Mo Hunsen joined Kenyon's faculty in chemistry and biochemistry in 2001 after earning a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Michigan State University. His research interests focus on green chemical and enzymatic catalysis in carbohydrate and polymer chemistry including studies on cellulose nanocrystals and their stimuli-responsive nanocomposites. He also works on the use of natural products for prevention of cancer. He has a passion for exploring how green & sustainable chemistry and technologies could serve as a platform for green businesses that transform cheap and abundant natural resources to value-added products.

He was a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Fellow (1990-1993) and has received the Robert J. Tomsich Science Award (2005) and the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2007). He is currently a member of the editorial boards of Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Organic Chemistry: Current Research, International Journal of Bioorganic Chemistry & Molecular Biology, Journal of Sustainable Development Studies and International Journal of African Development.

He has served as chair of the Department of Chemistry (2011-2013) and as co-chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2003-2006). He was a visiting professor at the department of macromolecular science and engineering at Case Western Reserve University (2013-14), at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (2005) and at the Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University (2006-2008).

Areas of Expertise

Chemical and enzymatic catalysis, green oxidation reactions, biodegradable polymers, carbohydrates and green nanocomposites.

Education

2000 — Doctor of Philosophy from Michigan State University

1994 — Master of Science from Addis Ababa Univ, Ethiopia

1989 — Bachelor of Science from Addis Ababa Univ, Ethiopia

Courses Recently Taught

We create scientific knowledge through observation, mental models, and careful design of experimental procedures. We invite you to explore and understand this process, through a combination of practical experience and critical analysis. CHEM 123 and 126 are your introduction to modern experimental chemistry and are foundational to all upper-level chemistry laboratory courses. Course activities: analyze and design laboratory procedures, practice operation of laboratory equipment, assess and validate techniques, construct knowledge through discussion. Format: one three-hour laboratory session per week. Topics typically include: gravimetric and volumetric techniques, standardization, titration, spectrophotometry, infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, molecular modeling, separations, chromatography, thermal analysis, kinetics, programming, data acquisition and data analysis. Prerequisite: CHEM 123. Offered every spring semester.

This lecture course offers a study of the chemical and physical properties of organic compounds. Theoretical principles are developed with particular emphasis on molecular structure and reaction mechanisms. The descriptive aspects of organic chemistry include strategies for synthesis and the study of compounds of biochemical interest. Prerequisite: grade of C+ or higher in CHEM 122 and completion of CHEM 123 or 126 or permission of department chair. Offered every spring semester.

This course is a continuation of CHEM 231. This lecture course offers a study of the chemical and physical properties of organic compounds. Theoretical principles are developed with particular emphasis on molecular structure and reaction mechanisms. The descriptive aspects of organic chemistry include strategies for synthesis and the study of compounds of biochemical interest. This counts toward advanced course electives for the major. Prerequisite: CHEM 231. Offered every fall semester.

This laboratory course introduces fundamental methods in organic chemistry research and complements the topics covered in the lecture course, CHEM 231. This is achieved by carrying out experiments and research projects involving topics such as isolation of a natural product, oxidation and reduction reactions and reactions of alkenes. The techniques include liquid extraction, distillation, recrystallization and thin layer and gas chromatography. Compounds are identified and assessed for purity by melting point determination, refractometry, gas chromatography and infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Appropriate record keeping on laboratory notebooks and writing laboratory reports is emphasized. Required for the major. Corequisite: CHEM 231. Offered every spring semester.

This laboratory course extends and applies the techniques developed in CHEM 233 to more advanced experiments in organic synthesis including open-ended experiments derived from current research projects. A particular emphasis will be placed on using chemistry databases, experimental design and planning, laboratory notebooks and record keeping, analytical and preparative chromatography, advanced NMR techniques (2-D) and writing research laboratory reports. Upon successful completion of the two-course organic chemistry lab sequence (CHEM 233/234), students will have the skills needed to thrive in a synthetic organic chemistry research laboratory. This counts toward the advanced lab electives for the major. Prerequisite: CHEM 233. Corequisite: CHEM 232. Offered every fall semester.

In this laboratory course, students will engage in multiweek, multistep projects that integrate both modern organic synthesis and advanced high-field nuclear magnetic resonance techniques. This course meets for one three-hour laboratory period per week. This counts toward advanced lab elective for the major. Prerequisite: CHEM 234. Offered every two years.

Section 01 (.25 unit): Students engage in independent research under the direction of a faculty mentor. The time requirement is at least three hours in lab per week. Students will learn to search literature and give professional presentations. This course also provides an introduction to scientific writing. More details can be obtained from the department chair. Permission of instructor required. Offered every semester.\n\nSection 02 (.5 unit): This section is a prerequisite to CHEM 497 and 498. The time commitment is six to eight hours per week in lab. Students will learn to search literature and give professional presentations as well as to write scientifically. More details can be obtained from the department chair. This counts toward advanced lab elective for the major. Permission of instructor required. Offered every semester.

Advanced selected topics in advanced chemistry and biochemistry are explored with an emphasis on reading and discussing current scientific research and literature. Topics covered will vary by faculty interest each semester, and typically relate to interesting applications or emerging techniques within organic, biophysical, biochemical, materials or analytical chemistry. Offered every semester, sections will change. Inquire with the chair and look for announcements for the specific topic in a given semester. Please see the schedule of courses each semester for the section being taught. This counts toward advanced course elective for the major. Offered every semester.