The Department of Chemistry offers undergraduate and graduate students research opportunities in five principal areas:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry

Faculty in our department participate in research collaborations in areas from space science and instrumentation to drug development and discovery.

Visit each principal area for a more detailed description of the research activities performed. Contact the appropriate advisor of record or individual research faculty member to discuss the alignment of your research interests.


Research Areas

Modern analytical chemistry is focused to a large extent on instrumental analysis. It involves new applications, new methods of analysis, discovery of new principles of measurements, and application of other discoveries (e.g. microchip devices, lasers, plasma) for qualitative and quantitative measurements. Analytical chemistry makes important contributions to a diverse set of fields including industry, forensics, medicine, biology, physics, archaeology, geology, homeland security, food science, space science, and nanotechnology.

Students conducting research with analytical faculty receive training in different areas including chromatography, electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, electrochemistry, microscopy, spectroscopy, and hyphenated techniques. These skills, together with the interdisciplinary training, serve well during the job search after graduation.

For more information, go to the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry.

Participating Faculty

Biochemistry is the study of the chemicals and processes of living things. It is essential to medicine (it is the only branch of chemistry taught in medical schools), drug discovery, and discovery of how life processes are altered by the environment and pathology. Other than the simple biochemicals and lipids, there are the macromolecules, including proteins and DNA. Determining the structure of these and how various drugs and other chemicals bind to them is the basis of modern drug design. Another branch of biochemistry, molecular biology, exploits the properties of DNA to allow nearly any gene to be isolated, modified, and expressed in nearly unlimited quantities. Biochemists also collaborate with cell biologists to learn how the proteins (proteomics) and DNA (genomics) differ between living things and as organisms respond to their environment (cell signaling).

Students conducting research with biochemical faculty receive training in different techniques including chromatography, electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, microscopy, spectroscopy, and hyphenated techniques, as well as more specialized techniques. These skills, together with the interdisciplinary training, serve well during the job search after graduation.

For more information, go to the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry.

Participating Faculty

Inorganic chemistry is a very broad area of chemistry which includes all of the elements of the periodic table, including some that are the elements usually considered to be part of organic chemistry. Some portions of inorganic chemistry deal strictly with inorganic compounds, but others are a blend of two or more other subdisciplines, such as organometallic, bioinorganic, and materials chemistry. As a result of this variety, inorganic chemistry has applications ranging from catalysis to medicine. For example, inorganic compounds are important catalysts in numerous industrial processes, including the synthesis of methanol, acetic acid, and polyethylene. Inorganic compounds are used to treat various medical conditions, such as the antitumor compound cis-Pt(NH3)2Cl2(cis-platin), and new metal-containing complexes for therapeutic and medical imaging are being developed.

The design and synthesis of new compounds and the discovery of new metalloproteins has led to the discovery of unusual and highly complex structures, many of which contain multiple metal centers. Inorganic chemistry employs the whole range of modern instrumentation to analyze and characterize new compounds, including single crystal X-ray structure determination, several types of spectroscopy, electrochemical methods, magnetic susceptibility, computational methods, and others.

For more information, go to the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry.

Participating Faculty

Organic chemistry involves the scientific study of the structure, properties, and reactions of compounds and materials that contain carbon atoms.

The UTSA Organic Section offers exciting research and training opportunities on the synthesis and functions of organic compounds in both the traditional fields of synthetic and physical organic chemistry and in the emerging interdisciplinary fields of green (environmentally benign), bio-organic, medicinal, and materials chemistry. Areas of strength include the developments of green catalysts and synthetic methodologies, drug delivery systems, and therapeutically useful small organic compounds.

Students are strongly encouraged to visit the websites of the organic chemistry faculty to further explore the highlights and details of their ongoing research.

For more information, go to the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry.

Participating Faculty

Research in the area of physical chemistry can be broken into Atmospheric Chemistry, Biophysics, Electronic Structure, Material Processing, Nanofabrication, Reaction Dynamics, and Surface Chemistry. Many of these areas involve a unique collaboration between experimentalists and theorists with the goal of understanding fundamental processes such as energy transfer in activated complexes, gain further understanding of fundamental reaction mechanism such as proton transfer in peptides.

For more information, go to the ACS Division of Physical Chemistry.

Participating Faculty