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Research Overview

Research in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry spans the core areas of chemistry including analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry (including theoretical chemistry), as well as multidisciplinary areas such as atmospheric and environmental chemistry, catalysis, chemical biology, chemical physics, energy, materials, molecular biology, molecular biophysics, nanoscience, and surface science.  Beginning in 2023, the department now has a chemistry education division. Over 50 tenure-track faculty have primary appointments in the department.

See the Research Areas page for information about the full scope of the department's research activities.

Research Excellence

The Ohio State University Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry is recognized as one of the top departments in the country.  It is tied for #20 in the U.S. News and World Report survey of Best Chemistry Programs.  It is an exceptionally broad department with researchers in all areas of chemistry and biochemistry, a scope and size consistent with being at one of the largest public Land Grant universities in the nation. OSU has over $500M per year in sponsored research expenditures.

Our faculty includes 23 NSF CAREER or National Young Investigator Awardees and 4 DOE Early Career Awardees, 13 AAAS Fellows, 7 Sloan Research Fellows, 6 Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awardees, 3 American Chemical Society Fellows, 2 Beckman Young Investigator Awardees.

Facilities and Instrumentation

The department has superior research facilities, with buildings adjacent to other physical science and engineering departments on the north end of campus, including the new Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building, McPherson Lab, Newman & Wolfrom Lab, and Celeste Lab, and adjacent to other biological science departments and the Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy on the south end of campus, including the Biological Sciences Building and the Riffe Building.

There are outstanding core facilities in the department for NMR and other analytical spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, biophysical characterization, laser spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, surface characterization, and IR/Raman microscopy (see the Research Facilities page).  The department's Center for Chemical and Biophysics Dynamics (CCBD) in the basement of the Newman & Wolfrom Lab provides users with access to state-of-the art laser spectroscopy instrumentation. There are on-site electronics and machine shops, computer support, and glassblowing.  A new polymer lab that is a joint venture with Ohio industry opened in 2019.

On-campus resources, partially housed in Chemistry & Biochemistry buildings, include the Campus Chemical Instrument Center with high-field NMR for biological applications, mass spectrometry and proteomics, and X-ray diffraction for biomolecules.  The Ohio Supercomputer Center provides fully subsidized access to national lab scale supercomputing and storage for Ohio faculty members and their researchers.  The Institute for Materials Research (IMR) provides staff support at the Nanotech West Laboratory, Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS), NanoSystems Laboratory, and Semiconductor Epitaxy and Analysis Laboratory (SEAL).

Undergraduate Research

Chemistry and Biochemistry majors are strongly encouraged to participate in research as part of their undergraduate degrees.  Honors students can get an early look at research in the Biochem 2900H/2998H and Chemistry 2990 classes.  Students can take undergraduate research for credit, without (4998/4998H) or with (4999/4999H) a senior thesis.  Click here for more information about how to get involved.

There is university, department, and individual lab support for funded summer research.  The Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry outlines many university resources.  The Mayers Undergraduate Research Summer Fellowship supports NMS majors.  The department supports Biochemistry and Chemistry majors with summer matching funds.  Talk with your research advisor about these opportunities.

The OURCI also supports research forums in the Fall and Spring, including the Denman Forum for presentation of capstone projects.

If you are from another college or university and want to come to Ohio State for the summer for research, there are a number useful programs.  Students in math and the natural sciences at one of the Ohio Five liberal arts colleges should look at the Ohio 5-OSU Summer Undergraduate Research Experience.  Students can apply to the NSF REU program in Molecular Genetics & Biochemistry.  The department also frequently hosts student from the Big Ten Academic Alliance's Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP).The department also supports summer research by prospective graduate students from other schools with matching funds.  Contact individual professors or the Graduate Admissions Coordinator for more information.  Applications from women and underrepresented minority students are strongly encouraged.

Graduate Research

There are over 300 graduate students in the department.  Most are enrolled in the Chemistry Graduate Program, which only enrolls students to pursue a Ph.D.  Students from many other programs also work with the department's faculty, such as the Ohio State Biochemistry Program (OSBP), the Biophysics Graduate Program, the Chemical Physics Program, the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) Graduate Program, and the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program.  The Biochemistry M.S. program currently only accepts OSU students by transfer.

The NIH T32 training grant Molecular Biophysics Training Program (MBTP) is open to student in the Biochemistry division of the Chemistry Ph.D. program, OSBP, and Biophysics.  Biophysics, MCDB and OSBP students are also eligible for the NIH supported Cellular, Molecular, and Biochemical Sciences Program (CMBP).  Students are also supported by fellowships from the Center for RNA Biology and Pelotonia Fellowships from the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Postdoctoral Research

There are about 60 postdoctoral researchers in the department.  The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs provides considerable resources for postdocs at the university.  They administer the President's Postdoctoral Scholar's Program.  Click the link for more information about how to apply.

Research Safety and Ethics

The Department puts the utmost value on safe, ethical, and professional conduct of research, using the best practices in the field.  All researchers participate in online training from the office of Environmental Health & Safety, and Chemistry graduate students take both Research Safety and Ethics courses in the first year of the program. All researchers participate in online training on the responsible conduct of research from the Office of Research Compliance.

The department's safety culture requires everyone's participation, and is accomplished through a partnership that involves EHS, our own safety staff, a Safety Committee of faculty and staff, the Joint Safety Team involving students and staff, and a network of laboratory safety officers.  A collaboration with Dow Chemical helps us implement the industry's best practices.  Lab coats and eye protection are required in the labs at all times, and compliance is extremely high.