Research Disciplines

Astrochemistry

Astrochemistry at UVa covers a variety of research topics involving the chemistry that occurs in interstellar clouds of gas and dust

More Info

Astrochemistry

Astrochemistry at UVa covers a variety of research topics involving the chemistry that occurs in interstellar clouds of gas and dust throughout our galaxy and others, and the collapse of portions of these clouds to produce new stars and planets.  The chemistry is studied using large kinetic simulations to determine the concentrations of molecules, many of which are exotic by terrestrial standards, and to compare the results of these simulations with spectroscopic observations of these molecules using radiotelescopes.  Such comparisons yield a better understanding of the physical conditions in clouds, especially the regions that are collapsing to form stars.  Given the extreme conditions in interstellar clouds, the chemical processes that occur there are also often exotic, and these unusual processes, that occur both in the gas and on the surfaces of dust particles, are studied by theoretical methods. By simulating the chemistry that occurs in the interstellar medium over many millions of years and in many different regions, we can trace the progression of molecular complexity in the galaxy, and understand the chemical enrichment of material that will ultimately form stars and planets.  For more information on current research that is underway in the various labs visit their faculty websites below.


Bioanalytical

Bioanalytical chemistry analyzes the molecules that are important to life.  At the University of Virginia, our bioanalytical group has a particular

More Info

Bioanalytical

Bioanalytical chemistry analyzes the molecules that are important to life.  At the University of Virginia, our bioanalytical group has a particular emphasis on designing and using new instrumentation: from electrochemistry to microfluidic devices, separation techniques, mass spectrometry, and high-resolution microscopy.  These new technologies facilitate better chemical measurements in proteomics, forensics, clinical analysis and diagnostics, and live cell and tissue measurements, including microbial communities, the immune system, and the brain.  We combine our chemistry expertise with researchers in the schools of engineering and medicine in order to maximize the societal impact of our research.  For more information on current research that is underway in the various labs visit their faculty websites below.

 

 

 

 


Biophysical Chemistry

Biophysical Chemistry is a highly interdisciplinary branch of science that seeks to elucidate biomolecular mechanisms in terms of the underlying ph

More Info

Biophysical Chemistry

Biophysical Chemistry is a highly interdisciplinary branch of science that seeks to elucidate biomolecular mechanisms in terms of the underlying physicochemical driving forces. This field sits at the junction of many other areas—including structural and computational biology, molecular biophysics, imaging and microscopy methods, and biomolecular spectroscopy. Biophysical chemists develop and apply (i) new measurement technologies (such as super-resolution imaging in live cells), (ii) various formalisms from the physical sciences (such as statistical mechanics), as well as (iii) data analytics and computational modeling tools (such as molecular simulations). Together, these various approaches enable one to develop an integrated understanding of the structural properties, dynamics, and functions of biological molecules in the contexts of their native environments (living cells, tissues, etc.). By its very nature, research in biophysical chemistry is often highly collaborative; this, in turn, enables students to develop expertise in working across boundaries that span conventional disciplines.  For more information on current research that is underway in the various labs visit their faculty websites below.

 

 

 

 


Catalysis and Energy

Catalytic processes are used in approximately 90% of all chemical processes, and catalytic reactions are central to the pharmaceutical, chemical, a

More Info

Catalysis and Energy

Catalytic processes are used in approximately 90% of all chemical processes, and catalytic reactions are central to the pharmaceutical, chemical, and energy sectors. Thus, innovations in catalysis are critical to the preparation of new medicines, conversion of solar energy to chemical fuels, and the development of more environmentally benign methods to produce materials used by modern society. Faculty in the UVa Department of Chemistry are pursuing a broad array of fundamental advancements in the field of catalysis. Research efforts span homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, metal (transition and main group) and organo-catalysis, as well as thermal, photo and electrocatalysis. A primary focus is on the development of new catalytic materials and understanding mechanisms of those catalysts.  For more information on current research that is underway in the various labs visit their faculty websites below.

 

 

 


Chemical Biology

The complexity of biology demands quantitative and molecular solutions that can only be answered by tools and methodologies derived from chemistry,

More Info

Chemical Biology

The complexity of biology demands quantitative and molecular solutions that can only be answered by tools and methodologies derived from chemistry, including chemical proteomics, spectroscopy, single-molecule measurements, and design of molecules and proteins to probe cellular systems. Chemical biology has roots in traditional chemistry and biochemistry while fostering scientific creativity forged from experimentation at the interface of disciplines. As a result, faculty conducting research in chemical biology provide a foundational training environment to encourage students to develop their own ideas and make exciting new discoveries.  For more information on current research underway in the various labs visit their faculty websites below.

 

 


Imaging and Sensing

Research teams in the imaging and sensing area are concerned with developing molecules, materials, analytical methods and instrumentation to detect

More Info

Imaging and Sensing

Research teams in the imaging and sensing area are concerned with developing molecules, materials, analytical methods and instrumentation to detect analytes and probe biological and physical processes. Examples of probe and sensor materials include spin labels and small molecule inhibitors, environment and stimuli-responsive dyes, chiral molecular, supramolecular and polymeric fluorescent sensors, oxygen sensing biomaterials, magnetic and plasmonic nanoparticles, and carbon nanotube electrodes. These materials are used with state-of-the-art technologies based on luminescence, magnetism, electrochemistry, microscopy, and mass spectrometry detection, and microfabrication, bioengineering, and microfluidics methods.  Overall, the development of new sensing and imaging technologies is enabling advances in biology, medicine, forensics, environmental science, and other fields.  For more information on current research underway in the various labs visit their faculty websites below.

 


Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry

Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Virginia explores compounds constructed around central elements beyond carbon.

More Info

Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry

Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Virginia explores compounds constructed around central elements beyond carbon. Using a variety of synthetic, spectroscopic, and computational methods, research groups are studying subjects relevant to inorganic/organometallic, coordination, bioinorganic, supramolecular, and materials chemistry. The main group, transition metal, rare earth, and alkali/alkaline earth compounds are used to study topics ranging from sensing, catalysis/electrocatalysis, nanomaterials, renewable energy, and small molecule activation to photochemistry. For more information  on current research underway in the various labs visit their faculty websites below.

 

 


Nanosciences and Materials

Designing, discovering and synthesizing novel materials through atomic, molecular and nanoscale controls is critical to manipulating and significan

More Info

Nanosciences and Materials

Designing, discovering and synthesizing novel materials through atomic, molecular and nanoscale controls is critical to manipulating and significantly improving materials chemical and physical properties. Nanosciences and Materials group faculty focus on developing innovative synthetic methods, advanced characterization strategies, multi-scale simulations and new device fabrications, to increase the understanding of materials structure-property relationships, uncover nanomaterials emergent phenomena and accelerate materials applications in various fields such as biomedicine, energy conversion and storage, optics, electronics and magnetism.  For more information on current research underway in the various labs visit their faculty websites below.

 

 


Organic Chemistry and Synthesis

Organic compounds are central to biological processes and have many practical applications, including in the pharmaceutical, agriculture, materials

More Info

Organic Chemistry and Synthesis

Organic compounds are central to biological processes and have many practical applications, including in the pharmaceutical, agriculture, materials, and energy industries. The study of Organic Chemistry can enable a greater understanding of the structure, properties, and function of carbon-containing compounds toward the goal of designing next-generation solutions to societal challenges and increasing our knowledge about the chemistry of life. Researchers also seek to develop fundamentally new bond-forming processes and strategies to decrease the cost, time, and environmental impact associated with the synthesis of organic compounds. Faculty at UVa pursue these goals in an interdisciplinary way, interfacing with catalysis, drug discovery, materials chemistry, organometallic chemistry, and chemical biology.  For more information on current research underway in the various labs visit their faculty websites below.

 


Surface Chemistry and Spectroscopy

Surface chemistry focuses on achieving a molecular-level understanding and control of surface chemical reactions that are oftentimes central to the

More Info

Surface Chemistry and Spectroscopy

Surface chemistry focuses on achieving a molecular-level understanding and control of surface chemical reactions that are oftentimes central to the modern technologies that produce chemicals & fuels, semiconductor devices, nanoscale particles & thin films, biomedical devices, immunological therapies, and so on.  Consequently, surface chemistry is a common thread of research interest for many UVa chemistry faculty. Spectroscopy enabling the characterization of molecular identity, concentration, and dynamics is another near-universal interest of our chemistry faculty. Spectroscopy research at UVa ranges from the development of altogether new laser and microwave methods for gas phase molecular spectroscopy, to the application of NMR and ESR spectroscopies to membrane-bound protein characterization in liquids, and the application of the alphabet soup of solid surface spectroscopies (XPS, AES, TDS, RAIRS, STS, etc.).  For more information on current research underway in the various labs visit their faculty websites below.

 


Theory and Computation

Theoretical and computational work at UVa makes use of advanced analytical and numerical tools to investigate phenomena of interest in fields ranging from biology to materials science to astrochemistry. 

More Info

Theory and Computation

Theoretical and computational work at UVa makes use of advanced analytical and numerical tools to investigate phenomena of interest in fields ranging from biology to materials science to astrochemistry. The DuBay Group studies self-organization of nanomaterials in complex environments using numerical approaches including atomistic molecular dynamics simulations and coarse-grained modeling.  The Egorov Group investigates the behaviors of supercritical fluids using classical statistical mechanics, while also working to apply quantum and semi-classical approaches to investigate chemical systems in which many body effects play an important role. The Garrod Group studies the formation of simple and complex organic molecules on the surface of and within astrophysical dust grains and ices. A novel Kinetic Monte Carlo approach is used to simulate surface chemistry taking place on dust grains over interstellar timescales. The Herbst Group is interested in the chemical processes by which molecules in interstellar clouds grow. Numerical approaches are used to simulate these chemical processes in order to predict the actual concentrations of such molecules. The Mura Lab uses computation and experimentation to study the structure and function of RNA- and DNA-based protein assemblies; specifically, bioinformatic approaches are used on evolutionary timescales, and molecular simulations are used to explore detailed mechanistic questions.  Finally, theoretical and computational tools are playing an increasingly significant role in the investigations of many experimental groups in the department, both through collaborations with resident theorists and through group-specific projects that include a significant computational component.  For more information on current research underway in the various labs visit their faculty profiles or websites below.