Bookmark and Share

Department of

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Deborah C. Tahmassebi, PhD

Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

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.

Home Page



Ph.D., University of Washington, Chemistry (working with Tomikazu Sasaki, Ph.D.)
B.A., University of California, San Diego; Chemistry

Post-doctoral work, University of Rochester with Eric Kool, Ph.D. 

Scholarly and Creative Work

Tahmassebi’s various research projects focus on the synthesis and structural evaluation of biologically relevant molecules.  In a collaborative project with Tammy Dwyer, Ph.D., the interactions of DNA containing non-natural nucleosides with drug molecules are being studies by 2-D NMR and computational techniques.  Non-natural nucleosides are also being used in a collaborative project with Professor David Miller at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) to study protein motion.  In addition, Tahmassebi has an interest in enantioselective synthesis of amino acid-organometallic complexes. 

Tahmassebi has a great interest in encouraging young students to continue studying science. She coordinates the PURE – Pre-Undergraduate Research Experience program at USD which supports socio-economically disadvantaged students to attend USD and become involved in research early in their academic careers. Since 2001, she has served as chair of the Education Committee of the American Chemical Society, hosting a variety of high school chemistry events at USD.

Teaching Interests

Tahmassebi teaches organic chemistry and general chemistry lecture and laboratory courses.  She has taught several preceptorial and honors sections of general chemistry as well as an honors tandem general biology/general chemistry course.  In addition, she has also taught physical–organic laboratory and special topics biotechnology courses.

Tahmassebi enjoys augmenting the classroom teaching of students with student-faculty laboratory research.  Her research students have written up their research results as honors program theses and to publish in peer-reviewed journals.  Tahmassebi was awarded the USD Mens et Spiritus Honors Program Faculty Award in 2005.