Interview with Dr. Rob Pfaff

August 26, 2014

Education

Ph.D – University of Oklahoma, Norman 1980
M.S. – University of Oklahoma, Norman, 1978
B.A. – Augustana College (IL), Rock Island 1975

Areas of Expertise

My training is in chemical kinetics, the speeds and atom-level steps reactions go through from beginning to end, but most recently my research has been in theoretical drug design.

Professional Background

Following graduate school, I took a one-year postdoctoral research appointment at the USDoE Ames Laboratory on the campus of Iowa State University. My first teaching position was at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where I stayed for 12 years, before coming to SJC in 1993.

Research Interests

My training is in measuring the speeds of chemical reactions and trying to deduce the minute steps the participants go through. In many ways, I am trained as much in numerical analysis as in chemistry. In a natural progression of that, I moved from reactions to exploring patterns in drug properties, and finally to using computers to design drug molecules.

Tell us about your job at SJC. 

I split my time between teaching upper-level chemistry classes, Quantitative Analysis, Physical Chemistry, and Medicinal Chemistry, and Core 5 and Core 10, as Professor of Chemistry, and being responsible for data reporting to all constituencies on behalf of the College, as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of the Office of Institutional Research.

Why do you teach? 

I love to teach because of my students. Our classes are small enough that we really get to know one another and there’s no better thrill than watching a student who suddenly understands a complex concept.

Associations/Organizations

I belong to the American Chemical Society, “Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society,” the Association for Institutional Research, and the Indiana Association for Institutional Research.

Fun Fact

I am a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, and am a radio-control pilot, a genealogist, and an international election observer for the US State Department.

What is your favorite thing about SJC?

The people…well, most of them!

 

 

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