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Chemistry & Physics


Students Present Biomass Research in Austria
UST ACS Receives Two National Awards at Conference in Denver
Physics Mino Builds a Better Battery in Germany
Nanogroup Teaches Science at Children’s Museum
Professor Makes Chemistry Fun
Students Present Biomass Research in Austria

Jennifer Hoang, senior pre-dental student, and Alyssa Mullery, senior chemistry major, traveled to Vienna, Austria, to contribute to the international conversation and present their biomass research at the 23rd European Biomass Conference and Expo on June 1. Read more

UST ACS Receives Two National Awards at Conference in Denver

The UST student chapter of the American Chemical Society received an Outstanding Award at the 249th ACS National Meeting held in Denver. The UST chapter was also nationally recognized as a “green chapter” for the successful completion of at least three green chemistry and engineering activities. Read more

Physics Mino Builds a Better Battery in Germany

Elizabeth Maccato, a senior biology major and physics minor, conducted research this summer in Duisburg, Germany, exploring nanoparticles in lithium ion batteries. Read more

Nanogroup Teaches Science at Children’s Museum

Fifteen students from the UST chapter of the American Chemical Society volunteered to build towers of carbon nanotubes made out of balloons for the Children’s Museum of Houston’s Nano Days. The students were directed by Dr. Birgit Mellis, assistant professor of physics in the Department of Chemistry and Physics. Read more

Professor Makes Chemistry Fun

Through individual attention, the University of St. Thomas Chemistry Department prepares pre-health students for success in medical and dental school and other health programs. See a sample Organic Chemistry class about ethers, and meet Dr. Bill Tinnerman, a professor of Chemistry, Dr. Duyen Nguyen '00, an alumni physician, and current students. Learn more

At the University of St. Thomas, chemistry, biochemistry and physics are consolidated into one academic department.

Students in the chemistry program will study chemistry as both a subject and a process. As a subject, chemistry deals with the properties of the different elements that constitute matter as we experience it, the forces that hold matter together and the energy changes associated with changes in matter. As a process, chemistry is concerned with the tools and techniques of investigating matter, the interpretation of the results of these investigations and the various models used to explain the experimental outcomes.

The field of biochemistry has become a complex and wide-ranging discipline that focuses on addressing biological questions through the application of chemical principles and techniques. Students will be exposed to the breadth of biochemistry through their courses and research experiences. By providing a strong background in chemistry and biology, the theory and practice of biochemistry prepare students for graduate school, professional school or employment.

Physics, often termed the fundamental science, attempts to discover all laws that govern the physical universe. Physics further seeks to express these laws in a mathematical language to quantitatively model and understand the past, present and even future state for a system. All areas of science, technology and engineering rest upon the principles that control matter and motion. The objective of the physics program is to provide an excellent undergraduate opportunity as a minor and as a service to other departments and programs that require physics courses for their major, minor and/or pre-professional program.

Student Research
The department has a Welch Foundation Grant that supports its extensive undergraduate research program. Students collaborate with faculty on research projects during both the academic year and summer. Current research areas include bioanalytical chemistry, biological chemistry, biophysics, chemical and physics education, combustion science and engineering, computational physics and chemistry, electrochemistry, energy and fuels, environmental chemistry, nanotechnology, organic synthesis, separations and spectroscopy. The results of this work have been published in highly regarded scientific journals and presented at both local and national professional scientific meetings.

The Chemistry and Physics Department is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Students who take the full ACS-approved curriculum in chemistry or biochemistry will be certified by the ACS, which provides a widely recognized verification of the quality of your education. 

American Chemical Society—Student Chapter

The UST ACS student chapter brochure outlines the opportunities for research, travel and community service available to members. All students are welcome to join, make new friends and receive help for science courses. Students who have participated in research may be eligible to present at the annual ACS National Meeting.

Chemistry, B.A.
Chemistry, B.S. 
Biochemistry, B.S.


Chemistry and Physics Department Brochure
Course Catalog
What can I do with this major?
American Chemical Society


Please contact the Chemistry & Physics Department for scholarship information.

Dr. John A. Palasota, Chair

Chemistry Faculty
Dr. Richa Chandra
Dr. Robert Ellison
Dr. Sarah Ghaoui
Dr. Javoris Hollingsworth
Dr. Elmer Ledesma
Dr. Michelle Steiger
Dr. Crystal Young

Physics Faculty
Dr. James Clarage
Dr. Birgit Mellis

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University of St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.
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