Interim Chair/Associate Professor
Jessica Bell, PhD, joined the University of San Diego faculty in 2014. Dr. Bell’s teaching interests lie in Biochemistry and Biophysics, but she also enjoys engaging first year students in the General Chemistry laboratory course. Her current research focus is on host-pathogen interactions and the structure-function relationships that build the host’s defense mechanisms.
Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor
Lauren Benz, PhD, joined the University of San Diego in 2009 as the recipient of a Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professorship. Her teaching interests are in the areas of general, inorganic, and physical chemistry. She strives to motivate students by incorporating fun and interactive demonstrations in class, and by connecting the course material to the real world. Lauren’s research merges the general areas of surface science and materials chemistry, and focuses on the development of an atomic-level understanding of structure-reactivity relationships.
James Bolender, PhD, came to University of San Diego in 1996 after a post-doctoral experience in the department of Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University. He currently serves as the director of USD’s Honors Program. Bolender has received more than $700,000 in grants to assist in the purchase of equipment and to support undergraduate research. Bolender was awarded the Davies Award for Teaching Excellence in 2007.
Timothy B. Clark joined the faculty at USD in 2011. His teaching and research are focused on the areas of organic and organometallic chemistry. His passion lies in leading undergraduate students to an appreciation for the richness of chemical concepts and inquiry. Undergraduate students are incorporated into every aspect of his research and are given the opportunity to engage in part-time research during the academic year and full-time research experiences during the summer, which has been funded by grants from the Research Corporation for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society–Petroleum Research Fund, and the National Institutes of Health.
David O. De Haan, PhD, came to USD in 2001 from Lyon College. He teaches technology-rich courses in analytical and environmental chemistry. His undergraduate research group is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the chemical changes occurring in clouds and aerosol. As part of this project, USD students are identifying and quantifying new, previously unknown sources of urban haze. He has worked with USD’s Energy Policy Initiatives Center (EPIC) to create a greenhouse gas inventory for San Diego County and to outline ways to meet state targets for greenhouse gas reductions by 2020.
Office Hours: Sabbatical 2014-2015
Tammy J. Dwyer, PhD, joined the faculty at the University of San Diego in 1994. She served as chair of the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry from 2001-2009. Dwyer is passionate about chemistry and enjoys teaching how theory and experiment blend to enhance our understanding of the physical world and of chemical phenomena. She strives to create a positive and relaxed classroom atmosphere to facilitate learning while setting high standards for her students and providing them with the tools to meet the course goals. She maintains an active research program involving undergraduates focused on using NMR spectroscopy and computational methods to study structure and dynamics in both small and large molecules.
Office: Hughes Center 214
Dr. Herrinton joined the department in 1987. He is an inorganic chemist whose research background is in the kinetics and mechanisms of transition metal complexes. Currently he teaches General Chemistry lecture, and he is interested in the optimal conceptual approaches to teaching specific topics such as acid/base theory and Le Chatelier’s Principle in that class. Dr. Herrinton has been on administrative assignment since 2001.
Peter M. Iovine, PhD, became a member of the faculty in 2002, His teaching interests lie in the areas of organic chemistry, organometallic chemistry and polymer chemistry. In addition to formal classroom teaching, Iovine is interested in how community service learning can be implemented into the chemistry curriculum. Iovine’s research bridges organic and polymer chemistry, placing an emphasis on the organic chemistry of boron and the conversion of biomass into functional materials.
Mitch Malachowski, PhD, has been on the faculty since 1984. He believes strongly in finding ways to enhance student learning and student outcomes and makes this a priority in his teaching, research and service. He teaches courses in various aspects of organic chemistry and organic chemistry laboratories. His research interests range from the synthesis of novel organic molecules to the history and philosophy of science to the proper role of research at undergraduate institutions. He has served as the president of the Council on Undergraduate Research and takes on many roles in that organization. Malachowski has received two University Professorships from USD (1996-1997 and 2002-2003) and the Charles B. Willard award for distinguished career achievement from Rhode Island College.
Joseph Provost, PhD, joined the faculty at the University of San Diego in 2013. Dr. Provost has taught a wide range of chemistry and biochemistry courses and is interested in how to bring novel pedagogies of engagement into the classroom and teaching laboratory. Provost has been involved with a number of organizations involved to enrich the experience of undergraduates including: the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Council on Undergraduate Research and Project Kaleidoscope. Provost ‘s research involves focuses the role transport protein plays in directed cell motility and tumor progression and how these membrane proteins regulate other critical mammalian cell functions.
Dr. Joan Schellinger joins University of San Diego as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. A native of the Philippines, Dr. Schellinger received her doctorate in organic chemistry from University of California Davis in 2010 under the supervision of Professor Jacquelyn Gervay-Hague. She was as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington Seattle in Professor Suzie H. Pun’s laboratory where she mentored and worked with graduate and undergraduate students. She was one of the recipients of the very first Postdoctoral Mentoring Award in 2013 offered by the University of Washington Graduate School. The award was created to honor and acknowledge the significant role that postdoctoral trainees play in the lives and education of graduate and undergraduate students.
Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Office: Founders Hall 114
Debbie Tahmassebi, PhD, joined the faculty in 1999. She is an organic chemist with interests in the synthesis and structural studies of molecules, primarily studying novel nucleosides and amino-acid derivatives. She enjoys teaching the excellent undergraduate students at USD and working with them on collaborative research projects in the laboratory.