Desmond Murray

Desmond Murray

Title: Associate Professor of Chemistry
Office Location: Halenz Hall 127

Phone: (269) 471-6087


Post-doctoral Fellow, Harvard University
PhD Chemistry, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
BS Chemistry, Andrews University

Current Research or Professional Activities

An underlying scientific theme of my laboratory research program is novel juxtapositioning of organic functional groups and investigation of their unique chemical, physical and biological properties. This approach has already led to new compounds, materials, synthetic processes and applications. We anticipate further significant progress and innovation based on this strategic approach. Specific ongoing research projects that illustrate the scope of this approach involve (a) Boronic Acid Substituted Flavonoids, (b) Donor - Acceptor Azachalcone Sensors For Electrophilic Agents, (c) Lewis Acid Catalyzed Electrophilic Carbonyl Additions: Synthesis of Novel-Functionalized Acylals, and (d) Synthesis, Spectroscopy and Applications of Novel Chalcone Stilbenes.

An important broader impact of my research program is the early participation of high school and college students in chemical research. This approach has led to (i) the incorporation of a 12-week Independent Research Period (IRP) into the spring semester of sophomore organic chemistry, (ii) development of an inquiry-based laboratory research pilot course for Grade 12 chemistry, and (iii) establishment of the Building Excellence in Science and Technology (BEST) nonprofit organization designed and developed to provide early formal and informal science education research experiences for high school and college students. This includes providing paid summer research jobs for high school and college students. Special emphasis is made to include the following groups of students: (a) traditionally underrepresented students, (b) students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and (c) other students with little access to research experiences, infrastructure, institutions and/or opportunities.

My overall professional objective is to integrate teaching, research and service aspects of my work into a synergistic whole. This is reflected in my professional activities which includes being (1) Founder & Executive Director of Building Excellence in Science and Technology (BEST), (2) Director of the Socrates After School Project and (3) Editor and Columnist for Benton Spirit Community Newspaper.