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Department of

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Tammy Dwyer, PhD


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.

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Ph.D., University of California, San Diego; Chemistry
M.S.,University of California, San Diego; Chemistry
B.S., California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; Chemistry

Scholarly and Creative Work

Dwyer’s research program encompasses both physical-organic chemistry and biophysical chemistry.  One avenue of research involves using NMR spectroscopy combined with computational methods to probe electronic structures and dynamics in small organic molecules.  This work was funded in 1993 by the Petroleum Research Fund and has resulted in publications with undergraduate co-authors in Journal of Molecular Structure, Journal of Chemical Education and Journal of the American Chemical Society.  A second line of research involves investigating the stability and structural features of modified DNA duplexes and drug:DNA complexes using NMR spectroscopy and molecular dynamics.  This work has been funded by the San Diego Foundation and resulted in publications with undergraduate co-authors in Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Teaching Interests

Dwyer teaches a wide variety of chemistry courses including general chemistry lecture and laboratory, organic chemistry laboratory, analytical chemistry and instrumental analysis. She regularly teaches special topics courses that have included NMR spectroscopy, computational chemistry, and current topics in biological chemistry. Dwyer was awarded the 2001 Davies Award for Teaching Excellence.