Department Head News

Marcy Towns and Christine Hrycyna

Professor Marcy Towns has been named interim department head succeeding Professor Christine Hrycyna, who has accepted a position as the Dean of the School of Physical Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. The department is honoring Dr. Hrycyna with a reception on October 4th, 3:30-5:30 in WTHR Leighty Commons. Read more about the transition.

New Faculty Members

Four faculty members have joined our department this semester:

  • Justin Andrews, Assistant Professor - Inorganic Chemistry
  • Qi (Tony) Dong, Assistant Professor - Materials Chemistry/Physical Chemistry
  • Ming-Yu Ngai, Professor - Organic Chemistry
  • Jonathan Schlebach, Associate Professor – Biochemistry

Read more about their research and backgrounds.

Faculty Awards

Professor Suzanne Bart is the 2024 recipient of the F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. In March, she will be presented the award at the 2024 Spring Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans. Read more about Dr. Bart’s research and this prestigious honor.

Professor Julia Laskin was named winner of the 2023 Advances in Measurement Science Lectureship Award in the Americas. This annual award recognizes scientists who have made a major recent impact in the field of measurement science. Read more about the award.

Purdue is well-represented in the 2023 Analytical Scientist Power List that includes:

  • Faculty - R. Graham Cooks, Scott McLuckey, Mary Wirth (Emerita Professor)
  • Alumni - Jenny Brodbelt, Livia Eberlin, Joel Harris, Vicki Wysocki, Zoltan Zakats


William A. Nugent (B.S. 1969) is the 2024 recipient of the ACS Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods. Read more about Bill’s distinguished career as an industry chemist and how he met Herb Brown as an undergrad.

Susannah Cox Banziger (Ph.D. 2019) was named an ACS Chemical and Engineering News Talented Twelve scientist. She is a formulation chemist at Corteva Agriscience. While at Purdue, Susie was a member of Professor Tong Ren’s lab group. Read more about her work in agrochemical manufacturing.


Professor Low awarded $1.3 million for malaria drug trials in Southeast Asia and Africa. Article link

Professor Wilker using nature as inspiration for a sustainable, affordable adhesive system. Article link

Professor Tao and team develop liquid biopsy method that may reveal signs of Parkinson’s disease in urine samples. Article link

Professor Schmidt's bio-based glues form adhesive bonds that grow stronger in water. Article link

Professor Low working with team on first-in-class targeted microRNA therapy that slows cancer tumor growth. Article link

Manhattan Project research at Purdue propelled Chemistry Department's postwar growth. Article link

Technology Update in Teaching Labs

Professor Jonathan Rienstra-Kiracofe led a team to refresh the student iPads in our undergraduate teaching labs located in Chaney-Hale Hall of Science. Read more about the team who made this summer project happen and how it keeps our labs on the cutting edge of technology.

K-12 Outreach

Indiana K-12 science teachers attend professional development workshop in Brown Lab.

Chemistry’s K-12 outreach program had a productive summer creating a series of video tutorials to prepare students for collegiate-level chemistry. Our outreach team is also building a video repository to educate middle and high school students about the vast number of career possibilities in STEM fields. Faculty, graduate students, and alumni are invited to submit a 2-3 minute video introducing their work as a STEM professional. Read more about these initiatives.

In Memoriam

Frank Brown, Jr. - scientist, teacher, mentor, and Chemistry alumnus (Ph.D. 1969)

Alvin W. Czanderna - research scientist and Chemistry alumnus (Ph.D. 1957)

Jim Zimmerman - longtime Amy Facility engineer

Bodner Memorial

A tree has been planted and plaque honoring Emeritus Professor George Bodner (1946-2021) has been installed outside his former office window on the south side of WTHR. Thanks to George's family, friends, co-workers, and Chemistry alumni who supported the memorial.