Professor and Department Chair — Inorganic and Materials Chemistry

Research and/or Creative Works

Our work is concerned with porous nanomaterials of all types. We are interested in studying structure-property relationships of these solids (primarily porosity and morphology) as they relate to specific applications in filtration, catalysis, and molecular adsorption/release. Students in my group learn fundamental inorganic and solid-state chemical synthesis techniques and characterization methods, and they test the materials they have made in a variety of important applications. We also collaborate extensively with industrial and medical researchers. This interplay between fundamental and applied research is an important aspect of my group’s research.

Over the years, we have developed many new methods to synthesize porous materials with unique properties. Several current projects are focused on oxidation of organic substrates, using either porous WO3 nanoparticles as visible-light photocatalysts or chelated V=O2+ on porous silica nanoparticles using only O2 as the oxidant at ambient conditions. We also study changes in the activity and thermal stability of enzymes after they are immobilized within porous nanoparticles, and the development of detection/decontamination systems using nano-bioconjugated enzymes. This project focuses specifically on organophosphorus hydrolases, which are capable of decontaminating organophosphate pesticides and chemical nerve agents. Finally, we have developed new targeted drug delivery systems, using porous silica nanoparticles modified with antibodies and loaded with biomolecular cargo such as miRNA, siRNA, small molecule chemotherapeutic drugs, and others. Fundamental to this project are studies on the development of the protein corona on porous nanoparticles.

Publications

Awards and Recognition

  • Elected to the Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering, 2014

  • University Scholar, University of Vermont, 2013

  • Fulbright Senior Research Fellow, Instituto de Tecnologia Quimica, Valencia, Spain, 2012

  • Visiting Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, 2007

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Synthesis and studies on porous inorganic nanomaterials, heterogeneous catalysis, nanomedicine, and preparation of nano-bioconjugates.

Education

  • B.A., University of Richmond, Richmond, VA, 1990
  • Ph.D., Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1994
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Materials Research Laboratory, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, 1994–1996

Contact

Phone:
  • (802) 656-0270
Office Location:

Discovery Hall W305