The most important part of the laboratory is the people in it. Working with smart students is what makes research so much fun. Contact me if you want to join us.

Dr. Kurt Winkelmann serves as the Head of the Department of Chemistry at VSU. He studied photochemical reaction kinetics and nanotechnology as a PhD student at Auburn University and as a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University. He continued this research as a faculty member at Florida Tech for about 20 years.

His first experience teaching chemistry piqued his interest in understanding how students learn chemistry. Since then, his research has expanded beyond chemistry research to include chemical education and nanotechnology education research. This has led to many successful collaborations with faculty in education, engineering, mathematics, and sciences. He currently leads research projects in both chemical and education research at VSU.

Dr. W grew up in Virginia and has spent most of his life in the southeastern US. He enjoys traveling, watching college and pro football, and performing science experiments with his daughter.

Research Group Members from Florida Tech

Dr. Damilola Ajadi earned his Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Lau Tech, Nigeria before coming to the United States to join the Chemistry Ph.D. program at Florida Tech. He initially worked under the mentorship of Dr. Mary Sohn before he switched to our research group and completed his Ph.D. research in 2020. He analyzed saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in the Chukchi Sea sediments. Dr. Ajadi found that Chukchi Sea shelves were dominated by substantial autochthonous marine fatty acids that are produced by microorganisms. Terrestrial fatty acids are also supplied to these shelves but because of the strong imprint of marine fatty acids, they provide a small fraction of the biomarkers.

Damilola is currently a senior analytical chemist at Advanced Testing Laboratory in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Dr. Salomey Sasu earned her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at Stephen F. Austin University before joining Florida Tech’s chemistry PhD program. She initially worked under the mentorship of Dr. Mary Sohn but upon Dr. Sohn’s retirement, Salomey switched to our research group and completed her PhD research in 2019. She studied the detection of alkanes and alkenes in Chukchi Sea sediments. Her research demonstrated that the sedimentary record of the Chukchi Sea deposits reflects the complex Arctic ecosystem. Most n-alkanes originated from terrestrial sources, with less input from aquatic or petroleum sources. She reported the presence of n-alkenes in Chukchi Sea sediments for the first time.

Salomey is a Research Scientist at EK Labs in Longwood, Florida.

Lenny Bernas graduated with a MS degree in December 2016. His thesis, “Phytotoxicity of Silver Species to and Applications to Phytoremediation,” was our group’s first investigation of nanoparticle toxicity towards plants. Lenny also performed education research as an undergraduate in our group, working on the development of new experiments for Florida Tech’s introductory nanotechnology lab course. He earned his undergraduate Chemistry BS degree (research option) at Florida Tech as well. He graduated as co-author of two peer-reviewed articles and lead author of two more.

Lenny now is a scientist at Harris Corporation in Melbourne, Florida.