Student Research

The Chemistry and Physics department offers undergraduate Simmons students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the dynamic world of research within the fields of chemistry and physics. This program is designed to equip students with essential skills while engaging them in active research projects that span the laboratory and theoretical sciences. Within the framework of these courses, students will engage in one or more instances to cultivate proficiencies aligned with the programs offered within the department, such as: using standard laboratory equipment, modern instrumentation, classical techniques to carry out experiments, designing chemical and/or physical experiments, troubleshooting experiments, and other competencies with respect to Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Enrollment in CHEM/PHYS X50 is available to students who wish to engage in research with flexibility, whether informally or for official transcript credit. Each course has specific credit requirements and semester hours that must be fulfilled to achieve successful completion. Before deciding to join a lab, it's advisable to discuss the lab's expectations and prerequisites with your lab supervisor.

Hands-on Experience with Modern Equipment

Simmons chemistry students begin using up-to-date laboratory instruments in the very first chemistry course and continue to build this hands-on experience throughout the curriculum. Simmons graduates are known for their ability to take on laboratory projects with a minimum of supervision. Computers are used extensively throughout the various chemistry-related programs.

Individual Student Chemistry Carrels

Each Simmons student who declares a chemistry-related major gets an individual laboratory carrel in our Independent Study Laboratory. Students are encouraged to do laboratory work in their carrels, where they can work individually or together, calling on Faculty for guidance as needed.

Easy Contact with Faculty

Although the Simmons chemistry faculty are actively involved in research, we feel that research should not take us away from our students. Simmons students are actively involved in our research as part of their Independent Study work. We are always glad to meet with students outside of class individually or in small groups.

Open Avenues Micro-Internships

Are you a STEM or Business student ready to accelerate your career with real-world experience? Look no further than the Open Avenues Foundation's Career Pathways Program, now featuring an incredible addition: Micro-Internships.

Connect with industry experts, peers who share your interests, and seasoned professionals in your chosen domain. These valuable connections have the potential to unlock exciting opportunities such as collaborative projects, and guidance from mentors, all of which can accelerate your academic and career path. Acquire practical skills, enrich your portfolio with hands-on projects, and actively contribute to projects under the guidance of experienced professionals.

Find more information by visiting:

Undergraduate Simmons women work with faculty mentors to bring their senior-thesis research projects into the standard teaching curriculum and serve as Research Teaching Assistants and Instrumental Teaching Assistants (SMART Scholars) to underclasswomen. Typically, these Senior and Junior undergraduates will recruit the most research-capable students to join the research laboratory in their Sophomore year. The SMART Scholars then mentor the underclasswomen in groups of 2 to 3, while they are working on their Senior Thesis Projects in the research laboratory. During the first semester research “rotation” underclasswomen either decide to join the research group and begin to develop a related project of their own, or they may choose to pursue another faculty member to experience another research project in a different discipline.

In recent years there has been great interest in the design and construction of micro and nanostructures having functional responses to external stimulus (pH, temperature, light), especially for use as microsensors and photoresist materials. Our studies involve the synthesis, characterization and copolymerization of monomers containing thymine residues, 1-(4-vinylbenzyl) thymine (VBT), 1,3-bis(4-vinylbenzyl)thymine with ionic styrene derivatives, 4-vinylbenzyl triethyl ammonium chloride (VBA) and 4-vinylphenyl sulfonic acid (VPS).

Individual projects include:

  • Greening the synthesis of 1-(4-vinylbenzyl) thymine (VBT) & 1,3-bis(4-vinylbenzyl)thymine (bisVBT) through a Plackett-Burman Experimental Design
  • Synthesis and characterization of 1,3-bis(4-vinylbenzyl)thymine and its polymerization with vinylbenzyl triethyl ammonium chloride
  • Characterization of copolymers of vinylbenzyl thymine (VBT) and 4-vinylbenzyl triethyl ammonium chloride (VBA) using size exclusion chromatography
  • Synthesis of photocrosslinkable chitan for applications in photoresist technology.


Students who have successfully completed either the research-integrated Principles of Chemistry course CHEM113 or CHEM115 (Introduction to the Chemical Research Laboratory) and CHEM224 (Organic Chemistry I) are eligible to apply for the Program. Entry point is typically after completion of the first year. Minimum GPA requirement of 3.0. Consideration for participation will be based upon Faculty Recommendation from a laboratory instructor in CHEM113, CHEM115, CHEM224 and the students GPA.


Funding for this program in part comes from the Semiconductor Research Corporation Educational Alliance Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.

  • Faiza Akther '23
    Advisor: Dr. Michael Jordan, Dr. Jason White "Detecting Intracranial Cavitation with Ultrasound"
  • Anushay Atif '23
    Advisor: Dr. Stecia-Marie Fletcher, Dr. Jason White
    "Optimizing sub-megahertz ultrasound excitation strategies for phase-shift nano-emulsions"
  • Emily Costanza '23
    Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Roecklein-Canfield, Dr. Richard Gurney
    "Synthesis, Testing, and Application of Antiviral Copolymers Comprised of Sulfonic Acid Monomers and VBT"
  • Geraldina E. Cruz '23
    Advisor: Dr. Michael Jordan
    "Using Ultrasound as a Guide for Performing Emergency Neurosurgeries"
  • Shamita Desai '23
    Advisor: Dr. Jason White
    "Using Transorbital Ultrasound to Track Brain Shift To Aid in Image Guided Neurosurgery"
  • Dan L. Nguyen '23
    Advisor: Dr. Michael Jordan, Dr. Jason White
    "A non-invasive intracranial pressure monitoring method using ultrasound"
  • Maahi Patel '23
    Advisor: Dr. Jason White
    "Focused Ultrasound Neuromodulation Therapy For Epilepsy"
  • Eva Piernas '23
    Advisor: Dr. Richard Gurney
    "Creation of antiviral surface films using VBA and VBT monomers"
  • Molly Riley '23
    Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Roecklein-Canfield
    "Evaluating Secretion of Prophage-encoded Genes via Salmonella Typhimurium Type 3 Secretion Systems"
  • Eliana Ruben '19
    Advisor: Dr. Michael Berger
    "Assessment of Phragmites Australis Reeds as a Potential Adsorbent for Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride in Aqueous Solutions"
  • Annika Gibbs '17
    Advisor: Dr. Nancy Lee
    "The Synthesis and Characterization of Micelle-Forming poly(4-Vinylbenzyl Thymine)-block-poly(4-Vinylbenzyl Triethyl Ammonium Chloride) Copolymers via Nitroxide- Mediated Radical Polymerization for Application in Antibacterial Coatings"
  • Jordan Matttheisen '17
    Advisor: Dr. Mariam Ismail
    "Photdegradation of Methylene blue using vanadosilicate AM-6"
  • Anjelica Molnar-Fenton '17
    Advisor: Dr. Jason White
    "The Method of Differential backscattering for detection of Intracranial Hemorrhages using transcranial ultrasounds"
  • Amber Bennoui '16
    Advisor: Dr. Michael Kaplan
    "Applications of empirical mode decomposition and vriational mode decomposition in transcranial ultrasound analysis"
  • Bin Chen '15
    "Study of the Photodimerization of 4-Vinylbenzyl thymine and 4-vinylbenzyl trialkl ammonium chlorie copolymer usingg UV-VIS spectroscopy and gel permation chromatography"
  • Joanne Ching '15
    Advisor: Dr. Michael Berger
    "Modification of Metal Alloys to Impart Biomimetic Color, Superhydrophobicity, and Corrosion Resistant Properties"
  • Joleigh Ferro '15
    Advisor: Dr. Jason White
    "A method for detection of intracranial hemorrhage using transcranial ultrasound"
  • Jessica-Rose McElroy '15
    Advisor: Dr. Michael Berger
    "Investigation of Electrochemical Deposition as a Pre-concentration Technique for XRF Analysis of Lead and Arsenic"
  • Felicity Meyer '15
    "Infrared Spectroscopic Tracking of Q-Stae Particle formation in Ionmers"
  • Caitlyn Normand '15
    Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Roecklein-Canfield
    "Confirmation of Mutant Constructs of Human Protein BIK and Analysis of Their Interaction with Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus BCL-2 Protein"
  • Maria Vornina '15
    Advisor: Dr. Richard Gurney
    "Exploring the Impact of the AIBN Intiator concentration on the Molecular weight of the 1:4 1-(4-VINYLBENZYL) tHYMINE -1(4-Vinylbenzyl) triethyl ammonium chloride copolymers in a free-radical polymerization by means of gel permeation chromatography"