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Undergraduate Student Research

Why research?

The bedrock of science is experimentation and observation. Research cannot be taught; it must be done. Undergraduate student research is an important link between the classroom and graduate school research and is a key ingredient in the training of scientists.

Undergraduate student research under the supervision of a chemistry professor allows students to work on real scientific problems. Students experience the difficulties of devising and performing experiments to probe the unknown. They are given the opportunity to taste the thrill of discovery and to share their work through presentations at the American Chemical Society, the Tennessee Academy of Science, the APSU Research Forum, and similar meetings of scientists. 

Chemistry Research Classes

Chemistry 2940: Introduction to Research- Lecture

  • Prerequisite: permission of instructor, 1 credit hour, meets 1 hr/wk
  • Description: Theory of experimental design including methods, techniques, and information resources (library, on-line, etc.) typically used to conduct laboratory research. Ethics and professional behavior of researchers. Not a co-requisite for CHEM 2941.

Chemistry 2940: Introduction to Research- Laboratory

  • Prerequisite: permission of instructor, 1 credit hour, meets 3 hrs/wk
  • Description: Experiment design including methods, proper lab conduct, record-keeping, ethics, chemical safety and waste disposal, techniques, and information resources in a specialized area. Progress or completion of a laboratory research project under the guidance of chemistry faculty and presentation of work is expected. Not co-requisite for CHEM 2940. May be repeated one semester.

Chemistry 4940: Elements of Research

  • Prerequisite: permission of instructor, CHEM 2940 recommended, 1,2, or 3 credit hours
  • Description: Independent original research on individual projects; chemical literature review and presentation of results. May be repeated until project is completed; however, approval of department chair is required for more than eight hours. 

Chemistry 4990: Research Thesis

  • Prerequisite: CHEM 4940 and permission of instructor, 1 credit hour
  • Description: Preparation of a thesis and oral presentation of original research. Thesis must follow the guidelines of the ACS Style Guide and the Chemistry Department, and will be evaluated by a committee which will include the department chair or his/her degree.

Current Research Topics

Some of the current research topics or areas are briefly described below. For more information visit the homepage of the instructor or contact the instructor via the e-mail address provided.

Dr. Carrie Brennan. e-mail address:
Electrochemistry, environmental chemistry, glass thin films

Dr. Raj Dakshinamurthy. e-mail address:
Protein biochemistry and gold nanoparticles capped with a range of molecules like carbohydrates, dyes and drugs using our green, single step technology for various biological applications

Dr. Leslie Hiatt. e-mail address:
Electrochemistry, Carotenoid research, Nicotine content in e-cigarettes, Instrumentation

Dr. Meagan Mann. e-mail address:
Biochemistry, Chemical Education, Nicotine content in e-cigarettes, Endocrine disruptors/toxicology, Medicinal chemistry/chemical biology

Dr. Fred Matthews. e-mail address:
NMR studies.

Dr. Robin Reed. e-mail address:

Dr. Bob Shelton. e-mail address:
Organic, computational chemistry, chemical education

Dr. Lisa Sullivan. e-mail address:  
Materials chemistry

Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

Summer is an excellent time to do research. To learn more about an REU, go here to see information from an APSU student lecture by Lance Baird.  Summer REU's can be applied toward your APSU chemistry degree.  Contact the department chair or your chemistry advisor for more information.

Looking for Research opportunities off campus for this summer?  Go to the Office of Undergraduate Research page on Off Campus opportunities >> HERE.


Presidential Research Scholars

The Presidential Research Scholars program encourages undergraduate research at APSU. This competitive program gives $3,000 awards for faculty and student stipends and other support of a research plan. Visit the Office of Undergraduate Research website and click on Funding $$$ > PRS Program.