Meet James Grinias, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, who earned his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.S. in Chemistry from Eastern Michigan University.
What is your area of expertise?
I am an analytical chemist with a focus on chemical separations and the miniaturization of analytical methods. We apply our analytical techniques to applications in pharmaceutical and biomedical research.
What is your favorite class to teach, and why?
My favorite class to teach is Quantitative Analysis, which is a second-year course focused on analytical chemistry. I like this class because it is the one that inspired me to become an analytical chemist when I was an undergraduate student. Teaching students about the chemical techniques and methods they will use in their future scientific careers is one of my passions.
Share with us one aspect of student engagement that you enjoy the most, and why.
The best part of my job is mentoring research students working in my laboratory group. To see them grow into independent scientists with the ability to solve challenging experimental problems is very rewarding. I have been lucky to work with many great students in such a short time and they have pushed our research projects to new levels that I didn’t think would be achieved for several years. Because I’m so tough on them, they might not believe it when I say this, but I’m extremely proud of each and every one of them!
What is one thing you wish people knew about your academic discipline or research focus?
Although most people don’t realize it, analytical chemistry is one of the most important disciplines in science because it is focused on the development of technology to measure the amounts of individual components in a wide variety of samples. One of my main research areas is liquid chromatography (LC), which is the most widely used analytical technique in the world today and impacts each of us in many different ways throughout our lives. LC measurements play a role in many fields, including: testing the safety and potency of pharmaceutical drugs, forensic drug monitoring for employment and law enforcement purposes, doping analysis in competitive sports, food safety, environmental/water pollution monitoring, and clinical blood tests in hospital labs. It’s hard to think of many other techniques that are so widely applied.
Do you have a favorite Rowan memory?
I’ll never forget the feeling of the very first grant our lab received. It was a testament to the hard work that my students and I have been putting in to help advance the field of chemical separations and recognition that leaders in the field believe in our work. The pizza party we had to celebrate was pretty good too!
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