Douglas Raynie, Department Head
Jihong Cole-Dai, Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Avera Health and Science Center 131, Box 2202
The Department’s chemistry faculty research programs fall into the thematic focus areas of environmental chemistry and green chemistry, chemical sensor development, organic synthesis, materials chemistry, natural products chemistry, and chemical education. Within these multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary focus areas, students can select research projects that involve the traditional subdisciplines of chemistry – analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic and physical. Currently active research projects in the Department focus on various aspects of analytical chemistry, drug discover and delivery, synthesis or photoactive materials including polymers, materials chemistry and self assembly, chromatography, the chemistry of cell membranes, environmental and green chemistry, chemistry of climate change, photo-physical chemistry, natural products synthesis, biophysical chemistry, computational chemistry, and solid-state NMR. For additional information about these options review the descriptions of current faculty research interests on the Department website.
In addition to a traditional thesis-based (Option A) M.S. degree, the Department also offers a predominantly on-line M.S. in chemistry in chemical education. This is a non-thesis (Option B) degree that focuses on the content necessary for practicing high school teachers to achieve highly qualified status. Admission in this program is limited to practicing high school science teachers, students interested in the thesis-based M.S. degree in chemical education should specify this on the application for admission.
The Department is equipped with modern instrumentation core facilities to support its research program. These facilities are readily available to graduate students for “hands-on” experience after successfully completing a short training course.
- NMR core facility includes 600, 400, and 200 MHz solution FT-NMR spectrometers and 400, 300, 100 MHz wide-bore solid-state NMR spectrometers.
- Core campus mass spectrometry facility consists of a 7T ESI FTMS; a high-resolution magnetic sector mass spectrometer with EI and CI sources and GC, HPLC, pyrolysis and fast-atom bombardment capabilities; a MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer; a Eksigent/Thermo LTQ ESI LC-MS/SM dedicated to “bottom-up” proteomics studies; an Applied Biosystems SCIEX QTRAP ESI LC-MS/MS dedicated to small molecule and metablomics characterizations; and a Varian GCMS.
- Core campus proteomics facility has all the necessary equipment to prepare samples for mass-spectrometry-based proteomics characterizations.
- Optical Spectroscopy lab containing 2 FT-IR spectrometer with far-IR capabilities; time-resolved spectrofluorometer; atomic absorption; and diode-array UV-Vis spectrophotometers.
- The Department is home to multiple state of the art fluorescence microscopes for the analysis of biochemical reactions involving purified molecules and within living cells. These instruments including spinning disk confocal microscopy, total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, targeted photo-bleaching, instrumentation of for ensemble and single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) experiments and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, and optogenetics capabilities. The department also houses cell/tissue culture facilities, large- and small-scale protein purification equipment and biophysical characterization capabilities including an isothermal titration calorimetry. Campus computer facilities (including a Beowulf supercomputer cluster) are readily available. Individual groups maintain their own system for molecular modeling, word processing or data manipulation. Direct, on-line computer access to chemical and biochemical literature databases such as Chemical Abstracts and Web of Science are provided by the Department.
- In addition to these departmental resources, individual research groups also maintained instrumentation including supercritical fluid chromatography and extraction, differential scanning calorimetry, and laser light scattering. Campus super-computer facilities and on-line computer access to Web of Science, Chemical Abstracts Services and other on-line information sources are readily available.
Course Delivery Format
Courses offered in the M.S. Chemistry curriculum are taught in a variety of formats which address student learning outcomes. Didactic (lecture) methods ensure the development of advanced knowledge of chemistry. Practical (laboratory) methods ensure the development and maturation of laboratory skills and training and these opportunities are developed in the research laboratory. A combination of didactic and practical methods ensures the successful completion of the graduate thesis research project.
Facilities and Services
The Department is housed in the newly constructed Avera Health and Science Center, which provides 100,000 sq. ft. of research and instructional space.