Making Discoveries that Make a Difference

George Mason University will extend spring break, then move to virtual instruction. Find out what you need to know to be prepared. Visit Mason’s Coronavirus Information page.

Latest News

March 30, 2020
Their most recent article, “A carboxylate group-based organic anode for sustainable and stable sodium ion batteries”, was just published in the Journal of Power Sources.
This is at least the second publication bearing John Shea’s name this academic year; the first bearing Jinghao Huang’s name.  John and Jinghao are both enrolled in the M.S. program and have applied to the Ph.D. program to continue their work in Dr. Luo’s research lab.

A carboxylate group-based organic anode for sustainable and stable sodium ion batteries

March 30, 2020

Doctoral Defense

Candidate: Haley S. Ball

Program: Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry

Date of Defense: April 3, 2020

Time: 11:00 AM

Title: Development of Novel Antibiotics Targeting the First Committed Enzyme in the Methyl Erythritol Phosphate Pathway: MEP Synthase

Join us via Zoom Meeting:

Click here to join

Meeting ID: 181 841 421


Dr. Robin Couch, Dissertation Chair

Dr. Schroeder Noble

Dr. Barney Bishop

Dr. Cynthia Dowd

Dr. John Schreifels

Abstract:   The focus of this dissertation research is to develop novel antibiotics targeting the methylerythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) pathway in the following pathogenic organisms: Acinetobacter baumannii and Klebsiella pneumoniae (nosocomial pathogens), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the causative agent of tuberculosis), Plasmodium falciparum (the causative agent of malaria), and Yersinia pestis (the causative agent of the plague). Bacteria and apicomplexan protozoans utilize the MEP pathway to synthesize isoprenoids, a class of fundamental biomolecules, with critical cellular functions including electron transport and cell wall biosynthesis. Because mammalian cells use a different biochemical pathway for isoprenoid biosynthesis, the MEP pathway is a viable target for antibiotic development. Inhibition of 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (MEP synthase/IspC), the first committed enzyme of the MEP pathway, has been achieved with small phosphonic acid compounds such as fosmidomycin. Fosmidomycin suffers from bioavailability issues; however, it has been validated as an inhibitor of isoprenoid biosynthesis in vitro, and thus provides a promising scaffold for further drug development. The goals of this dissertation research are to determine structure-activity relationships (SARs) of rationally designed inhibitors based on the scaffold of fosmidomycin, elucidate the binding mechanisms of select inhibitors via enzyme assays and protein crystallization, and to assess the effect of select IspC inhibitors on targeted MEP pathway metabolite levels in bacterial cell cultures.

January 28, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Rebecca Jones on logging another publication for the academic year.  The article, “Recruiting and Enrolling Rural Students:  A Model for Increasing Diversity in STEM”, is about the RADSS program, which was created from an NSF S-STEM grant.

View All News


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

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry 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.

View more

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.

View more

Areas of Research

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Educational Chemistry
  • Electroanalytical Chemistry
  • Environmental/Aquatic Chemistry
  • Environmental Molecular Biology
  • Microemulsion Chemistry
  • Nanomaterials
  • Organic Materials & Polymer Chemistry
  • Solid-State Chemistry
  • Surface Chemistry
  • Synthetic Organic/Medicinal Chemistry
  • Theoretical Chemistry
  • View more

    Back to Top