/ Chemistry Department


We’re one of the first colleges in the country to offer undergraduate student/faculty research in chemistry, beginning in 1947.

A strong research program is the foundation of our department and the reason our students are so successful. We offer research through traditional Loading... as well as independent faculty-student research.

Current Research Projects


Brown Group

  • Electrochemical Preparation and Characterization of Chemically Modified Electrodes. Led by Dr. Kenneth L. Brown.

Burnatowska-Hledin Group

Chase Group

  • Regulation of Cystine/Glutamate Exchange by System xc-. Led by Leah A. Chase.

Dittenhafer-Reed Group

Pikaart Group

  • Protein-DNA Interactions in the Developing Red Blood Cell and Interference by Toxic Metals. Led by Dr. Michael J. Pikaart.

Stewart Group

  • The Development of Interdisciplinary, Investigative Case Studies in Science. Led by Dr. Joanne L. Stewart.
Inorganic Chemistry Research

Elinski Group

  • Surface chemistry and tribology with applications in drig-delivery nanomaterials on joint sliding and cartilage repair. Led by Dr. Meagan Elinski.

Goch Group

  • Development of nanomaterials for water remediation and energy-related applications in a sustainable manner. Led by Dr. Natalia Gonzalez-Pech.

Turlington Group


Gillmore Group

  • Photochromic Photooxidants: a new application of old photochromes, toward gating photoinduced charge transfer. Led by Dr. Jason G. Gillmore.

Sanford Group

Johnson Group

  • Organometallic catalysis for the activation and functionalization of C-C single bonds. Led by Dr. Jeffrey B. Johnson.

Krueger Group

  • Biophysical Studies Using Laser Spectroscopy and Computational Modeling. Led by Dr. Brent P. Krueger.

Polik Group

  • Laser Spectroscopy and Computational Chemistry of Highly Energetic Molecules. Led by Dr. William F. Polik.

Research History

Hope’s first faculty research space was developed by biologist Samuel Mast in Van Raalte Hall in 1903. Our department’s current approach to research that features student and faculty collaboration was developed by chemist Dr. Gerrit Van Zyl during his tenure (1923–55). He made it a point to involve students in research as a teaching tool and also helped obtain outside funding to support it.

Today, the level of student-faculty collaboration on real, ongoing chemistry research projects sets Hope apart from other undergraduate institutions and distinguishes our graduates from their peers.


In the past 10 years, 70 grants have been awarded to Department of Chemistry faculty, totaling over $12 million.

American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund
  • Gillmore (2019) $70,000
  • Turlington (2018) $55,000
American Heart Association
  • Burnatowska-Hledin (2019) $154,000
Department of Education FIPSE Award
  • Shorb and Krueger (2019) $161,000
National Science Foundation
  • Krueger (2019) $400,000
  • Dittenhafer-Reed (2018) $208,000
  • Johnson (2018) $274,000

Awards and Recognition

Faculty Awards

Our faculty has received many accolades for their work at Hope through teaching and research, including:

  • Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Award: Gillmore (2015), Seymour (2013)
  • Ruth & John Reed Faculty Achievement Award: Chase (2019), Johnson (2016), Stewart (2010)
  • Towsley Scholarship: Dittenhafer-Reed (2019), Anderson (2013), Johnson (2010)
  • Provost's Award for Service to the Academic Program: Burnatowska-Hledin (2016)
  • Academic Computing Innovation Award: Polik (2013)
  • Hope College Alumni 10 Under 10 Award: Elinski (2020), Klein (2020), Dittenhafer-Reed (2019), Rosnik (2019), Maley (2019)
  • Vanderbush-Weller Award: Sanford (2019), Gillmore (2015)
  • Board of Trustees: Krueger (2014), Stewart (2010)
  • Academic Affairs Board Chair: Polik (2013), Krueger (2011)
  • Status Committee: Sanford (2019), Gillmore (2014)
  • Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship: Polik (2016-2019)
  • Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award: Johnson (2015), Gillmore (2014)
  • NSF CAREER Award: Johnson (2012), Gillmore (2010)
  • ACS Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences: Chemistry Department (2013)
  • ACS Inorganic Division Award: Anderson and Ohnsorg (2016)
  • Midstates Consortium for Math and Science Janet Andersen Lecture Award: Stewart (2018)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows: Johnson (2017), Polik (2006)
  • CUR Councilor: Polik (2013)

Student Awards

Our students are often recognized on a college and national level for their work in courses and research, including:

  • Hope Senior Research Award
  • Southland Award
  • Sigma Xi Award
  • The Zuidema Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research
  • Otto Vander Velde All-Campus Award
  • Inorganic Chemistry Award from the American Chemical Society
  • First-Year Chemistry Book Award
  • ACS Analytical Award
  • ACS Inorganic Award for Outstanding Performance
  • Organic Chemistry Book Award
  • Physical Chemistry Award
  • ACS Organic Chemistry Award
  • Drs. Eugene C. and Elaine Z. Jekel Award
  • Chemistry Department Award for Excellence
  • Almon T. Godfrey Prize in Chemistry

Learn more about our award-winning faculty and students