Chemistry Research Projects

All Fort Lewis College students are invited to apply for summer research positions within the Department of Chemistry. Come join our energetic faculty and participate in independent, cutting-edge research in chemistry this summer. Opportunities are available in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, natural products, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and bioinorganic chemistry.

Qualifications include:

  • A strong interest in carrying out scientific studies
  • A willingness to work hard and have fun
  • A willingness to make a commitment for 10 weeks of the summer
  • Curiosity about the natural world

What you will get in return:

  • Depending on funding there may be a stipend or class credit.
  • The opportunity to generate new scientific knowledge by discovering things no one has known about before
  • Invaluable experience in practical research techniques
  • An outstanding entry for your resume
  • Opportunities for leadership within the chemistry community

Get involved in research

For more information, please contact the research advisor in your chosen area of study.

Inorganic Chemistry

Dr. Aimee Morris leads a group which synthesizes and characterizes coordination complexes containing cobalt centers in various oxidation states. Email Dr. Morris


Analytical Chemistry

Dr. Cole’s research combines gas and liquid chromatographic methods and atomic emission spectroscopy to explore the elemental and molecular constituents of interesting samples ranging from locally produced hard cider and honey to human fingerprints. Her work is currently funded by the American Society for Mass Spectrometry and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburg, allowing all students working in Dr. Cole’s lab in summer 2020 to receive hourly pay for their work.

Email Dr. Cole to learn more about her research.


Biochemistry

The McFarlane Lab studies enzymes and the interesting natural products they produce. One example project involves solving X-ray crystal structures and performing kinetic analyses of two enzymes involved human gut microbe polyamine biosynthesis. Polyamine biosynthesis is a potential chemotherapeutic target as it is associated with colon cancer in humans. Another project asks what structural determinants allow nicotianamine synthase enzymes from plant, bacterial and archaeal species to perform variant chemistries and generate many secondary natural products. If you are interested in learning more about Dr. McFarlane's work or in research experiences in his lab, please contact him directly.

Office: Chemistry Hall, RM 246
Phone: 970-247-7467
Email: Dr. McFarlane

The Lee Lab studies microbial community composition to understand their role in the environment. One project is surveying the San Juan Watershed by collecting water and surface sediment samples seasonally. Using biochemical methods, amplicon sequencing and computational tools, we can identify and assess microbial phylogeny. The next project is using computational methods to generate functional predictions from amplicon sequences to understand the structure and function of microbial communities. Understanding microorganisms’ strategies to survive may answer questions related to antibiotic resistance, environmental decontamination and other potential technological applications.  If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Lee’s work or research experience in her lab, please contact her directly.

Office: Chemistry Hall, RM 244
Phone: 970-247-6324
Email: Dr. Lee


Physical Chemistry

Dr. Michael Grubb's research focuses on mechanisms through which chemical reactions take place by monitoring changes in their optical spectra over time. Email Dr. Grubb


The MARC U*STAR Program

The Maximizing Access to Research Careers - Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research Program (MARC U*STAR) at Fort Lewis College is funded by a research training grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, one of the National Institutes of Health.

The Program prepares Native American, African American, Hispanic and Pacific Islander students majoring in scientific disciplines to pursue Ph.Ds and long term careers in biomedical and behavioral science research. For more information, please visit the MARC U*STAR website.