Making Discoveries that Make a Difference

Upcoming Events

Chemistry and Biochemistry Seminar: Michael Massiah @ Innovation Hall 131 (Teleconference to BRH 254)
Feb 23 @ 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm

Characterizing the interactions of the B-box E3 ligase with E2 conjugating enzyme: Learning about protein ubiquitination.

Michael Massiah (George Washington University)

Dr. Massiah will present recent work on the B-box domain from the human MID1 protein.  The B-box domain may represent a new member of the ubiquitin E3 ligase, with similar fold as the RING-type E3 ligase. However, it has weaker activity. Despite this, it is require for the targeting and polyubiquitination of protein phosphatase 2A (a molecular master switch), alpha4, and the fused kinase.  To understand how the B-box domain functions, NMR and fluorescence spectroscopy were used to characterize its interaction with the E2 enzyme, UbcH5, and  mutagenesis to identify structural features that are important for ligase activity, and to engineer a more active E3 ligase.  He will also discuss interesting observation how RNA affect MID1 E3 ligase activity.

Latest News

Christian Acosta awarded ACS College Chemistry Achievement Award

The American Chemical Society awards the College Chemistry Achievement Awards to outstanding chemistry seniors or recent graduates from local universities.  Rebecca Jones nominated Christian for this award.





George Mason Chemistry welcomes Dr. Benoit Van Aken

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry gladly welcomes Dr. Benoit Van Aken as one of the newest members of the department.  Dr. Van Aken will join us in January 2018 as an Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry and will have a research lab at the Potomac Science Center.  He is currently an Associate Professor and the Director of the Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Temple University (Philadelphia, PA).  Dr. Benoit Van Aken earned a Masters in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering (1995) and a PhD in Biological Engineering (2000) at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. Dr. Van Aken is recognized for his research on the biodegradation of toxic organic pollutants by plants and bacteria.  His specific area of expertise is the use molecular biology techniques for understanding and solving environmental engineering problems, such as biodegradation, sustainable biofuel production, and waterborne pathogens.  Dr. Van Aken has published more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and he has received funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Agriculture, National Park Service, and Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program.

George Mason Chemistry welcomes Dr. Hao Jing

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry gladly welcomes Dr. Hao Jing as the newest member of the department.  Dr. Jing will join us in January 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry.  His research lab will be in Planetary Hall.  Dr. Jing is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at UCLA investigating nanoscale optical sensors based on plasmonic and rare-earth upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) for voltage sensing and neural activities recording.  He previously completed an industrial postdoctoral project at nanoComposix Inc. (San Diego, CA), where he designed and fabricated nanoparticles with various morphologies and optical properties and performed nanoparticle surface functionalization capable of targeting biomolecules.  Dr. Jing earned a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry (2015) from the University of South Carolina, with a focus on Nanoscience.  He also holds a M.S. in Organic Chemistry (2011) from the University of South Carolina, a M.S. in Inorganic Chemistry (2009) from Fudan University (China), and a B.E. in Polymers (2004) from Qingdao University of Science & Technology (China).


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Department Overview

Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry offers not only undergraduate programs leading to the BA and BS degree in Chemistry with optional concentrations in Biochemistry, Analytical Chemistry, and Environmental Chemistry, but also a five-year BS/Accelerated MS degree.

Our comprehensive undergraduate education in chemistry is designed to prepare students for professional careers in chemistry and for advanced studies in chemistry and chemistry-related areas such as environmental science, material science, biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, geochemistry, chemical waste management, pharmacy, forensic chemistry, and chemical engineering.

Students planning medical, dental, or veterinary careers may meet the requirements of these professional schools by majoring in chemistry.

Graduate Programs

The department’s graduate programs provide advanced training for students who are recent college graduates, professionals in teaching, or technical workers in local research organizations. Students select a specialization from the fields of analytical, biological, environmental, inorganic, organic, physical, or computational chemistry.

The graduate chemistry courses for these programs are usually offered during the late afternoon or evening hours for the convenience of students who are employed full-time.

Graduate fellowships and teaching/research assistantships are available to the most qualified of students.


A minimum grade of C is required in all prerequisite chemistry courses. Students failing to meet a prerequisite will get a registration error message that reads “PREREQ and TEST SCORE-ERROR” when attempting to register for advanced courses.

Areas of Research

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Educational Chemistry
  • Electroanalytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Geochemistry
  • Fuel Chemistry
  • Microemulsion Chemistry
  • Nonlinear Optical Chemistry
  • Organic and Polymer Synthesis
  • Solid-State Chemistry
  • Surface Chemistry
  • Theoretical Chemistry


Visitors are always welcome at the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry: Planetary Hall 303, Fairfax Campus.

Prospective students are especially encouraged to visit the campus; faculty members are happy to discuss academic and career opportunities in Chemistry.

Visit campus to experience the Mason Nation firsthand.

Arrange a department visit by calling the us at 703-993-1070, Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Driving Directions & Campus Maps

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