The faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are dedicated professionals with wide-ranging areas of expertise representing an excellent cross-section of diverse fields of study. Their research interests, coupled with a demonstrated commitment to high-quality teaching, help students develop into fine scientists in their own right. Approachable and energetic, our faculty employs a variety of teaching methods and tools to create a learning environment in which each student can rise to his or her own potential.
Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry, University of North Dakota
Department Chair & Associate Professor
Dr. Applebee came to Elmhurst in 2000 after completing her Ph.D. and was quickly recognized for her dedication to student learning. In just her second year at Elmhurst she received the Elmhurst College President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her research focuses on sensor development for biological and environmental analytes. A devoted educator, Dr. Applebee serves the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society as its faculty advisor.
Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, Michigan State University
Dr. Losey joined Elmhurst's faculty in 1977, and throughout his tenure, he has been recognized as an extraordinary educator. In fact, he is one of the few members of the faculty who has received the Elmhurst College President's Award for Excellence in Teaching twice. He was the first holder of the T. W. Mueller Endowed Chair. His research interests include synthetic organic chemistry, green chemistry and chemical education.
Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Northwestern University
Dr. Johanson joined the Elmhurst College faculty in 2010 after spending a year teaching at Saint Xavier University in Chicago following the completion of her doctorate. Her interests lie in the area of enzymes and their use in detecting environmental pollutants. In addition to her research, Dr. Johanson is passionate about developing programs to make science accessible to the public at large, continuing the work she started at the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. She is currently working with the Dare to Dream program, introducing science to middle and high school Latina girls in the Chicago area.
Ph.D. in Theoretical/Physical Chemistry, Cornell University
Following her doctoral training, Dr. Sagarin joined the faculty of California State University,
Fresno, where she was awarded early tenure in 1999. She came to Elmhurst in 2002 after serving as associate director of the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence at Northwestern University. In 2009, Dr. Lawler-Sagarin was the recipient of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at Elmhurst College. Her research interests lie at the interface of computational, physical and inorganic chemistry, and her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Inorganic Chemistry and other publications. Her pedagogical interests include the use of technology and computational methods, chemistry curriculum, undergraduate research, and developing problem-solving skills through active learning.
Ph.D. in lnorganic Chemistry, North Carolina State University
Dr. Munro-Leighton joined the Elmhurst College faculty in 2012 after a post-doctoral fellowship at University of North Carolina and a two-year teaching appointment at Truman State University in Missouri. In the classroom she uses active learning techniques and current-event examples to encourage her students to appreciate the importance of chemistry in the real word. Her research seeks to address environmental issues, including the study of metal catalyst systems and carbon dioxide sequestration. In 2014, Dr. Munro-Leighton won the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry, Southern Illinois University
Ever on the cutting edge of education, Dr. Ophardt helped pioneer the use of the Internet and other technologies on campus. His highly successful online course, Chemistry and Issues in the Environment, is a popular choice among students. Recent publications include the CD-ROM Inorganic Molecules: A Visual Database. Dr. Ophardt is currently compiling and editing a website of chemistry demonstrations and, when he is not working with students, he is busy writing The Virtual Chembook. He recently helped develop Elmhurst's Personal Portfolio Program.