Molecules Meet Materials (M3)

The Molecules Meet Materials (M3) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site at the University of South Dakota, located in Vermillion, SD, supports the training of 10 students for 10 weeks during the summers of 2022-2024. In this program, funded by the National Science Foundation Division of Chemistry, participants pursue collaborative research projects, with a focus on chemistry at interfaces in which molecular processes occur on surfaces. The site will train students to use spectroscopy, electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and computational methods to study materials and molecules at interfaces. All students also take part in a professional development and ethics training program, with a focus on science communication and preparation for graduate school or industrial careers. Through independent research projects and workshop and seminar series, this site broadens participation in STEM.

In collaboration with their peers and faculty mentors, the undergraduate students undertake individual projects including core-shell plasmonic nanoparticles for applications in anti-counterfeiting, metal-organic supercontainers for biomass conversion, computational methods to improve f-block element separations, organic semiconductor materials from perfluoroalkylated aromatic molecules, nanoparticles with tailored surfaces for specific cellular surface targets such as plant cells, cancer cells, or bacterial cells in biofilms. To increase diversity in the STEM pipeline, this site will recruit underrepresented students from Tribal Colleges and Primarily Undergraduate Institutions.

Research Projects


Plasmonic nanoparticles


Metal-organic supercontainers


Reactive f-Element Separations


Perfluoroalkylated organic
semiconductor materials


Particle Interaction
in Biomedical Applications


Nanoparticles for Phototherapy
and Chemodynamic Therapy




Based Photosensitizers


Frustrated Lewis Pairs

Student Support




Living Expenses


Research Supplies


Conference Travel


The M3 REU facilitates many social activities to provide opportunities for interaction between students and faculty outside of the laboratory environment. Our goal is to establish a strong community spirit among the participants, which is vital for the students to know each other and their mentors and forge lifetime lasting connections. These connections are an essential component of a successful undergraduate research experiences program.

REU students and mentors have traditionally taken advantage of a wealth of activities in the area such as visiting the National Music Museum, attending powwows in the region, visiting the Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery, and exploring the Missouri river, among others.

Faculty Mentors

James D. Hoefelmeyer

Inorganic and Materials Chemistry

Steven Wu

Biochemistry and Analytical Chemistry

Bess Vlaisavljevich

Physical and Computational Chemistry

Kadarkaraisamy Mariappan

Inorganic and Metalorganic Chemistry

Chaoyang Jiang

Analytical and Materials Chemistry

Grigoriy A. Sereda

Organic and Materials Chemistry

Zhenqiang Wang

Inorganic and Nanomaterials Chemistry

Pere Miró

Physical and Computational Chemistry

Haoran Sun

Organic and Fluorine Chemistry


Preference is given to applications between January 1st until March 1st .

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