Welcome to Chemistry

The Central Science. Chemistry is the link that connects problems in the fundamental nature of matter to the most complex problems in the processes of life. Members of our department bring chemistry to life as cutting-edge researchers and as teachers for students across the university.

Undergraduates majoring in chemistry can go on to several professional fields, including medicine and graduate study, and are also in high demand in fields like secondary education.  Our commitment to teaching is also reflected in our desire to build a community environment and provide every opportunity of success for our undergraduates. Toward that end, we  have initiated  a Chemistry Learning Community for our first year and transfer students.

Our Ph.D. program has a history of cutting edge and often interdisciplinary research that will teach you to be an independent scientist, ready for a career in industry or academia. Our goal is to help you learn the most modern research techniques and to think creatively about solutions to major scientific problems.

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Welcome to our new faculty members!

We are excited to welcome three new faculty members to Chemistry in the fall of 2017.

Julia Zaikina received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry from Moscow State University, Russia in 2005. She obtained her Ph.D. degree performing joint research project between Moscow State University with Prof. Andrei Shevelkov and Max-Plank-Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids (Dresden, Germany) with Prof. Yuri Grin. After receiving her Ph.D. degree in 2008, Julia joined the group of Prof. Susan Latturner at Florida State University for the first postdoctoral stint. In 2012 she started at UC Davis as a postdoctoral associate working with Prof. Susan M. Kauzlarich. Julia will join the faculty at Iowa State in August 2017 as an Assistant Professor.

Kirill Kovnir received his PhD at the Lomonosov Moscow State University with Prof. A. V. Shevelkov scrutinizing inverse clathrates. Afterwards he was tunneling between Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, and Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin, exploring potential of intermetallic compounds in heterogeneous catalysis supervised by Prof. Yu. Grin and Prof. R. Schlögl. In 2008 he moved to Florida State University where he acquired a comprehensive knowledge of magnetism of complex solids under guidance of Prof. M. Shatruk. Kirill started his independent career in 2011 at UC Davis where he was promoted to Associate Professor in March 2017. Kirill will join the faculty at Iowa State in August of 2017 as the John D. Corbett Associate Professor of Chemistry.

Davit A Potoyan
ved a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Yerevan State University of Armenia in 2007. He then received a PhD in Chemical Physics from University of Maryland-College Park in 2012. His thesis work carried out with Professor Garyk Papoian showed how epigenetically driven order/disorder transitions in histone tails mediate nano-scale organization of chromatin. He was then a Postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics at Rice University in Houston TX where he worked with Professor Peter Wolynes on elucidating non-equilibrium mechanisms of eukaryotic gene regulation, allosteric dynamics of functional proteins and genome dynamics. Davit will join the faculty of Iowa State University in August 2017 as a Caldwell Assistant Professor of Theoretical Chemistry.


A reunion of ISU Chemistry alumni was organized by Professor Kwang-Hwa Lii, on the occasion of a visit to Taiwan by Professor Pat Thiel. The reunion was celebrated with a dinner in Taipei. Pat was very impressed and proud of the success that these alumni have achieved, and continue to achieve, in their careers.

Persons seated left to right are:

•Huang-Tsung Chang, Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University (PhD with Edward Yeung)
•Chi-Shen Lee, Department of Applied Chemistry, National Chia-Tung University (PhD with Gordon Miller)
•Kwang-Hwa Lii, Department Chemistry, National Central University (PhD with Robert McCarley)
•Sue-Lein Wang, Department of Chemistry, National Tsing Hua University (PhD with Robert Jacobson)
•Pat Thiel, Department of Chemistry, Iowa State University
•Shian-Jy Wang, MegaPro Biomedical Co. (PhD with Robert Angelici)
•Wei-Ming Hung, Lanyang Technology (PhD with John Corbett)
•Wen-Bih Tzeng, Institute of Atomic and Molecular Science, Academia Sinica (PhD with Cheuk-Yiu Ng)
•Ta-Chau Chang, Institute of Atomic and Molecular Science, Academia Sinica (PhD with Gerald Small)