Stephen F. Austin State University

Faculty & Staff

Dr. Brian Barngrover
Dr. Brian Barngrover - Assistant Professor Educational Background: Kansas Wesleyan University, 2010, B.S. Forensic Science/Biomedical Chemistry; Kansas State University, 2014, Business Administration Graduate Certificate; Kansas State University, 2015, Ph.D., Physical Chemistry Research/Areas of Interest: Computational/Physical Chemistry Office: Math Building; Room 124 Phone: 936.468.1568
Dr. Barngrover's research emphasizes computational chemistry. His research involves studying thiolate protected noble metal and bimetallic nanoparticles. Thiolate protected noble metal nanoparticles are of great interest in many applications such as drug delivery and therapy, catalysts, sensors, electronics, and optics. This research will study the underlying growth mechanism of noble metal thiolate protected nanoparticles in an effort to understand the driving forces that play key roles in their growth. Research will parameterized the reactive force fields for the noble metal nanoparticles.
Dr. Russell Franks
Dr. Russell Franks - Assistant Professor Educational Background: SFASU, 1994, B.S. Chemistry, 1996, M.S. Chemistry; University of Oklahoma, 2002, Ph.D. Chemistry Research/Areas of Interest: Organic chemistry, Alternative fuels, organometallic chemistry, chemical education Office: Math Building, Room 114 Phone: 936.468.2199

Dr. Franks' research interests are in the study of the chemical and physical properties of biodiesel fuels made from a wide variety of plant- and animal-derived triglyceride sources. His group is presently studying the use of microwave heating methods to facilitate biodiesel synthesis, the synthesis of biodiesels made from less-commonly used alcohol sources, and the synthesis and characterization of biodiesels made from plant-derived feedstocks that are not used for food by humans. Biodiesel samples are characterized using IR spectroscopy, NMR spectroscopy, GC/MS, viscometry, and bomb calorimetry.

I was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. My dissertation research was in organometallic catalysis. I taught for two years at OU, and have been at SFA since July of 2005. I teach General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry here at SFA. In my free time, I enjoy music, cooking, reading, family activities, and following OU Football.

Dr. Alyx Frantzen
Dr. Alyx Frantzen - Associate Professor Educational Background: Texas Lutheran University, 1991, B.S. Mathematics, Chemistry; New Mexico State University, 1996, M.S. Chemistry, Mathematics; New Mexico State University, 1998, Ph.D. Physical Chemistry Research/Areas of Interest: Physical Chemistry Office: Math Building, Room 119 Phone: 936.468.2338
Dr. Frantzen's research involves phylloaluminosilicates. These materials are commonly used as ubiquitous adsorbents, but can also be tailored for use as highly selective adsorbents. The clays have been modified using amino acids and have been successfully used to separate racemic mixtures. Clays are also being exchanged with metalloporphyrins to examine the changes in the absorption/emission spectra of the macro cycle. While most of Dr. Frantzen's research involves clays, research is also being done on the effects of Yaupon, Chinese Tallow, and Chinese privet on surface fuel volatility in the East Texas Region. These all represent invasive plant species that have been introduced into East Texas. The work being done with these species will investigate total volatility of these surface fuels in fire models. The volatile components of each invasive species will be evaluated using oxygen bomb calorimetry, thermal gravimetric measurements, and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.
Dr. Darrell Fry
Dr. Darrell Fry - Associate Professor Educational Background: Stephen F. Austin State University, 1995, B.S.; University of Arkansas, 2001, Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry Research/Areas of Interest: Analytical Chemistry -- Fourier Transform methods in Microsoft Excel Office: Math Building, Room 120 Phone: 936.468.1406
Dr. Fry's experience and training have fed two passions in research which he continues to pursue: understanding fluorescent probes molecules, exciting students about chemistry. In his Ph.D., Dr. Fry worked extensively with fluorescent probe molecules in hydrophobic environments. He has extended this interest to understanding the interaction between the chemical microenvironment and the probe molecule. Currently, Dr. Fry is working with fluorescein and porphyrins. For fluorescein, his goal is to understand fluorescein in different solvent systems. With this understanding, some of the limitations of fluorescein as a probe molecule can be overcome. His goals with the porphyrins are to develop a solid-state fluorescence sensor for various metals in solution. As a college professor and high school teacher, Dr. Fry has learned the importance of exciting students about learning chemistry. Currently he is working with college students in developing a series of chemical demonstrations for younger students. Moreover, he is also working at developing new laboratories for college students.
Dr. J. Brannon Gary
Dr. J. Brannon Gary - Assistant Professor Educational Background: University of Texas at Tyler, B.S. Chemistry; University of Michigan, Ph.D. Inorganic Chemistry Research/Areas of Interest: Bioinorganic and bioinspired catalysis Office: Math Building, Room 116 Phone: 936.468.2189
Dr. Gary earned his B.S. in chemistry with a minor in mathematics from the University of Texas at Tyler. He received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry with Prof. Melanie Sanford at the University of Michigan studying organometallic C-H activation. He then served as a NIH postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University under Prof. T. Daniel P. Stack studying the potential biological role of the copper(III) oxidation state. Following his time at Stanford, he served as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Tom Cundari at the University of North Texas studying inorganic and organometallic reaction mechanisms using density functional theory calculations. His current research interests are generally in the theme of bioinorganic and bioinspired catalysis. His lab utilizes computational and experimental chemistry to study inorganic complexes for the development of new oxidation reactions.
Dr. Xiaozhen (Jenny) Han
Dr. Xiaozhen (Jenny) Han - Assistant Professor Educational Background: Huangshan University, 2009, B.S. Chemistry; Nankai University, 2012, M.S. Organic Chemistry; Baylor University, 2016, Ph.D. Inorganic Chemistry Research/Areas of Interest: Inorganic Chemistry - Organometallic Synthesis, Inorganic Reaction Mechanism and Bioinorganic Catalysis Office: Math Building, Room 117 Phone: 936.468.2384
Dr. Han received her Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry with Prof. Patrick Farmer at Baylor University investigating enzymatic and non-enzymatic reaction process of bioactive molecule flavonol with HNO and oxygen. Dr. Han's research interests are in the field of inorganic & organic synthesis, structure characterization, reaction kinetics and mechanism, and bioinorganic catalysis. The group is involved in designing and synthesizing new flavonol derivatives as ligands and their platinum, ruthenium, osmium coordinated complexes for biomedical applications. Another area of research interest is designing and synthesizing coenzyme NADH/NADPH model molecules to investigate the process of electron transfer, proton transfer, hydrogen atom transfer and hydride transfer in vitro. Students in Dr. Han's lab will learn about inorganic &organic synthesis and various instruments such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (1HNMR, 13CNMR, COSY, gHSQC, HMBC), Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry, Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry, Tandem Mass Spectrometry, KF Titration, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Column Chromatography, Cyclic Voltammetry, glove box, crystallization, FT-IR, fluorescence and UV-vis.
Dr. Michele Harris
Dr. Michele Harris - Professor, Assistant Chair, and Graduate Advisor Educational Background: University of Central Oklahoma, 1990, B.S. Chemistry; University of Arkansas, 1994, Ph.D. Biochemistry, Research/Areas of Interest: Biochemistry -- Biotransformations using whole plant cells Office: Chemistry Lab Building, Room 104A Phone: 936.468.2485
Dr. Harris' research is focused on biotransformation reactions using whole cells on the surface of vegetable strips as the catalyst and pro-chiral ketones as the starting reagent. Specifically, we have characterized the production of S-1-benzofuran-2-yl-ethanol from benzofuran-2-yl-methylketone using carrot strips. The group has characterized the reaction and is still working on isolating the functional protein from the surface of the cells. Preliminary studies have shown S-1-benzofuran-2-yl-ethanol possesses both antifungal and antibacterial properties. More detailed antimicrobial studies are planned. We wish to explore the biotransformation of other pro-chiral ketones and study their antimicrobial activity as well as try to purify the R-1-benzofuran-2yl-ethanol to compare the antimicrobial activities of each enantiomer.
Dr. Michael Janusa
Dr. Michael Janusa - Professor and Chairman Educational Background: Louisiana Tech University, BS; Louisiana State University, Ph.D. Research/Areas of Interest: Analytical/Inorganic chemistry; Environmental chemistry Office: Math Building, Room 104 Phone: 936.468.3606
Dr. Janusa teaches General Chemistry, Inorganic, Analytical, and Environmental Chemistry. His research interest focuses on the environmental science areas of water, soil, and air quality involving metals and anions. Present research involves studying the water quality in Lanana Creek in Nacogdoches, Texas and the Nacogdoches Surface Water Treatment Plant. He holds a U.S. patent in complexing heavy metals with bagasse (sugar cane by-product). Dr. Janusa believes there are many different ways to reach students and educate them. The most recent trend is the use of technology. Technology can help students learn the material, and it is for this reason that Dr. Janusa has co-developed (with Dr. Lo - Nicholls State University) an on-line homework system that delivers homework assignments via the Internet ( and an e-textbook (Chemistry: The Core Concepts, Part I and II) that he uses in his courses.
Ms. Catherine Kwiatkowski
Ms. Catherine Kwiatkowski - Lecturer Educational Background: New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM; B.A. Chemistry, B.S. Biology, B.S. Secondary Education; Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ; M.S. Biochemistry Office: Math Building, Room 110 Phone: 936.468.2175
Catherine Kwiatkowski's Master's thesis investigated the purification and characterization of neurotoxic venom obtained from Crotalus horridus atricaudatus, the Timber rattlesnake. She has taught for twenty years at the secondary science level while authoring several young adult fiction novels, including Mr. Haley's Summer School: A Novel Approach to Learning Chemistry, by C.R. Kwiat. She is married to Dr. Matthew Kwiatkowski in the SFA Biology department and has three children who are heavily involved in academics, sports, and art.
Dr. Odutayo Odunuga
Dr. Odutayo Odunuga - Associate Professor Educational Background: Ogun State University (Nigeria), 1991, B. Sc. Biochemistry; University of Ibadan (Nigeria), 1995, M. Sc. Biochemistry; Rhodes University (South Africa), 2003, Ph.D. Biochemistry / Molecular Biology Research/Areas of Interest: Biochemistry -- Chaperones in health and diseases, Biochemical mechanisms of rare diseases (Ellis van Creveld syndrome) Office: Math Building, Room 122 Phone: 936.468.6468

While working on his Ph.D., Dr. Odunuga received additional training and research experience at the University of Saarland (Germany). Dr. Odunuga joined the Department of Chemistry after completing post-doctoral work the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and UTMB in Galveston TX.

Dr. Odunuga's research focuses on: 1) Using the Ellis van Creveld (EvC) syndrome as a model to study the functions of certain proteins in muscle, bone and related tissues. The long-term goal of his research is to elucidate the functions of these two genes and their products during and after development. 2) Chaperone biology, especially Hsp90-binding proteins, such as the Hsp70/Hsp90 organizing protein (Hop) and UNC-45, a myosin-targeting Hsp90 co-chaperone linked to cardiac development and cancer. 3) Studies on inhibition of elastase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that causes common infections in clinics and hospitals. The aim of his research is to generate crystal complexes of elastase with small molecule inhibitors for potential therapeutic applications. The multi-disciplinary approach to his research provides opportunity for students at all levels to learn the concepts of and techniques used in genetics, biochemistry, molecular, cellular and structural biology.

Dr. Kefa Onchoke
Dr. Kefa Onchoke - Professor Educational Background: The Ohio State University, Ph.D. (Analytical Chemistry, 2006), M.S. (Hampton University, Analytical Chemistry, 2000), B.Sc. (University of Nairobi, Chemistry, 1989) Research/Areas of Interest: Environmental, bio-analytical, computational and physical-organic Office: Chemistry and Math Building; Room 118 Phone: 936.468.2386

Dr. Kefa K. Onchoke came to SFASU in Fall 2006. His multi-pronged research projects are spread between food chemistry, water chemistry, experimental and computational Chemistry (spectroscopic studies of environmental pollutants, use of QSAR methods to predict/address experimental results), and electrochemical studies of environmental toxicants. Current interests are focused on studying environmental toxicants, mutagens, carcinogens such as nitrated PAHs, particulate matter, nanoparticulates, The water and food chemistry projects utilize chromatographic (HPLC, ion chromatography, GC-MS) and spectroscopic methods (ICP-OES, ICP-MS). The experimental and computational methods investigate physico-chemical properties (and predictions) that make nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (nitro-PAHs) more mutagenic and/or carcinogenic than their parent PAHs. Synthesis and spectroscopic methods (1H/13C NMR, 2-D NMR methods, FT-infrared, FT-Raman, UV-Vis, fluorescence, ion chromatography, HPLC, GC-MS, ICP-OES) and cyclic voltammetry in conjunction with computational methods are used.

In his spare time, he reads (auto)biographies for inspiration, writes poetry, jogs and enjoys nature walks.

Dr. Matibur Zamadar
Dr. Matibur Zamadar - Assistant Professor Educational Background: University of Calcutta, 2003, B.Sc. Chemistry; Indian Institute of Technology, 2005, M.Sc. Inorganic Chemistry; The City University of New York, 2010, M.Phil. Organic Chemistry; The City University of New York, 2011, Ph.D. Organic Chemistry Research/Areas of Interest: Organic Chemistry -- Organic Synthesis/Photochemistry/Polymer Chemistry Office: Math Building, Room 112 Phone: 936.468.2243
Dr. Zamadar joined the department after completing his second postdoctoral research work at the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2013-1014. His research interests are in the field of organic synthesis, photochemistry, and polymer. The group is involved in designing and synthesizing new photosensitizer molecules for solar energy utilization or biomedical applications. The group is also involved in synthesizing a new type of catalyst of alkaline earth metals for polymerization of non-activated alkenes. Another area the group is involved is synthesizing a complexing agent of porphyrin and different chelating agents for the development of new chemical sensors for toxic metal ions dangerous for living organisms. Students in Dr. Zamadar's lab learn about organic synthesis, polymer synthesis and spectroscopic methods such as 1H/13C/31P NMR, UV-visible, fluorescence, GPC, DSC, TGA, MS, and IR.
Ms. Jennifer Edwards
Ms. Jennifer Edwards - Inventory Control Supervisor Office: Chemistry Building, Room 104B Phone: 936.468.2143
Ms. Caroline (Carrie) Stover
Ms. Caroline (Carrie) Stover - Administrative Assistant Office: Math Building, Room 108 Phone: 936.468.3606