Robert Q. Topper

Professor of Chemistry


Our research is primarily in the areas of nanoscience, inorganic chemistry, and biophysical chemistry, using computational and theoretical chemistry. Most, but not all, of our work has an environmental focus. We currently have research grants for computing resources from Gridchem (GridChem CCG is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (grant 0438312)) and Amazon Web Services. The Gridchem grant gives my research students access to supercomputing facilities at Ohio Supercomputing Center, Univ. of Kentucky, NCSA, Texas Advanced Computing Center, and Louisiana State University.

Current interests include inorganic nanoparticles found in the environment; conformational dynamics of neurotransmitters; structural changes in DNA caused by chemically-induced damage by environmental mutagens (polyaromatic hydrocarbons and aromatic amines);  and organometallic chemistry. We are also interested in chalcogen chemistry (compounds of sulfur, selenium and tellurium), and nanomaterials formed from elements at the metal/metalloid interface (arsenic, antimony and especially bismuth). We work collaboratively with inorganic and organic chemists to model the compounds that they synthesize in an effort to help better understand the relationships between structures, spectra and reactivity.

I coordinate the freshman general chemistry laboratory course (essentially a course in quantitative analysis) and teach freshman, junior, senior and graduate-level courses in general, physical, and inorganic chemistry. I also direct engineering students in independent research, including graduate students in chemical engineering.

In 2012, I was honored by my students for my teaching efforts and named to the 2012 Engineering Student Council's "Student's List." I was also similarly honored in 2009. Thanks!

I'm on LinkedIn, and you can also follow my research discussions on ResearchGate.