financial support is available for student research in the chemistry department?

The Department has the "Kathy Damme Endowment for Student Research," which provides approximately $3,000 for research in chemistry at Briar Cliff. The money is used primarily to provide a stipend to the student for time spent on his/her research activity. For more information, contact the Chemistry Department.