Oct 01, 2023  
2023-2024 Florida Tech Catalog 
2023-2024 Florida Tech Catalog

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

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Jessica Smeltz, Ph.D., Head


Alan B. Brown, Ph.D., physical organic chemistry, sensor science, bioorganic chemistry

Yi Liao, Ph.D., photochemical processes, reversible photoreactions under visible light, photoresponsive polymers, photo-controlled catalysis

Gordon L. Nelson, Ph.D., polymer science, polyurethanes, nanocomposites, smoke, toxicity, sustainability, physical organic chemistry

Nasri Nesnas, Ph.D., bioorganic chemistry, natural products, chemical neuroscience, vision chemistry

Manolis M. Tomadakis, Ph.D., analytical and numerical studies of transport, reaction and nuclear magnetic resonance in porous, composite and biological media; materials characterization through computer simulations

Rudolf J. Wehmschulte, Ph.D., inorganic and organometallic chemistry, catalysis

Associate Professors

Boris B. Akhremitchev, Ph.D., single-molecule research and techniques, protein-ligand interactions, hydrophobic interactions, protein aggregation, atomic force microscopy, force spectroscopy, physical and biophysical chemistry

Christopher A. Bashur, Ph.D., cardiovascular tissue engineering, scaffold fabrication and characterization, cell-microenvironment interactions, modulating graft-induced host response, drug delivery, bioprinting, tissue vascularization

James R. Brenner, Ph.D., tissue engineering test beds, open-source hardware

Vipuil Kishore, Ph.D., development of biomimetic scaffolds, cell-material interactions, in vitro tissue models, 3D bioprinting, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine

Roberto Peverati, Ph.D., computational methods for electronic structure theory calculations, quantum chemistry software

Toufiq Reza, Ph.D., biofuels, waste-to-energy, food-water-energy, hydrothermal carbonization, thermochemical conversion, deep eutectic solvents, pyrolysis, torrefaction, pelletization

Jessica L. Smeltz, Ph. D., department head, organometallic chemistry, catalysis, chemical education

Norito Takenaka, Ph.D., organic chemistry, asymmetric catalysis, synthetic chemistry, bioorganic and medicinal chemistry

Jonathan E. Whitlow, Ph.D., P.E., process modeling and simulation, chemical process design, renewable energy conversion systems and process control

Assistant Professors

Pavithra Pathirathna, Ph.D., analytical chemistry, electrochemistry, micro/nanoelectrodes, carbon fiber microelectrodes, sensors for in-vivo and in-vitro applications

Maria E. Pozo de Fernandez, Ph.D., diffusion in polymers, properties of polymer systems, thermodynamics, fluid phase equilibria at high pressures, supercritical fluids

Stephen Smith, Ph.D., chemical education

Robert Usselman, Ph.D., quantum biology, electron spin resonance

Bo Wang, Ph.D., metabolomics data interpretation approaches development using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques; metabolomics applications in drug effect of natural compounds discovery and animal response to combinational environmental pollutants; environmental pollutants photodegradation; metabolomics applications in diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and nutritional studies

Professors Emerita

Mary Sohn, Ph.D.

Professors Emeriti

Michael W. Babich, Ph.D.; Paul A. Jennings, Ph.D., P.E.; Joshua Rokach, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Emeritus

Joel A. Olsen, Ph.D.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (CCE) is to provide a safe working environment in the pursuit of excellence in education, research and innovation in the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering. The attainment of these goals is achieved by 1) offering undergraduate and graduate curricula that provide students the opportunity to obtain the required knowledge, and technical and communication skills, and thorough understanding of the associated safety, ethical, social and economic responsibilities in their respective fields; 2) engaging in internationally recognized research that will increase knowledge and lead to technological innovations; and 3) providing an atmosphere that stimulates intellectual curiosity and encourages creative interactions among faculty and students. Success in the accomplishment of these goals will equip students with the capacity to thrive in diverse professional roles in research institutions, global industries and local communities.


Current research activities are in the following areas:

Analytical chemistry: Research in analytical chemistry includes artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, electroanalytical chemistry, metabolomics, sensor science and technology.

Bioengineering: Research projects entail development of novel tissue engineering-based strategies for the generation of biomimetic collagen-based scaffolds for use in the repair and regeneration of damaged or diseased tissues. Some of the key projects that are currently ongoing include: a) 3D printing of biomimetic mineralized gradient scaffolds for use in interfacial tissue engineering (i.e., ACL reconstruction; funded by NIH R15 grant), b) developing in vitro hydrogel-based 3D models for understanding the effects of changes in extracellular matrix (ECM) properties on neurological disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease), and c) devising novel tissue engineering approaches to promote neovascularization and improve functionality of tissue scaffolds for wound healing applications.

Computational and experimental drug delivery: The focus of this research is the discovery of novel ways to deliver bioactive agents to improve tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches. Applications include small diameter vascular grafts as well as the endothelial integrity of the blood-brain barrier. Novel pharmaceutical compounds are being developed including gasotransmitters and therapeutic peptides. Light-sensitive materials and ultrasound sensitive carriers are examples of techniques being investigated to overcome challenges for delivering these compounds. The research involves assessing safety and efficacy when delivered to tissues and cells of interest in a controlled manner. Both experimental and computational approaches are used to model and understand delivery of these compounds and to properly control the dose.

Computer-aided modeling, processing and control: Research is ongoing in adaptive control for both single-loop and multivariable applications. Other topics of research interest include using neural networks in areas of model development in which traditional models are constrained, and process design and simulation of renewable energy conversion systems.

Environmental and green chemistry, sustainability: Projects include the use of high-porosity materials for sequestration and decontamination, environmental sensing of trace metals, organic chemistry in water.

Environmental engineering: Projects include the removal of trace organic contaminants from water using reverse osmosis and the design of systems for controlling contaminants in spacecraft atmospheres. Other projects focus on the development of renewable resources, especially alternative sources of energy.

Inorganic chemistry: Research in inorganic chemistry includes homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, nanomaterials, organometallic chemistry, plasmonics for water-splitting and decontamination, molecular and supported transition metal complexes for micro-environmental control.

Materials synthesis, characterization and failure prevention: Includes self-assembly or aggregation of nanomaterials and combined cyclic fatigue and cryogenic embrittlement under controlled atmospheres.

Molecular medicine: Novel anti-cancer therapies, Alzheimer’s disease, cellular and molecular responses to environmental stress.

Sensor technologies: Ongoing activities include sensor development for trace metals, rocket fuels and nerve agents.

Organic chemistry: Research areas include bioorganic chemistry, chemical neuroscience, natural products, biofuels, organometallic chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, photochemical processes, physical organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and synthetic organic chemistry. 

Physical chemistry: Ongoing projects include computational and theoretical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, electron magnetic resonance and quantum biology.

Transport and separation processes: Current projects include the development of computer simulation algorithms for estimating transport, reaction and nuclear magnetic resonance parameters of porous, composite and biological media including fuel cell gas diffusion media. Other recent projects have investigated membrane separation of gases, extraction of lipids from microalgae, the use of supercritical fluids for extraction of citrus oils, and modeling transport and reaction in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.

Vascular tissue engineering: The focus of this research is elucidating how cells interact with their microenvironment, such as topography and scaffold composition, and using this knowledge to develop strategies to produce tissue-engineered grafts. The goal is to overcome the current challenges in producing a viable replacement for occluded coronary or peripheral arteries. An additional important application is the promotion of functional microvasculature within engineered constructs. The research will involve several of the steps required for producing a clinical product, including scaffold fabrication, cell culture analysis, and the initial steps of translation. In addition, drug delivery principles are incorporated to improve construct remodeling and integration with the body. 


    Bachelor of ScienceNondegreeMaster of ScienceDoctor of Philosophy

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