Creating a community of game-changers


Research is at the center of our department, exhibited not only in our expert faculty but our future expert students.

Faculty research

Analytical chemistry


  • Andrew Koppisch 
  • Narendiran Rajasekaran:  My lab will study the connection between inflammation and cancer to develop novel immunotherapies against cancer. Inflammation is central to our fight against pathogens, but if not under control the resulting chronic inflammation can contribute to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. A link between chronic inflammation and cancer has long been suspected with studies showing that susceptibility to cancer increases when tissues are chronically inflamed and many solid tumors contain immune cells that are important in inflammation. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), have a high risk of death from cancer - at least double the risk of the general population.  My lab will use the K/BxN mice a murine model of rheumatoid arthritis and the mouse models of breast cancer and prostate cancer to study the role chronic inflammation during arthritis on tumor growth, migration and invasion. My lab is particularly interested in studying the role of innate immune players like monocytes in this setting of autoimmunity and cancer. In addition, my lab is interested in studying the interactions of innate immune cells with the Extracellular Matrix (ECM) components in the tumor microenvironment and its effect on their functions. Results from these studies will lead to novel immunotherapies to treat cancer. My lab will use in-vivo mouse models of autoimmunity and cancer, flow cytometry and in-vitro immunological assays.
  • Diane Stearns: Dr. Stearns is interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying how metals cause DNA damage and mutations that may lead to cancer. Stearns Lab website
  • Archana Varadaraj: Molecular biochemistry of cancer.

Dr. Varadaraj's Research
MCF10A mammary epithelial cells immunostained for Fibronectin

Dr. Varadaraj is interested in Fibrillogenesis in renal and cancer cell hypoxia and fibrosis. One area of interest in the lab is to investigate the interplay between Fibronectin (FN) and VHL in hypoxia. The VHL (Von Hippel Lindau) protein is a tumor suppressor that is either mutated or lost in renal cancers. Another area of interest is the investigation of VHL-mediated fibrosis resolution.

Chemical Education

  • Brandon Cruickshank 
  • Jennifer Duis: Dr. Duis is interested in exploring students' understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts and developing valid and reliable tests to assess these understandings. She is also interested in curriculum improvement through systematic development of goals, implementation of research based practices, and assessment of the outcomes from these changes.

Environmental chemistry

Inorganic chemistry

Organic chemistry

  • Cindy Browder: Dr. Browder is interested in new approaches to the preparation of compounds of medicinal interest, and application of organic chemistry to the development of materials for alternate energy systems. Browder Group website
  • Marin Robinson: Dr. Robinson is interested in the composition and transport of atmospheric particulate matter in forest fires and windblown dust.

Physical chemistry

Student research

Ciarra Greene, chemistry major – Ciarra led a three-year research study aiming to alleviate the harmful effects of uranium mines on the nearby Navajo reservation.

Research opportunities

Information coming soon.