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Prestigiously-educated chemistry professors join CSU

With Colorado State University’s chemistry graduate program being ranked number 49 by the U.S. news world report of education, the program is considered well-known and prestigious. One of the factors towards this is the assistant professors that the chemistry department hires on to aide the expansion of research and the graduate program.

This fall, the chemistry department hired three new assistant professors with education from well known schools like Columbia University, University of California at Berkeley and CSU.

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Jeffery Bandar

Jeffery Bandar has a Ph.D from Columbia University and did his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Bandar, the principal investigator for the Bandar Group, studies synthetic methodology, or the methods used in synthesis, because he recognizes the importance of safe and reproducible chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry.

Profile of Jeffery Bandar
Assistant Professor Jeffery Bandar studies synthetic methodology in organic chemistry and has a Ph.D. from Columbia University. After doing his postdoctoral research at MIT, Bandar joined CSU because he felt at home here from the interview and got along well with the faculty and students he spoke with. (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

The Bandar Group looks into synthetic methodology in organic chemistry. By researching common functional groups, groups of mainly consisting of carbons, hydrogens, nitrogens and oxygens, Bandar hopes to find general reactions for safe and repeatable chemistry. Demonstrating these concepts will allow for a more fundamental understanding of how the functional groups react, creating a stronger basis for a wide variety of synthetic methods.

“By looking into synthetical methods, I want to develop a toolbox so that people who are in academia or the industry can take what they can and build what they need to build in a reliable and safe way,” Bandar said.

The main application Bandar is looking into is the pharmaceutical industry. Through a greater understanding of reactivity, medicines can be made in a reliable and efficient way. Bandar’s purpose in looking to organic chemistry is to enable the biomedical field through synthesis.

“By focusing on fundamental reactivity, you can find applications well beyond small molecule synthesis,” Bandar said. “You can think about how to make reactions and functional groups undergo new transformations.”

Joseph Zadrozny

Joseph Zadrozny got his Ph.D from the University of California at Berkeley and has completed his postdoctoral research at Northwestern University. Zadrozny, the principal investigator for the Zadrozny Group, studies synthetic and polymer inorganic chemistry by looking at magnetism. 

Zadrozny sitting at his desk
Assistant Professor Joe Zadrozny is a synthetic and physical inorganic chemist with a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. After doing postdoctoral research at Northwestern, Zadrozny joined CSU as an assistant professor because it seemed exciting and like a great place to work. (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

The Zadrozny Group studies how electronic and nuclear magnetic moments in molecules respond to radiation and radio frequency, like in magnetic resonance imaging, the technique that allows doctors to see inside the body in hospitals. Zadrozny is specifically looking into how water and oxygen respond to magnetic moments and wants to use his research to develop magnetic imaging probes that can detect biologically relevant information like oxygen concentrations in the body.

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“Generally, the idea of magnetism is kind of played down by the field,” Zadrozny said. “(The field) doesn’t recognize it as important. I want to show people that’s not the case: not only is it important, magnetism can provide powerful solutions for traditional chemistry.”

Zadrozny also researches magnetism as an unexplored strategy for reaction discovery. By manipulating the pathway of reactions that contain magnetic chemical intermediates, bond formation between atoms can be controlled. In this manner, magnetism may enable access to potentially useful chemical products that are currently unknown.

“Because electronic and nuclear magnetic moments are involved in lots of different aspects of life, applications for this research exists all over the place,” Zadrozny said.

Garret Miyake

Garret Miyake has his Ph.D from CSU and completed his postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology and is the principal investigator for the Miyake Group. Originally starting his career at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Miyake has brought his entire research lab to CSU because of the new research building and the opportunity to return to the University he received his Ph.D from.

Two men stand holding small glowing vials
Assistant Professor Garret Miyake is a polymer chemist with a Ph.D. from Colorado State University. After doing postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology, Miyake went to CU Boulder to start his independent career, and this fall has brought his graduate and postdoctoral students to CSU with him. Miyake and his fourth year graduate student, Ryan Pearson, show off fluorescent nanoparticles they’ve synthesized (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

The Miyake Group researches polymer chemistry. Polymers are large molecules composed of small repeating units that are bonded together. The reason for this focus is because the Miyake group believes that polymers are the most important synthetic materials to modern society.The Miyake Group focuses on developing materials with specific structures on the nanoscale level that allow for polymers with structurally derived colors, similar to the colors that come from peacocks and butterflies.

“Polymers have impacted almost every aspect of our daily lives, and through developing new methods to make polymers, we hope to develop new materials that can further improve the quality of our lives,” Miyake said.

Through this research, applications including infrared reflective window paint can be created in order to keep cool air inside buildings in warm climates, which reduces costs for cooling costs of buildings and energy consumption. These polymers also have the potential to be 3-D printed to create optical light guides and filters as well as remove the need for toxic pigments or dyes.

“The most transformational impact I can have is my graduate students,” Miyake said. “It’s preparing researchers to be skilled and pursue careers, like research into making window paint and applying it to inefficient windows in the US.”

Collegian news reporter Julia Trowbridge can be reached at news@collegian.com or on twitter @chapin_jules.

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