Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • Degree Type Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Science
  • Department Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Academic Division The College
  • Offerings Major

Students working in a lab Students working in a lab

Chemistry and Biochemistry students develop an understanding of chemistry and are encouraged to continue the pursuit of a deeper or broader understanding of the disciplines. Faculty are committed to preparing lifelong learners who are equipped with skills derived in W&L’s classrooms and laboratories.

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chemistry and biochemistry majors understand essential chemical principles and have a foundation of factual chemical knowledge on which they may build in the future. 

One of the greatest benefits of studying chemistry at W&L is the hands-on training students receive when using the state-of-the-art equipment for lab and research. Students can participate in summer research projects alongside faculty, as well as directed individual study during the academic year. These partnerships often lead to co-authoring papers in scientific journals and presenting at professional conferences.

“The wide variety of classes that I have taken over two years has taught me to be open-minded and to analyze problems from various perspectives.”

Anukriti Shrestha
Class of 2019

Matt Tuchler

Department Head

Oforiwaa Sam

Administrative Assistant

News


W&L’s Rheannon Loth ’24 Awarded a U.S. Teaching Assistantship to Austria

Loth will teach English in Austria for nine months before applying for the Peace Corps.

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W&L’s Sarp Sahin ’26 Awarded Goldwater Scholarship

Sahin is W&L’s first sophomore to receive the scholarship since 2009.

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Meet Sydney Fleming ’27

The first-year student says the Outing Club and W&L's proximity to great hiking and kayaking spots were a big draw.

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In Memoriam: J. Brown Goehring, Professor of Chemistry Emeritus

W&L’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter named the Phi Beta Kappa J. Brown Goehring Sophomore Award in his honor.

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Meet Tiwaniya Tyler ’24

With medical school on the horizon, Tyler embraces many opportunities such as research fellowship, studying abroad and sorority life.

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Jaden Keuhner '24 at Lexington's Gold Star Memorial at Jordan's Point.

Jaden Keuhner ’24 leaves a legacy honoring Gold Star families

Keuhner helped establish a memorial at Jordan’s Point dedicated to veterans killed in the line of duty and their families.

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W&L’s Kyle Friend Presents Nobel Prize Symposium Talk

Kyle Friend, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, will discuss this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine on Nov. 8 in Leyburn Library’s Harte Center.

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Digging Deep

W&L’s Summer Research Scholars program gives students hands-on experience in collaborative research with faculty mentors.

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Griffin Conti '26 and Christy Childs '26

Two Washington and Lee ROTC Students Receive Project Global Officer Grants

Christy Childs ’26 and Griffin Conti ’26 will receive funding to study foreign languages this summer.

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W&L seniors David Onyejekwe ’23, Jake McCabe ’23 and Bailey Keel ’23

Playing It Forward

Washington and Lee seniors David Onyejekwe ’23, Jake McCabe ’23 and Bailey Keel ’23 have created lasting connections with the local community as volunteer coaches for Lex Lax youth lacrosse.

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Nadia Ayoub and Kyle Friend

W&L Professors and Students Co-Author Peer-Reviewed Paper on Web-Weaving Spiders

Professors Nadia Ayoub and Kyle Friend, and students Jamal Magoti ’23, Maria Luzaran ’23, Cooper Lazo ’24 and Eman Muamar ’24 all contributed to the paper that appeared in the open science platform Frontiers.

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Meet David Li ’25

Li is excited to take advantage of the personalized education W&L offers and to explore the Lexington-Rockbridge area.

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Sample Courses

At W&L, we believe education and experience go hand-in-hand. You’ll be encouraged to dive in, explore and discover connections that will broaden your perspective.

CHEM 110

General Chemistry

A foundational course for those pursuing upper-level chemistry and biochemistry. Fundamental vocabulary, concepts and principles that appear throughout the chemistry and biochemistry curriculum are introduced, including basic chemistry calculations, quantum mechanics in chemistry, molecular structure, chemical thermodynamics and chemical kinetics.

CHEM 211

Analytical Chemistry

Emphasis on inorganic systems exhibiting aqueous solution equilibria. Topics covered include acid/base reactions, redox reactions, complexation, precipitation reactions and solution equilibrium. Laboratory work emphasizes basic wet-chemical as well as more sophisticated instrumental techniques of chemical quantitative analysis with appropriate statistical methods of data handling.

BIOL 150

Genetic Engineering & Society

In this course, we explore the nuts and bolts of genetic engineering and a small sampling of its applications, including developing drugs and vaccinations, enhancing crops, testing for genetic diseases, and genetic testing in the courtroom. These applications introduce ethical considerations for us to debate. In addition, we use molecular-biology tools to carry out our own genetic engineering projects with spider silk genes, which have potential for multiple medical and industrial applications.

CHEM 106

Disorder & Chaos

An interdisciplinary introduction to the concepts underlying nonlinear dynamics and fractal geometry emphasizing the theories of chaos and complexity. Students study mathematical and computer modeling of physical and social systems and interpret the results of these models using graphical methods and written descriptions.

CHEM 156

Science in Art

This course develops students’ fundamental understanding of certain physical, chemical, biological and geological concepts and utilizes that vocabulary and knowledge to discuss 17th-century Dutch art. The emphasis is on key aspects of optics, light and chemical bonding needed to understand how a painting “works” and how art conservators analyze paintings in terms of conservation and authenticity, using techniques such as X-ray radiography, X-ray powder diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, Raman microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, infrared microscopy, infrared reflectography, gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, UV-vis spectroscopy, UV photography and laser ablation methods.

Meet the Faculty

At W&L, students enjoy small classes and close relationships with professors who educate and nurture.

Matt Tuchler
Matt Tuchler

Matt Tuchler

Head of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department; Associate Professor of Chemistry

Tuchler teaches many upper-level physical chemistry courses. His research group developed a technique to measure the equilibrium constant as a function of temperature for any gas phase equilibrium of the form.

Andrea Abry
Andrea Abry

Andrea Abry

Instructor of Chemistry/Supervisor of Labs

Abry teaches General Chemistry, Disorder and Chaos, and Aqueous Inorganic Quantitative Chemistry.

Nick Alden
Nick Alden

Nick Alden

Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Curriculum Vitae

Lisa Alty
Lisa Alty

Lisa Alty

John T. Herwick, M.D. Professor of Chemistry

Alty teaches courses in upper-level chemistry, primarily organic. Her research focuses on laboratory instruction in chemistry.

Curriculum Vitae

Connell Cunningham
Connell Cunningham

Connell Cunningham

Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Curriculum Vitae

Steve Desjardins
Steve Desjardins

Steve Desjardins

Professor of Chemistry

Desjardins teaches courses in general and physical chemistry. His research interests include statistical mechanics, nonlinear dynamics, and chemical kinetics.

Curriculum Vitae

Kyle Friend
Kyle Friend

Kyle Friend

Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Kyle Friend teaches courses on genetic engineering and biochemistry at all levels. His research uses mouse embryonic stem cells to investigate how mRNA translation and stability are regulated as stem cells differentiate into other cell types.

Curriculum Vitae

Erin Gray
Erin Gray

Erin Gray

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Erin Gray teaches organic chemistry, and her research seeks to employ synthetic organic chemistry to answer unsolved questions in biology. She designs new catalytic transformations for the synthesis of complex molecules, with the goal of using these reactions to label and study biomolecules.

Curriculum Vitae

Sarah Kim
Sarah Kim

Sarah Kim

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Curriculum Vitae

Fred LaRiviere
Fred LaRiviere

Fred LaRiviere

Associate Dean of the College; Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

LaRiviere’s courses include Teaching Inquiry in the Local Schools, Mechanisms of Cancer and Advanced Biochemistry. Each summer, he also supervises a number of research students.

Donna Smith
Donna Smith

Donna Smith

Instructor of Chemistry

Smith teaches Organic Chemistry and Spectroscopic Methods.

Curriculum Vitae

Erich Uffelman
Erich Uffelman

Erich Uffelman

Bentley Professor of Chemistry

Uffelman teaches courses in upper-level inorganic chemistry. He also teaches courses that overlap with the Art and Art History Department, such as Science in Art. Uffelman regularly supervises summer research students.

Curriculum Vitae

Andrea Abry
Nick Alden
Lisa Alty
Connell Cunningham
Steve Desjardins
Kyle Friend
Erin Gray
Sarah Kim
Fred LaRiviere
Donna Smith
Erich Uffelman
Matt Tuchler