Department of Chemistry Biochemistry

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has become the new School of Molecular Sciences

Chemistry and biochemistry are rapidly developing and so are the research fields that many of our faculty work in. Our faculty are tackling challenging problems in understanding and diagnosing human disease and improving health, developing new ways to store and convert energy, building and engineering new and multifunctional materials, and connecting laboratory and earth sciences. These different research areas all build on a deep understanding of molecular structure, properties and synthesis, but the research goals are tending away from pure discipline-based problems in chemistry and biochemistry and increasingly toward mission-based societal problems. These large scale problems often require our faculty and students to work in interdisciplinary groups, and new research teams are evolving among the faculty that combine many of the traditional disciplines in chemistry and biochemistry.

The work our faculty and students do reflects how chemistry and biochemistry are maturing and the new ways that science will be performed in the 21st century. For this reason, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has reorganized into the new School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University. Research activity is being reorganized around important societal themes, which will include:

  • Energy and Sustainability
  • Medicine and Health
  • Materials and Nanoscience
  • Geologic and Biospheric Science
  • Structure Function and Dynamics
  • Frontiers of Chemical Measurement
  • Fundamental Molecular Science

These new themes will encourage new research initiatives and provide a basis for new grant applications. The new themes will also develop new seminar and research discussion groups and courses. Most importantly, the new organization will properly reflect the current intellectual endeavors of our faculty and students that are addressing contemporary problems in molecular science. The important work that will be done in the future will not be localized in the traditional areas of chemistry and biochemistry, but will require the development of molecular level solutions to larger problems that are best solved by combining the resources of individual researchers. The new School of Molecular Science is designed to facilitate this process.

The primary goal of the new organization is to properly align research areas with faculty interest and contemporary problems; current degree programs in chemistry and biochemistry will not be affected. Longer term goals of the new organization are to investigate the educational needs that are relevant in the 21st century, and new degree offerings are anticipated in the next few years.

Benefits of the new organization to potential undergraduate students are new research opportunities in contemporary science, and eventually new degree programs that connect to emerging new career opportunities. Benefits of the new organization to potential graduate students include the opportunity to be immersed in an interdisciplinary research team culture through their graduate experience, which will be essential for success in research in large-scale contemporary problems.

The members of the new School of Molecular Science are looking forward to uncovering additional opportunities that the School structure can facilitate. We look forward to pushing through and developing the disciplines of chemistry and biochemistry in the broader context of education and research into molecular science and the solution of large-scale societal problems.

Daniel Buttry
Director and Professor
School of Molecular Sciences