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       Karyn M. Usher
         Assistant Professor
         Department of Chemistry
         West Chester University of Pennsylvania
         West Chester, PA 19383






Office Location: Schmucker Science Center 331
Phone:  (610) 436-2622
Fax:  (610) 436-2890
email: kusher@wcupa.edu


Karyn M. Usher     B.A., Ph.D.  [Florida State University]  Assistant Professor since August 2005

Course Schedule Spring 2009

Course Code Course Title Day Time
CRL 104 General Chemistry II Lab Tuesday 9-12pm
CRL 104 General Chemistry II Lab Tuesday 1-4pm
CRL 321 Analytical Chemistry I Lab Wednesday 5-9pm


Office Hours:

Tuesday            12 noon-1pm

Wednesday       3-4pm

Thursday           9-10am


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Research Interests and Student Research opportunities

Chromatography is a separation technique that is used in virtually all branches of science and technology.  In the chromatographic process, a mixture is introduced into the system that has been chosen for the separation, and as the mixture passes through the system different types of molecules will move at different migration rates, thus effecting a separation.  Chromatography is the most widely used of all separation techniques, and this is because of its versatility and its separation power.  It is a very powerful method that can analyze even extremely complex mixtures.  There are two main categories of chromatography, liquid chromatography and gas chromatography.  Within these two categories there are many different modes that can be utilized, and these differ in many features, such as the size of the columns used, the packing materials, or even the pressures and temperatures at which the separation is performed.  It is usually possible to find a chromatographic technique that is well suited to whatever analysis needs to be performed, due to the many different types available.  There are many things that can be varied when performing chromatographic experiments.  These include changing the type of mobile phase, the mechanism of retention, the incoming solute concentration profile, the column and planar procedures, the gradient methods, dimensionality, or even just the physical scale of the column.  Each of these changes can be used to enhance the separation from a poor separation to a good separation.


Interest 1.  Although chromatography is widely used and embraced by scientists involved in many different types of research, there are still many questions about some of the fundamental aspects of this technique.  Many of these questions have been investigated previously, but there has been no agreement in the literature about the theory behind many of the fundamental processes.  Although everyday it becomes possible to perform more and more difficult separations, each time one of these difficult separations is achieved a more difficult one presents itself. Because of this, there is still a need for scientists to perform fundamental research in this field.  Perhaps if the mechanisms behind the separations can be better understood, scientists can decide how to go about improving the technique.  By doing so, chromatography can become an even more useful technique.


Interest 2.  Solid phase extraction is often used as a sample preparation technique when the matrix the analyte of interest is in is considered a dirty matrix.  My students and I currently utilize solid phase extraction to clean up our samples prior to injection on the HPLC.  Because of this, we now spend considerable time working on method development for solid phase extraction in addition to the time spend for the HPLC method development.


Interest 3.  I am also very interested in trying to make certain that our students at WCU, upon graduation, have been exposed to many important aspects of analytical chemistry.  In addition to the lecture work, this includes laboratory time.  One way of meeting these requirements is to supervise students in research, another way is to develop experiments for the teaching labs that work well, and not only give the students good data for them to manipulate, but also teaches them about the techniques and the instruments they are using.  My research students and I have worked (and continue to work) along with the other analytical professor at WCU, Tim Starn, to develop and test chromatography experiments for use in our teaching labs.

Students interested in research opportunities should email me for more information.


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Current Research Students:

Kristi Raschka (F'08, S'09), Laura Hurd (F'08, S'09), Kurt Schenk (S'09)


Previous Research Students:


Andrew Newsome (F'05, S'06), Margaret Dudley(F'05,S'06), Scott Snyder(S'06, F'06, S'07, F'07), Sarat Gnanamgari (S'06), Andria Styborski (F'06, S'07), Casey Mulcahy (F'06, S'07, F'07, S'08)  F; Dina Konetski (F'06), Amber Gegg (S'07), Michelle Owens (F'07, S'08), Michael Bozym (F'07, S'08), Anna Glinko (S'08), Carol Gonzalez (Summer '08, F'08)

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Student Awards:

Chromatography Forum of the Delaware Valley Student Award       M. Bozym/A. Glinko/M. Owens    Spring 2008

Chromatography Forum of the Delaware Valley Student Award      C. Mulcahy/S. Snyder                    Spring 2008

CAS Student Research Award                                                        Casey Mulcahy                               Fall 2007

Eastern Analytical Symposium Student Research Award                  Andria Styborski                             Fall 2007

Sartomer Environmental Award                                                       Casey Mulcahy                               Fall 2007-Spring 2008

CAS Student Research Award                                                        A. Styborski/S. Snyder                   Spring 2006

Sartomer Environmental Award                                                       Andria Styborski                            Fall 2006-Spring 2007

Sartomer Environmental Award                                                       Andrew Newsome                         Fall 2005-Spring 2006



Technology Fee Project Grant (GC/MS)           Fall 2008

Technology Fee Project Grant (media room)     Fall 2008

Agilent Technologies Chromatography Grant      Fall 2008

CAS Support and Development Award             Spring 2008

Multicultural Faculty Commission 2008 Grant    Spring 2008

Agilent Technologies Chromatography Grant      Summer 2007

CAS Entrepreneur grant                                    Spring 2006

CAS Support and Development Award             Fall 2005

Sponsored Research Incentive Award                Fall 2005

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Selected Presentations:

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Interesting and Useful Links

Florida State University - Chemistry

WCU -Chemistry

HPLC Online Text

WCU Alchemist's Club

Chromatography Forum of the Delaware Valley

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