photo of chemistry lab desktop


The Reed chemistry program is designed to give students a broad yet deep understanding of chemical phenomena.

Most courses include substantial laboratory work, which allows students to learn the experimental skills used by practicing chemists. Reed students learn to use a broad array of scientific instruments, including an inductively coupled plasma mass-spectrophotometer, a superconducting 400 MHz Fourier transform NMR spectrometer, a single crystal X-ray diffractometer, and many more.

Students who study chemistry also learn to interpret experimental data—and to use molecular modeling programs to create conceptual models that assist with data analysis.

In addition to the standalone chemistry degree, there are many interdisciplinary approaches to the field. New faculty members in Reed chemistry are bringing perspectives that are unique: for example, Assistant Professor Gonzalo Campillo-Alvarado investigates the aspects that govern the formation of molecular crystals with dynamic properties, and Assistant Professor Nicole James explores how educators can support the teaching and learning of the foundational concepts and skills that define materials chemistry.

Reed offers degrees in chemistry; biochemistry and molecular biology; and environmental studies-chemistry. Students can also study chemical engineering by combining studies at Reed with studies at another institution.

Half of Reed students who graduate with a degree in chemistry go on to graduate school or technical graduate training. Chemistry graduates have won prestigious awards including the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

“The professors in the chemistry department are knowledgeable, supportive, and make the course incredibly fun. I feel like I’ve learned more in one semester than I did throughout all of high school.”SAVANNAH MCBRIDE ’20

Professor profile

Professor Shivani Ahuja

Structural Biochemistry
Picture of Professor Shivani Ahuja

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Shivani Ahuja studies how metal ions and small molecules are ferried across cell membranes with the aid of proteins known as transporters—a type of phenomena that mediates many critical biological processes in all forms of life. In particular, she focuses on understanding the role of manganese and zinc homeostasis in the virulence, regulation, and inhibition of pathogenic bacteria. This field lies at the intersection of chemistry, biology, and physics, with immense scope for interdisciplinary research.

Shivani uses cutting edge biophysical techniques like single-particle cryogenic electron microscopy, single crystal x-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and fluorescence spectroscopy to study various biologically critical membrane proteins. She was recently awarded a Life Sciences grant from the Murdock College Research Program for Natural Sciences.

Download Chemistry Flyer as a PDF

Special Programs

Chemistry Seminars
Chemistry students and faculty gather for weekly seminars that bring chemists from all over the country to campus to discuss their work.

New Lab
The new lab is currently programmed to serve two courses: Analytical Chemistry and Biochemistry. The lab has room for up to twenty-four students and includes two fume hoods, ‘snorkels’ over each lab table, an adjoining prep room, and whiteboards that slide over to expose storage shelves.

Faculty Grants, Awards & Fellowships

National Science Foundation, CAREER.
Spectroscopic Investigations of Biological Tellurium and Selenium Detoxification.
National Science Foundation, RUI.
H-NOX Homologues in Biofilm Formation: A Combined Molecular and Systems Level Approach.
Department of Energy, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy of a Eukaryotic, Iron-requiring Arginine Transferase.

American Chemical Society, Petroleum Research Fund Undergraduate New Investigator
National Science Foundation, XSEDE Startup. Proton Tunneling in Organometallic Hydrocarbon Activation

The Murdock College Research Program for Natural Sciences. Structural Investigations of Metal-ion Import by Pathogenic Bacteria via an ATP Binding Cassette Transporter.

Research Fellowships

The chemistry department awards a number of fellowships to encourage and support Reed students in special research projects with faculty, both on and off campus, during the summer months. Summer research funding is available through the following sources:

• Glenn Clark Memorial Research Fund
• Marshall W. Cronyn Student Research Fund
• Professor Maggie Geselbracht Chemistry Student Research Fund
• Kaye V. Ladd Student-Faculty Research Fund
• R.T. Leber Chemistry Fellowship Fund
• Dr. Jane Galbraith Shell Raymond Student Research Fund in Chemistry
• Arthur F. Scott and Marshall W. Cronyn Student Research Fund
• Alfred W. Weitkamp Student Research Bursary Fund
• Frank H. Westheimer Research Fund

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Grant

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Grant provides funding to counter the historical exclusion of marginalized students in the physical sciences. Gordon and Betty Moore Fellows conduct 10 weeks of paid summer research with a Reed faculty mentor and engage in career development and community building programming.

What Do Alumni Do?

PhD Student
Columbia University
Liam Farley ’21

Reactor Electronics Technician
Armed Forces Radiobiological Research Institute
Addison Guynn ’21

PhD Student
Stanford University
Ipsita Krishnamurthy ’20

PhD Student
Princeton University
Sophie G. Bender ’20

Graduate Research Fellow
The Berkeley Lab
Orion Cohen ’18

Senior Research Associate
Impossible Foods
Josh Brian Tsang ’18

Graduate Research Assistant
The University of Chicago
Carlo Clinton Berti ’16

Assistant Professor
Knight Cardiovascular Institute, Oregon Health & Science University
Steve Mansoor ’97

Puppet Labs
Luke Kanies ’96

Chief of Staff
Ebola Response Team, WHO
Katherine DeLand ’95