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Undergraduate and Fifth-Year Research

Emily Ladda working in chemistry lab

Why pursue research?

Research helps prepare you for future graduate work in science, or work in the allied health fields, teaching, or other science-related fields.

How you can benefit from a research experience

The  Honors Programs in chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology (BCMB) and the ACS-certified track in Chemistry require students to pursue research.

However, even if you are not involved in honors or the ACS track, we still strongly encourage you to pursue an original research project.

Research provides you with the opportunity to:

  • Apply the knowledge you have gained in the classroom.
  • Improve the breadth and depth of your understanding of a new field of science.
  • Contribute to our collective knowledge of the world around us.

We encourage you to be involved in research for at least two semesters. That will allow you sufficient time and experience to become an author on a scientific paper published by your research director in a nationally or internationally recognized journal.

You may become involved in research in a variety of ways, including:

  • An elective course (either Directed Study 299 or Honors 297)
  • Full-time research during the summer
  • Volunteering during your spare time and/or taking our Introduction to Research course (CHEM 199), which allows you to become involved in research with faculty.

You may conduct research with faculty in chemistry, or biochemistry and molecular biology.

A few steps:

  • Review the basics of each faculty member’s research to decide which areas interest you.
  • Meet with those faculty (we recommend at least three) to discuss the research in more detail and learn about the specific aspects of the research in which you may become involved.
  • Attend research group meetings, or talk with other students in a particular research group (both graduate and undergraduate) before making a decision.
  • You also might want to spend some time working with a prospective research adviser on an informal basis before deciding to register for research as a course.
  • Once you have reached a final decision, go back to the faculty member you have chosen and ask to participate in their work.

Many faculty have individual research grants they may use to support students; research work. In addition, the Chemistry Department offers a number of summer research fellowships to conduct full-time, paid research. These include:

  • Leo E. and Dorothy J. Beavers Summer Fellowship
  • James and Ada Bickman Summer Science Research Internship
  • Maurine H. Milburn Fund for the Sciences
  • Frederick M. and Alice Murdock Summer Science Internship
  • PolyCarbon Industries Chemistry Summer Fellowship
  • Arthur E. Martell and Thomas T. Sugihara Summer Internship

Recipients of Summer Research Awards

Lise Anne and Leo Beavers II Summer Research Fellowship:
Nicolina Braccio
Anh-Vy Le
Bethany Lee
Kimberly Lee
Isabella Teixeria
Jay Verchin

Arthur E. Martell – Thomas T. Sugihara Summer Science Internship:
Colin Farrington

Maurine H. Milburn Summer Research Fellowship:
Samuel Hartley
Nathan Huynh
Madison Latendre
Iryna Onasenko

Frederick M. and Alice Murdock Summer Science Fellowship:
Muhammed Zuhayr Chowdhury
Emma Kirkman-Davis

Donald J. Nelson Research Fellowship:
Emma Narkewicz

PCI Synthesis Chemistry Summer Fellowship:
Alma Araujo Martinez


Abbvie-labs Summer Research Scholarship:
Diana Argiles-Castillo (5th year)

Lise Anne and Leo Beavers II Summer Research Fellowship:
Saadman Islam ‘19
Liliana Wurfl ‘19

James ‘39 and Ada Bickman Summer Science Research Fellowship:
Ailin Fu ’19 (BCMB)
Bethany Lee ’20 (Chemistry)

Maurine H. Milburn Summer Research Fellowship:

Justine Bohl ‘19
Emily Ladda ‘19
Young Sun Lee ‘19

PCI Synthesis Chemistry Summer Fellowship:

Faith Witkos ‘20

LEEP Fellowship:

Anh Nhu ’19 (Larochelle)

Sherman Fairchild Fellowship:

Anh-Vy Le ‘20
Zaza Gelashvili ‘19
Nikita Kupko ‘20
Chloe Kellum ‘19
Rylee Simons ‘19
Luke Barrows ‘19
Molly McAuliffe ‘19
Kayla Rich ‘19
Dylan (Samuel) Gillespie ‘19

Abbvie Labs Summer Research Scholarship:
Jeremy Abdulla ‘18

Lise Anne and Leo Beavers II Summer Research Fellowship:

Ann Kim ‘18 (Biology)
Jenna Libera ’19 (Biology)

James ‘39 and Ada Bickman Summer Science Research Fellowship:

Chloe Kellum ’19 (BCMB)
Nikita Kupko ‘19 (Chemistry)

PCI Synthesis Chemistry Summer Fellowship:

Luke Barrows ’19 (BCMB)
Joseph McElwee ’19 (BCMB)
Michael Kebede ‘18 (BCMB) – Industry Internship

Carlson or Traina Summer Fellowship:

Rebecca Meservier ‘18 (Traina)

LEEP Fellowship:

Joseph McElwee ‘19
Luke Barrows ‘19
Young Sun Lee ‘19
Lara Prosterman ‘17
Emilie Ogisu ‘17
Noah Schwaegerle ‘17

Sherman Fairchild Fellowship:

Jonathan Chellali ’17 (Chemistry)
Yana Zubarev ‘19 (Chemistry)
Diana Argiles-Castillo ‘18 (BCMB)
Aaron Bogle ‘18 (BCMB)

Global Scholar:

Saadman Islam ‘19

Student measuring liquids in tube

Honors Program

Interested in advanced study and research? Aiming for medical or graduate school? If you are driven, make sure to consider our honors program.

Fall Fest and Academic Spree Day

At Fall Fest and, in the spring, Academic Spree Day, undergraduate students from throughout the university display and talk about their research and creative work.

Learn More


  • Synthesis and Magnetic Data Collection of Cobalt (II) Complexes: International Reactions. Samantha Fowles, ’20 (sponsor: Professor Mark Turnbull)
  • Selective sensing of azide moiety by a cyclic peptide. Ailin Fu, ’19 (sponsor: Professor Ahrundhati Nag)
  • Single Crystal EPR Studies of Pyrazine-Bridged Copper (II) Chains with Pyridone Ligands:
    Lab Rotations 10° at a Time. Emma Kirkman-Davis, ’20 in collaboration with graduate student Jeffrey C. Monroe (sponsor: Professor Mark Turnbull)
  • Synthesis of magnetic ladders and chains from the reactions of ethylpyrazine and (methylthio)pyrazine with CuX2 (X = Br, Cl). Nikita Kupko, ’20 (sponsor: Professor Mark Turnbull)
  • Structure and Coordination of Nickel(II) with 4-substituted Aniline Ligands. Katie Meehan, ’20 (sponsor: Professor Mark Turnbull)
  • Antiferromagnetic Exchange of n-Methyl-2-Pyridone Substituted Copper(II) Pyrazine Linear Chains. Faith Witkos, ’20 (sponsor: Professor Mark Turnbull)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

  • Structural and Biochemical Characterization of HACE1: A HECT E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Involved in Huntington’s Disease and Wilms’ Tumor. Diana Argiles Castillo, ’19 (sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Development of an Organic Chemistry Lab: Analysis of Fatty Acids Composition in Cooking Oils Through LC/MS. Luke Barrows, ’19 (sponsor: Professor Charles Jakobsche)
  • Structural and Biochemical Analysis of the HECT E3 Ubiquitin Ligase, HECW2, and its Implications in Progeria. Justine Bohl, ’19 (sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Expression and Purification of KRasB. Dylan Gillespie, ’19 (sponsor: Professor
    Arundhati Nag)
  • Structural and functional studies of the HECT E3 ubiquitin ligase E6AP reveal a possible mechanism for the neurodevelopmental disorder Angelman Syndrome. Chloe Kellum, ’19 (sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Biochemical and Biophysical Characterization of HECT E3 Ubiquitin Ligase AREL1 and its Implications in Apoptosis. Emily Ladda, ’19 (sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Analyzing Aggregation Properties Across A Family of Amyloid Fibril Binding Small Molecules Anh-Vy Le, ’20 (sponsor: Professor Charles Jakobsche)
  • Kinetics of IDE-Dependent Degradation of Insulin in the Presence of Polyphenols. Bethany Lee, ’20, Lili Wurfl, ’19, Saadman Islam, ’19 (sponsor: Professor Noel Lazo)
  • Biochemical and Structural Examination of HERC4 – a HECT E3 Ubiquitin Ligase that Controls Spermatogenesis, Cancer Metastasis, and Organ Size. Young Sun Lee, ’19 (sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Biophysical Analysis of Antp and Ubx Homeodomain Transcription Factor-DNA Binding Affinity. Jeanmarie W. Loss, ’19 (sponsors: Professor Donald Spratt, Professor Robert Drewell, Professor Jacqueline Dresch)
  • Biophysical Studies of Ubiquitin E3 Ligase, HECTD1, and its Disease Relevance. Misa Mai, ’19 (sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt.
  • A Tale of a Tail: Structural and Functional Studies of HERC2 C-Lobe with Implications in Breast Cancer. Kayla Rich, ’19 (sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Biophysical Analysis of AbdA and AbdB Homeodomain Transcription Factor-DNA Binding Affinity. Rylee Simons, ’19 (sponsors: Professor Donald Spratt, Professor Robert Drewell, Professor Jacqueline Dresch)


  • Preparation of [LnCuX2] (L = 3-cyanopyridine, 2-amino-3-cyanopyridine, 2-amino-
    5- cyanopyridine; n = 1,2; X = Cl, Br) via Mechanochemical Synthesis. Jonathan Chellali ‘18 (in collaboration with Penelope Farris & Christopher P. Landee; Sponsor: Professor Mark Turnbull)
  • Synthesis, Structure, and Magnetic Behavior of Nickel (II) and Cobalt (II) Halide Complexes of Isoquinoline. Micheal Kebede ‘18 (Sponsor: Professor Mark Turnbull)
  • Solvent Coordinated Compounds of the Family L2CuX2, where L= 2-chloro-3-fluoropyridine and X=Cl,Br. Robert DuBois ‘17 (Sponsor: Professor Mark Turnbull)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

  • Biochemistry and Mechanism of HECT E3 Ubiquitin Ligase HUWE1. Noor Alzuhairy ‘17 (Sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt) – LEEP Project
  • Characterization of the HECT E3 Ubiquitin Ligase HECTD1. Vladislav Kiveliyk ‘17 (Sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Biochemical Characterization of HERC2, a HECT E3 Ligase Implicated in Breast Cancer and Prader-Willi Syndrome. Noah Schwaegerle ‘17 (Sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Helix-Dipole Effects on Amyloid Formation in the Presence of Model Membranes. Senegal Carty ‘17 (in collaboration with Qiuchen Zheng, graduate student; Sponsor: Professor Noel Lazo).
  • Biochemical Characterization of TRIP12, a HECT E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Linked to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Alexandra Brown ‘17 (Sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Biochemistry and Mechanism of HACE1. Janel Gardner ‘17 (in collaboration with Yaya Wang & Steven Beasley, graduate students; Sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • HECT E3 Ubiquitin Ligase WWP1: a major player in cellular signaling pathways and diseases. Emilie Ogisu ‘17 (Sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Fluorescently labeled non-viral DNA delivery Vector. Alva Tan ‘17 & Sharon Chieng ‘17 (Sponsor: Professor Sergio Granados-Focil)
  • HECTD3 E3: A Ubiquitin Ligase Associated With Breast Cancer. Andres Torres ‘17 (Sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Structure-based identification of C-terminal Binding Protein inhibitors from the Zinc-database compound library. Antony Gruness ‘17 (in collaboration with UMass Medical School; Sponsor: Professor David Thurlow)
  • Characterization of AREL1 to understand apoptosis resistance in cancer cells. Pinky Htun ‘17 (Sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Biochemical Characterization of HECT E3-Ubiquitin Ligase Itch and its Implications in Cancer. Roela Bardhi ‘17 (Sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)
  • Studies to Better Understand the Structure and Mechanism of Smurf1, a HECT E3 Ubiquitin Ligase. Lara Prosterman ‘17 (Sponsor: Professor Donald Spratt)

Fifth-year Research

If you excel in our undergraduate program, you may qualify for Clark’s Accelerated B.A./M.S. Program in chemistry or biochemistry and molecular biology. This experience allows you to continue your undergraduate research, resulting in a master’s thesis.

  • Anny Qurrat Ul-Ain ’18, MA ’19, BCMB 5th Year Program, “Development of Novel Copper-Peptide Complexes for Water Oxidation” – Expected to graduate in December
  • Micheal T. Kebede ’18, MA ’19, BCMB 5th Year Program, “Determinants of the IDE-Dependent Degradation of Insulin”
  • Noah Schwaegerle ’17, MA ’18, BCMB 5th Year Program, “Biochemical and Structural Characterization of the Large HECT E3 Ubiquitin Ligase HERC2”
  • Anamika Datta, MA ’18, CHEM Masters Student, “Polyethylenimine based copolymer blends as lithium-ion conductors for rechargeable batteries”
  • Senegal Carty ’17, MA ’18, BCMB 5th Year Program, “Connections Between Protein Misfolding and Monodenzone – Induced Vitiligo”
  • Thanaphorn Suk-in ’16, MA ’17, BCMB 5th Year Program, “Functionalization of liner poly(ethylenimine) (PEI) as DNA-binding polymer for Gene therapy applications”
  • Linshu Wang, MA ’16, BCMB Masters Student, “Towards Hydrazine-Functionalized Peptides as Potential Lysyl Oxidase Inhibitors and a 4-Step Amine to Alcohol Conversion via N-Nitrosoamides”
  • Rhady Sorm ’14, MA ’15, BCMB 5th Year Program, “Biophysical Effects of Polyphenols on Model-Membrane-Mediated Aβ42 Self-Assembly”

Student Research Stories

Chemistry students earn prestigious journal cover

Compound research results in one-of-a-kind substance

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Michael Kebede's summer of science

Undergrad, alum research polymers as drug delivery agents

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Contact Information

Gustaf H. Carlson School of Chemistry

Contact Us
  • Sackler Sciences Center, Room S134
    950 Main Street
    Worcester, MA 01610
  • 1-508-793-7116
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