The ability to do cutting edge research, side by side with faculty, is one of the greatest benefits of a science education at a liberal arts college. At no other type of college is the sole focus of the research program on undergraduates.

At Siena, we place a strong emphasis on undergraduate research. All Chemistry and Biochemistry majors spend at least one semester doing independent study research, although many choose to spend several semesters and summers in the lab.

All full-time Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty have active research programs focusing on undergraduate researchers. Our research interests span numerous fields from materials development to protein expression and enzyme kinetics.

Stephen Deyrup, Ph.D., ASSOCIATE Professor (natural products chemistry & chemical ecology)

Discovering bioactive molecules from insects, plants, and

 fungi through advanced NMR and MS techniques.

Jason Hofstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor (thermodynamics, spectroscopy, lab development)

Design of pulsed dye lasers, spectroscopy, free-energy relationships, hydrogen bonding of substituted alcohols, general/analytical/physical chemistry laboratory development.

Thomas Hughes, Ph.D., Associate Professor (organic materials/physical organic chemistry)

Organic synthesis of novel carbon-rich molecules for use in organic light-emitting diodes, organic photovoltaic cells, and shape-persistent macrocycles.

Jesse Karr, Ph.D., ASSOCIATE Professor (bioinorganic/biophysical chemistry)

Metals in biology with a focus on disease-related roles, structure-function correlations, and biophysical characterization of metal binding proteins.

Erin Kolonko, Ph.D., ASSOCIATE Professor (protein biochemistry/bioorganic chemistry)

Protein expression and purification, investigation of histone methyltransferases using biochemical techniques, enzyme kinetics.

Kate Leamy, PH.D., Assistant PROFESSOR (Biochemistry)

Investigating the adaptation, structure, and function of conserved RNAs in bacteria and archaea

Daniel Moriarty, Ph.D., Associate Professor anD Director, Center for Undergraduate research and creative activity (biophysical chemistry)

Isolation and characterization of antibacterial molecules, protein folding, amyloid formation.

Jodi O’Donnell, Ph.D., Professor (materials inorganic chemistry)

Liquid crystalline porphyrins, developing STEM students’ critical thinking skills through integrated communications assignments.

Kevin Rhoads, Ph.D., Associate Professor (atmospheric/environmental chemistry)

Geochemical cycles of anthropogenic substances, environmental chemistry, and the development of reliable analytical methods for use in the field.

W. Ruchira Silva, PH.D., Teaching ASSistant PROFESSOR (Physical and Analytical Chemistry)

We investigate fundamental and applied issues in renewable energy sources using spectroscopic and microscopic techniques.

Lucas Tucker, Ph.D., ASSOCIATE Professor and Department Chair (organic chemistry)

Synthesis and characterization of liquid crystalline materials for use as sensors. Green methodologies for synthesis of polymers and nanomaterials. Development of pedagogy to improve student outcomes.

Representative Faculty publications 

  • Dorfner, A. L.; Locoteta, D. P.; Messinger, C. D.; Ramsey, M. R.; Kim, N. Y.; Sadzaglishvili, E.; Kranick, J. C.; Kuehner, J. S.; Timony, C. J.; Langton, M.; Winklarek, J. E.; Tucker, L. J.; O’Donnell, J. L. Non-Isothermal Cold Crystallization of Liquid Crystalline Porphyrins. Soft Matter 2023, 19 (33), 6414–6422.
  • Martin, E. M.; Tucker, L. J. Teaching Self-Care in the Organic Chemistry Classroom. Chem. Educ. 2023, 28, 83–86. 
  • Leighton, R. E.; Alperstein, A. M.; Punihaole, D.; Silva, W. R.; Frontiera, R. R. Stimulated Raman versus Inverse Raman: Investigating Depletion Mechanisms for Super-Resolution Raman Microscopy. J. Phys. Chem. B 2023, 127 (1), 26–36.
  • Fodor, M. D.; Hughes, T. S. A Simple Lattice Projection Method for Estimating Conformer Strain Energies Using Diamond or Lonsdaleite Lattices to Identify Atomistic Steric Interactions and Dihedral Strain. J. Phys. Org. Chem. 2022, 35 (11), e4396. 
  • Silva, W. R.; Fitian, M.; Yang, D.-S. Probing La and Ce Excited-State Reactivity with Resonant Two-Photon Ionization Spectroscopy. J. Phys. Chem. A 2022, 126 (42), 7613–7620.
  • Mustafa, R.; Fitian, M.; Hamilton, N. B.; Li, J.; Silva, W. R.; Punihaole, D. Molecular Insights into the Binding of Linear Polyethylenimines and Single-Stranded DNA Using Raman Spectroscopy: A Quantitative Approach. J. Phys. Chem. B 2022, 126 (42), 8404–8414.
  • Lee, C.; Bang, S.; Gong, J.; Kim, J.; Ko, H.; An, S.; Noh, M.; Shim, S. H.; Deyrup, S. T. Adiponectin-Secretion-Promoting Cyclic Peptide-Polyketide Hybrids from a Halophyte-Associated Fungus, Colletotrichum Gloeosporioides JS0417. J. Nat. Prod. 2022, 85 (3), 501–510.
  • Bang, S.; Oh, J.; Kim, J.; Shim, S. H.; Kim, J.-S.; Yu, S.-R.; Bahn, Y.-S.; Deyrup, S. Rare β-Resorcylic Acid Derivatives from a Halophyte-Associated Fungus Colletotrichum Gloeosporioides JS0419 and Their Antifungal Activities. Mar. Drugs 2022, 20 (3).
  • Xu, X.-Y.; Wang, D.-Y.; Zhang, H.-J.; Xu, X.-Y.; Wang, D.-Y.; Li, Y.-P.; Deyrup, S. T. Plant-Derived Lignans as Potential Antiviral Agents: A Systematic Review. Phytochem. Rev. 2022, 21 (1), 239–289.
  • Bang, S.; Baek, J. Y.; Kang, K. S.; Kim, G. J.; Choi, H.; Kim, J.; Kim, S.; Shim, S. H.; Deyrup, S. T. Azaphilones from an Endophytic Penicillium Sp. Prevent Neuronal Cell Death via Inhibition of MAPKs and Reduction of Bax/Bcl-2 Ratio. J. Nat. Prod. 2021, 84 (8), 2226–2237.
  • Joo, H.S.; Deyrup, S.T.; Shim, S.H. Endophyte-produced antimicrobials: a review of potential lead compounds with a focus on quorum-sensing disruptors. Phytochem. Rev. 2021, 20(3), 543-568.

  • Deyrup, S. T.; Stagnitti, N. C.; Perpetua, M. J.; Wong-Deyrup, S. W. Drug Discovery Insights from Medicinal Beetles in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Biomol. Ther. (Seoul). 2021, 29 (2), 105–126.
  • Graefe, C. T.; Punihaole, D.; Lynch, M. J.; Silva, W. R.; Frontiera, R. R. Stimulated Raman Imaging below the Diffraction Limit with a MHz Laser. J. Raman Spectrosc. 2021, 52 (2), 404–411. 
  • Wong-Deyrup, S. W.; Ng, T.-W.; Song, X.; Liu, X.-B.; Zeng, J.-G.; Qing, Z.-X.; Deyrup, S. T.; He, Z.-D.; Zhang, H.-J. Plant-Derived Isoquinoline Alkaloids That Target Ergosterol Biosynthesis Discovered by Using a Novel Antifungal Screening Tool. Biomed. Pharmacother. 2021, 137, 111348.
  • Scruggs, A.; Leamy, K. A.; Cravens, S.; Siegel, S. Adapting a biochemistry lab course for distance-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. J. Chem. Ed., 2020, 97(9), 2981–2986.
  • Li, Q.-J.; Zhang, J.-J.; Zhao, C.-L.; Ku, C. F.; Zhu, Y.; Zhu, X.-J.; Deyrup, S. T.; Pan, L.-T.; Zhang, H.-J. Two New Bioactive Diterpenes Identified from Isodon Interruptus. Bioorg. Chem. 2020, 95, 103512.
  • Kim, J. W.; Kwon, Y.; Bang, S.; Shim, S. H.; Kwon, H. E.; Park, S.; Song, G.; Lee, D.; Lee, Y.; Joo, H.-S.; Deyrup, S. T. Unusual Bridged Angucyclinones and Potent Anticancer Compounds from Streptomyces Bulli GJA1. Org. Biomol. Chem. 2020, 18 (41), 8443–8449.
  • Bang, S.; Lee, C.; Shim, S. H.; Kim, S.; Song, J. H.; Kang, K. S.; Deyrup, S. T.; Nam, S.-J.; Xia, X. Neuroprotective Glycosylated Cyclic Lipodepsipeptides, Colletotrichamides A-E, from a Halophyte-Associated Fungus, Colletotrichum Gloeosporioides JS419. J. Org. Chem. 2019, 84 (17), 10999–11006.
  • Leamy, K. A.; Yamagami, R.; Yennawar, N. H.; Bevilacqua, P. C.  Single-nucleotide control of tRNA folding cooperativity under near-cellular conditions, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 116, 2019, 23075-23082.
  • Kolonko, E. M.; Kolonko, K. J. Introducing NMR Spectroscopy Using Guided Inquiry and Partial Structure Templating. J. Chem. Educ. 2019, 96 (5), 912–919.
  • O’Donnell, J. L.; Karr, J. W.; Lipinski, B. M.; Frederickson, D. Developing Undergraduate Students’ Critical Thinking Skills in a Chemical Communications Course and Beyond; 2019; Vol. 1327.
  • Cassabaum, A. A.; Silva, W. R.; Rich, C. C.; Frontiera, R. R. Orientation and Polarization Dependence of Ground- and Excited-State FSRS in Crystalline Betaine-30. J. Phys. Chem. C 2019, 123 (20), 12563–12572.
  • Lutjen, A. B.; Quirk, M. A.; Barbera, A. M.; Kolonko, E. M. Synthesis of (E)-Cinnamyl Ester Derivatives via a Greener Steglich Esterification. Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2018, 26 (19), 5291–5298.
  • Lutjen, A. B.; Quirk, M. A.; Kolonko, E. M. Synthesis of Esters via a Greener Steglich Esterification in Acetonitrile. J. Vis. Exp. 2018, No. 140, e58803/1-e58803/9.
  • Smedley, S. R.; Risteen, R. G.; Tonyai, K. K.; Pitino, J. C.; Hu, Y.; Ahmed, Z. B.; Christofel, B. T.; Gaber, M.; Howells, N. R.; Mosey, C. F.; Rahim, F. U.; Deyrup, S. T. Bufadienolides (Lucibufagins) from an Ecologically Aberrant Firefly (Ellychnia corrusca). Chemoecology 2017, 27, 141-153.
  • Deyrup, S. T.; Risteen, R. G.; Tonyai, K. K.; Farrar, M. A.; D’Antonio, B. E.; Ahmed, Z. B.; Christofel, B. T.; Howells, N. R.; Smedley, S. R. Escape into Winter: Could a Phenological Shift by a Firefly (Ellychnia corrusca) Shield it from a Specialist Predator (Photuris sp.)? Northeastern Naturalist 2017, 24, B147-B166.
  • Medsker, L., Allard, L., Tucker, L. J., O’Donnell, J. L., Sterne-Marr, R., Bannon, J., Finn, R., & Weatherwax, A. T.  Impact of the Siena College Tech Valley Scholars Program on Student Outcomes. J. STEM Ed. 2016, 17(1), 5-14.

  • Talone, C. J.; Gao, J.; Lynch, J. R.; Tanu, R. M.; Deyrup, S. T. Determination of the Ground- and Excited-State Dipole Moments of Bromocresol Purple in Protic and Aprotic Solvents. Spectrochim. Acta, Part A Mol. Biomol. Spectrosc. 2016, 156, 138–142.