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Welcome from the Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Duquesne University believe in a heretical idea -- not theologically heretical, but educationally heretical. In an era when huge chemistry departments fill lecture halls with hundreds of students and strive to export on-line lectures to thousands of students around the globe, we believe in individualized instruction. We believe that the way to inspire students and help them build the skills necessary for a lifetime of living, learning, working, and serving others-in science, medicine, management, or any other field-is a personalized approach built around close student-faculty interactions.

Thus, students learn to think like scientists by doing science, they learn to communicate science by working in small cohorts closely mentored by individual professors, and they learn to manipulate matter-the hallmark of a chemist-by getting into the research lab as early as possible, frequently during their freshman year! Our emphasis on developing each student into a skillful, knowledgeable, socially responsible, well-rounded leader by focusing on authentic research, working closely within small mentored cohorts, and "serving God by serving students" makes our departmental culture unique.

Duquesne's Chemistry and Biochemistry Department combines world-class research with the intimacy and attention of a small liberal arts college. For students, this means unequaled access to a faculty renowned for ground-breaking, interdisciplinary research and scholarship, working on real-life problems. Our commitment to Duquesne's Teacher-Scholar Model also means that our faculty brings their newly-minted knowledge straight from the lab to the graduate or undergraduate classroom and constantly strives to develop and disseminate fresh ways to bring new ideas and skills to our students. Our distinctive departmental culture and close partnership with Duquesne's Center for Teaching Excellence makes us better teachers and helps our students polish their communication and teaching skills. Chemistry studentsThus, our students build portfolios that attest to their communication abilities, giving them a distinct advantage in their pursuit of advanced degrees, faculty jobs, or industrial positions. The success of our unique approach is proven by the success and satisfaction of our graduates (see their video testimonials in the sidebar at right), who in recent years have gone on to graduate study, postdoctoral training, or employment at world-renowned institutions such as Carnegie-Mellon, Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Yale Medical School, the Yale School of Public Health, Bayer, PPG, Valspar, NIH, and the CDC.

We are proud of our students, excited to share our progress with you, and invite you to learn more by browsing our website or contacting us directly!

Ralph A. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Professor and Department Chair
Fellow, American Chemical Society