Our Faculty

Arne Gericke

Arne Gericke

Department Head and Professor
Department Head
Office: Life Sci. & BioEng Room 3024
Phone: +1-508-831-5263
received my undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Hamburg (Germany). My doctoral thesis was concerned with the development of infrared reflection-absorption spectroscopy for monolayers at the air/water interface. I came to the United States in 1994 as a postdoctoral student to join the research group of Professor Richard Mendelsohn at Rutgers University. During that time I conducted biomedical research directed at the biophysical characterization of lung surfactant proteins, bone tissue, and lipid/protein interactions. ... View Profile
José M. Argüello

José M. Argüello

Professor
Walter and Miriam Rutman Distinguished Professor
Office: Gateway Park 4021
Phone: +1-508-831-5326, +1-508-831-4113, +1-508-831-5371
Micronutrient transition metals (copper, zinc, cobalt, nickel, iron, and manganese) play a central role in the interaction of pathogenic (and beneficial) bacteria with higher eukaryote hosts. Our research is directed to understand the bacterial mechanisms of metal homeostasis required for these interactions. In particular, we focus on the functions of transmembrane transporters and chaperone molecules that tightly control metal uptake and distribution. ... View Profile
Drew R Brodeur

Drew R Brodeur

Associate Teaching Professor
Office: Goddard Hall 103D
Phone: +1-508-831-4195
I enjoy teaching because it's a fantastic feeling to be able to share knowledge and lead students to that "aha!" moment as they learn the intricacies of our world. Nothing is more satisfying than hearing someone exclaim that they "finally get it!" Also, teaching is an excellent way to learn more about yourself and the subject you teach, since there are so many individuals involved in the process who all bring their unique perspectives and insight to the table. WPI students are in a league of their own in terms of preparation and desire to learn. ... View Profile
Shawn C Burdette

Shawn C Burdette

Associate Professor
Office: Gateway Park 3023
Phone: +1-508-831-5224
Chemistry research in the Burdette group occurs at the interface of synthesis, metal ion homeostasis & signaling, cell biology and photochemistry. The group is developing molecular tools that will facilitate efforts to map cellular metal ion signaling pathways, and understand the pathologies of neurodegenerative diseases. Of particular interest is the development of photocaged complexes that are capable of releasing zinc in a light-dependent manner in biological systems. These tools are designed and synthesized to optimize the temporal and spatial control of zinc release. ... View Profile
Bruce Bursten

Bruce Bursten

Professor-Chemistry
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Office: 100 Institute RD
Phone: 508-831-5222
As provost of WPI, a position he’s held since 2015, Bruce Bursten is responsible for the university’s academic and research programs. He oversees the quality of teaching, scholarship, and research, working with the university’s deans and professional staff to assure the continued excellence of WPI’s programs. In addition to his duties as provost and senior vice president, he teaches chemistry and biochemistry at WPI. He is the author or co-author of more than 160 research papers, and has presented over 200 research seminars at universities, labs, and companies. ... View Profile
Robert E. Dempski

Robert E. Dempski

Associate Professor
Office: Gateway Park 3005
Phone: +1-508-831-4193
Our research focus is to combine biochemical and biophysical techniques to investigate the structure and function of two classes of membrane proteins. In the first instance, we are investigating the mechanism of a zinc transporter, hZIP4. This protein has been implicated in the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer. Despite the central role of this protein in cellular homeostasis, the mechanism of cation transport is not well understood. Secondly, we have been investigating the molecular determinants that help to define the functionality of opsin proteins. View Profile
James P. Dittami

James P. Dittami

Professor
Associate Head
Office: Gateway Park 3021
Phone: +1-508-831-5149
Prior to joining the faculty of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), I received a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry under Arthur G. Schultz at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and did postdoctoral studies with E.J. Corey at Harvard University. I served as Head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at WPI from 1995-2005. The focus of my research has been the development of new synthetic methods, synthesis of natural products and design and synthesis of therapeutically active analogs. ... View Profile
Ron Grimm

Ron Grimm

Assistant Professor
Office: 3027 Life Science and Bioengineering Center, 60 Prescott Street
Phone: +1-508-831-4165
What makes a particular material efficient at converting sunlight to electrical or chemical energy? Conversely, what makes a material a poor energy converter? The Grimmgroup is motivated by quantifying and controlling the bulk and surface properties of solar energy conversion materials. As a research group in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, we seek an atom- and bond-level understanding of material properties. View Profile
Destin Heilman

Destin Heilman

Associate Teaching Professor
UMass MQP Project Center Director
Office: Goddard Hall 103B
Phone: +1-508-831-5396
One of the most fulfilling things a teacher can experience is a transfer of one's excitement and passion for a topic to a student. That obvious impact is one of the many reasons that I very much enjoy teaching. At WPI, the seven-week terms keep things changing and allow me to interact with many students throughout the year. The balance between lecture and lab in the WPI curriculum allows me to cater the theoretical concepts that I present, such that the laboratories are a natural extension of what we've covered. The students at WPI are fantastic. ... View Profile
George A. Kaminski

George A. Kaminski

Associate Professor
Office: Gateway Park 4019
Phone: +1-508-831-4160
I am a computational physical chemist. My research is in the areas of force field building and applications. Special attention is given to creating polarizable force fields for organic and biophysical systems, including proteins and protein-ligand complexes. I teach classes in physical, computational and general chemistry. Simulations of proteins is very important in biomedical research because proteins play crucial role in a large number of biological phenomena, both benign and harmful. ... View Profile
Uma T. Kumar

Uma T. Kumar

Associate Teaching Professor
Chemistry
Office: 103C Goddard Hall
Phone: +1-508-831-5374
I enjoy teaching and interacting with the students especially in the lab when I have a chance to get to know the students and the way they think . It is particularly rewarding to me when I see the expression on their faces when they finally understand a difficult concept. View Profile

Christopher R. Lambert

Associate Teaching Professor
Chemistry
Office: Goddard Hall 128
Phone: +1-508-831-5443
Christopher R. Lambert, Ph.D. is a Research Associate Professor with appointments both in the Bioengineering Institute and the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. He is the Associate Director of the WPI Bioengineering Institute. He is co-founder of Active Surface Technologies a research company dedicated to the development of specialized molecular films. Professor Lambert earned a Ph.D. from the University of Paisley in Scotland, and spent two years in a post-doctoral position at the Center for Fast Kinetics in Austin, Texas. ... View Profile
John C. MacDonald

John C. MacDonald

Associate Professor
Chemistry
Office: Gateway Park 3022
Phone: +1-508-831-5240
The hallmark of supramolecular chemistry is the design of molecular materials and structures that exhibit useful properties resulting from the collective interaction of different molecular components. Our research focuses on understanding molecular interaction and self-assembly in solution and on surfaces in order to control molecular crystallization and assembly of complex multicomponent systems. ... View Profile
Anita Elaine Mattson

Anita Elaine Mattson

Associate Professor
Chemistry
Office: 100 Institute RD
Phone: 508-831-6861
Research in the Mattson Group is a combination of catalyst design, methodology development, and complex molecule synthesis. Our catalyst design program is focused on the synthesis and study of new families of non-covalent catalysts, including boronate ureas and silanediols, that are able to promote new reactivity patterns. The catalyst design and associated reaction development programs are currently geared toward the synthesis of enantioenriched nitrogen and oxygen heterocycles that frequently appear in naturally occurring bioactive compounds. ... View Profile
Carissa Perez Olsen

Carissa Perez Olsen

Assistant Professor
Leonard P Kinnicutt Assistant Professor
Office: Gateway Park, 3017
Phone: 508-831-6359
Membranes are composed of hundreds of distinct kinds of phospholipids, and the types of lipids that are found within a membrane bilayer impact its biophysical properties including its fluidity, permeability and susceptibility to damage. Our primary interest is in understanding the mechanisms that control the phospholipid composition and that preserve the membrane over time. We use stable isotope tracing strategies and mass spectrometry to quantify phospholipid abundance and dynamics in the model organism, C. elegans. View Profile
Suzanne Frances Scarlata

Suzanne Frances Scarlata

Professor
Whitcomb Chair
Chemistry
Office: Gateway Park 3001
Phone: +1-508-831-6803
We are interested in learning how small molecules in the blood stream can cause cells to react in specific ways, such as growing, dividing or migrating. While there are many agents that can stimulate or inhibit cell behavior, we are most interested in the ability of certain hormones and neurotransmitters to activate a family of proteins called "G Proteins". G proteins can simulate an enzyme called phospholipase Cbeta (PLCbeta). Activation of PLCbeta raises the level of calcium in the cell, which changes the activity of many other proteins. ... View Profile
Kristin K. Wobbe

Kristin K. Wobbe

Associate Dean of UG Studies
Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Office: Rubin Campus Center, Room 234
Phone: +1-508-831-5375
I love working with our first-year students in the Great Problems Seminars. Helping students with their first big WPI project is enormously fun, and I learn something new all the time. These courses not only give our students a head start on their major projects, they also can provide a passion and a career path. Watching that develop is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had as a teacher. View Profile

Affiliated Faculty

N Aaron Deskins

N Aaron Deskins

Associate Professor
Office: Goddard Hall 119
Phone: +1-508-831-5445
Students here at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have a lot of enthusiasm and ambition, and it certainly is contagious. Teaching brings a lot of joy because of this, and I find myself often trying just to keep up with the students! WPI is also a place where you have a chance to collaborate with people of many different backgrounds and technical interests. This is exciting. For my research, I work in the area of molecular modeling: trying to understand and solve energy and environmental problems using high-powered computer simulations. ... View Profile

Eukaryotic cells such as yeast, plants, and humans use conserved pathways to direct small membrane-bound vesicles containing specific cargo to discrete subcellular compartments and to the plasma membrane for secretion. Proper navigation of these vesicles through the dense cytosol of the cell is crucial for normal growth, maintenance of cellular integrity, organelle biogenesis, and intercellular signaling events, such as release of hormones, cytokines and neurotransmitters. Disruption of these trafficking pathways has been implicated in a variety of humans diseases, including immune disorders, cancer, diabetes, ciliopathies, and viral and bacterial pathogenesis. Our lab at UMass Medical School (https://umassmed.edu/munsonlab/)  is interested in elucidating the mechanistic details of vesicle delivery to better understand how specificity is maintained in complicated cellular environments, and how errors in trafficking can give rise to disease phenotypes. 

Our Staff

Rebecca Evanoff

Rebecca Evanoff

Administrative Assistant V
Phone: 508-831-4913
Cynthia Hollifield

Cynthia Hollifield

Administrative Assistant VI
Phone: 508-831-5371
Ann Mondor

Ann Mondor

Administrative Assistant VI
Phone: 508-831-4113
Paula Moravek

Paula Moravek

Operations Manager
Phone: 508-831-5401

Associated Faculty

First Name Last Name Title Email
Ivan Mardilovich Assistant Teaching Professor ivanpm@wpi.edu