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Division of Chemical & Biological Sciences




Research teams in this Division conduct fundamental and applied studies of how to control and manipulate chemicals and biological materials. We work to develop new catalysts that enable more efficient chemical reactions, discover new ways to convert plants to biofuels, and understand how solvents, such as water, affect chemical reactions or how molecules diffuse on surfaces and through tiny pores.

Developing new instruments is also at the heart of our research. Understanding Nature's fundamental building blocks requires us to be able to see things at tiny length scales and fast time scales. We are at the cutting edge of developing tools and methods for understanding what drives biological and chemical processes; we are leaders in the fields of mass spectrometric imaging, solid state NMR, Raman spectroscopy, and single particle analysis.

Recent research has led to improved processes for biodiesel production. Our fundamental studies led to the development of a commercial catalyst now sold by Albemarle Corporation. Research in our Division also led to the invention of multiplexed capillary electrophoresis, a technique that is key for DNA sequencing and was central to the Human Genome Project; all 7 billion people on Earth have been impacted by this technique.