Our Faculty

Arne Gericke

Department Head & Professor

Department Head

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Life Sci. & BioEng Room 3024

Phone: 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. ... View Profile

José M. Argüello


Walter and Miriam Rutman Distinguished Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Gateway Park 4021

Phone: 508-831-5371, 508-831-5326, 508-831-4113

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

Associate Teaching Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Goddard Hall 103D

Phone: 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

Associate Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Gateway Park 3023

Phone: 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


Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Office of the Provost

Office: Provost Office, Boynton Hall

Bruce Bursten was born in Chicago and raised in Milwaukee. He received his SB in chemistry with honors from the University of Chicago in 1974, and his PhD in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1978 under the direction of the late Professor Richard F. Fenske. He was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Texas A&M University from 1978 to 1980, conducting research with the late Professor F. Albert Cotton. He joined the faculty of The Ohio State University in 1980 as an assistant professor of chemistry; in 1997 he was named Distinguished University Professor. ... View Profile

Amalene Cooper-Morgan

Assistant Teaching Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: GH 103A

Phone: 508-831-5405

I do my best not to treat my students as apprentices when I teach; I assume they know something about the topic; and are willing to learn more.  This strategy permits those with prior experience to expand upon their knowledge base; and for beginners to feel comfortable in the classroom.  Most classrooms provide a mixed audience, with students who may require some expanded learning curves than others.  My teaching methodology promotes:  a sense of discovery; and implements problem-based learning activities that are more interactive and less instructor-based.  I love teaching; because it allo ... View Profile

Robert E. Dempski

Associate Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Gateway Park 3005

Phone: 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


Associate Head

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Gateway Park 3021

Phone: 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

Marion H Emmert

Assistant Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Gateway Park 3004

Phone: 508-831-4115

When I graduated high school, I had no idea that I would be a chemist. After my decision to not become a piano player, I planned on graduating with a degree in biotechnology. But soon, I realized that I was fascinated by the combination of thinking and experimenting that is a chemist's daily task. My group explores challenges in the area of organometallic catalysis and recycling with the goal to make chemical processes more efficient. ... View Profile

Ron Grimm

Assistant Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: 3027 Life Science and Bioengineering Center

Phone: 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

Associate Teaching Professor

UMass MQP Project Center Director

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Goddard Hall 103B

Phone: 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

Associate Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Gateway Park 4019

Phone: 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

Associate Teaching Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: 103C Goddard Hall

Phone: 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

Bioengineering Institute

Office: Gateway Park 3001

Phone: 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

Associate Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Gateway Park 3022

Phone: 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

Associate Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: 3003 Gateway

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

Assistant Professor

Leonard P Kinnicutt Assistant Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Gateway Park, 4038

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

Whitcomb Professor

Whitcomb Chair

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Office: Gateway Park 3001

Phone: 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 behvaior, 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

Associate Deanof UG Studies

Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Office of the Provost

Office: Rubin Campus Center, Room 234

Phone: 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

Our Staff


Rebecca Evanoff

Administrative Assistant V

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Phone: 508-831-4913

Cynthia J. Hollifield

Cynthia Hollifield

Administrative Assistant VI

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Phone: 508-831-5371

Ann Mondor

Ann Mondor

Administrative Assistant VI

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Phone: 508-831-4113

Paula Moravek

Paula Moravek

Operations Manager

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Phone: 508-831-5401

Associated Faculty

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Adjunct Teaching Professor




Adjunct Teaching Professor