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  • College of Arts & Sciences

    • Science Division
    • Kirkbride, Room 323
    • tel: 610-499-4002

  • Andrea E. Martin, PhD

    • Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry
    • Kirkbride Hall, Room 466B
    • tel: 610-499-4515


Student Research, Chemistry

Research Highlight

student and microscope

Summer Research Programs

Students who wish to use the Widener facilities for self-driven research or to focus on a joint research project with faculty over the summer months may apply for free summer housing through the university’s Summer Research Program.

Undergraduate research is an important part of the chemistry program. Every student participates in at least one semester of research with a faculty mentor, and most of our students participate in research for one to two years. 

Participation in research promotes the development of a student’s problem-solving skills and helps them develop a connection to the scientific world. These projects also provide students with valuable research experience and have led to scientific publications and presentations by students at local, national, and international conferences.

Featured Research Projects

Greener Synthesis of Pharmaceuticals

Using the 12 principles of green chemistry, Dr. Loyd Bastin and Dr. Krishna Bhat are working on the development of greener syntheses of pharmaceutically relevant compounds. The greener synthetic processes aim to reduce waste production, toxic by-products, and environmental hazards of necessary reagents. Students working with Dr. Bastin and Bhat have received Clinton Global Initiative grants to support their research projects. Recently, Dr. Bastin was awarded the Cynthia H. Sarnoski Science Faculty Fellowship to support his research on the greener synthesis of pharmaceuticals.


Using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly), Dr. Alexis Nagengast involves undergraduate students in her research on the storage of fats in males and females and the effect of diet and supplements on lifespan and fitness. Additionally, she collaborates on a project to identify regulatory genes involved in the physical differences between males and females in the jumping stick (Stiphra sp). Students working with Dr. Nagengast have regularly won a best poster award at Widener’s annual summer research symposium.

Physical Chemistry

Dr. Ismail Kul’s research interests all aim to alleviate societal problems. They include alternative refrigerants to R-22 and their physical properties, flammability studies of partially fluorinated hydrocarbons, thermophysical properties of ionic liquids and of their mixtures, and the thermodynamic behavior of medicinally valuable compounds. 

Inorganic Chemistry

Dr. Louise Liable-Sands and Dr. Andrea Martin are interested in the coordination chemistry of transition metal ions. Their goal is to bind and activate small molecules such as oxygen and carbon dioxide at metal centers, using systems inspired by biological molecules known as metalloproteins. Their students have synthesized and characterized a number of new molecules and have presented their work at numerous scientific meetings.