Kenneth R Hess Professor of Chemistry


B.A. Gettysburg College

Ph.D. University of Virginia


Our research involves the application of liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) methods to analytical problems of importance.  The Chemistry Department houses a highly sophisticated Waters Acquity H series Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatograph coupled to a Xevo G2-S  Quadrupole Time of Flight (Q-TOF) mass spectrometer, allowing the separation and mass spectral identification of analytes, including Mass Spectrometry/Mass Spectrometry (MS/MS) methods. Projects include the verification of site-specific incorporation of unnatural amino acids in proteins, analysis of intact proteins and  protein digests, and confirmation of synthetic methods for small molecules. In addition, we have collaborated with the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, PA to address clinical aspects of GM3 synthase deficiency, a rare autosomal recessive epilepsy syndrome observed in the Amish population. A key component of the project is the synthesis of the ganglioside GM3 and isotopically labeled GM3. 



(Undergraduate student coauthor are in bold.)

Olenginski, G. M.; Piacentini, J.; Harris, D. R.; Runko, N. A.; Papoutsis, B. M.; Alter, J. R.; Hess, K. R.; Brewer, S. H.; Phillips-Piro, C. M. Structural and spectrophotometric investigation of two unnatural amino-acid altered chromophores in the superfolder green fluorescent protein. Acta Crystallographica D, 2021, D77, 1010-1018. DOI: 10.1107/S2059798321006525

Meiqi Luo, Christopher N. Eaton, Kenneth R. Hess, Christine M. Phillips-Piro, Scott H. Brewer, and Edward E. Fenlon, “Paired Spectroscopic and Crystallographic Studies of Proteases”, ChemistrySelect, 2019, 4, 9836-9843.  DOI: 10.1002/slct.201902049

Brenner, R. K.; Hess, K. R.; Morford, J. L. Understanding Electrophoresis through the Investigation of Size, Shape and Charge of pH Indicators.  J. Chem Ed  2015, 92 (10), 1705-1708. DOI:10.1021/ed500223d. 

Peeler, J.C.; Woodman, B.F.; Averick, S.; Miyake-Stoner, S.J.; Stokes, A.L.; Hess, K.R.; Matyjaszewski, K.; Mehl, R.A. Genetically Encoded Initiator for Polymer Growth from Proteins. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 13575.

Miyake-Stoner, S.J.; Miller, A.M.; Hammill, J.T.; Peeler, J.C.; Hess, K.R.; Mehl, R.A.; Brewer, S.H. Probing Protein Unfolding Using Site-Specifically Encoded Unnatural Amino Acids as FRET Donors with Tryptophan. Biochemistry 2009, 48, 5953-5962.

Jackson, J.C.; Duffy, S.P.; Hess, K.R.; Mehl, R.A. Improving Nature's Active Site with Genetically Encoded Unnatural Amino Acids. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 11124-11127.

Powers, D.C. ; Higgs, A.T. ; Obley, M.L.;  Leber, P.A.; Hess, K.R.; Yoder, C.H.  An Environmental Project for First Year Chemistry Students: Analysis of Natural Buffer Systems and the Impact of Acid Rain. J. Chem. Educ. 2005, 826, 274-2770.

 Schilling, A.L.; Hess, K.R.;  Leber, P.A.; Yoder, C.H. A Simulation of the Interaction of Acid Rain with Soil Materials, J. Chem. Educ. 2004, 81, 246-247.

Harle, H.D.; Ingram, J.A. ; Leber, P.A.; Hess, K.R.; Yoder, C.H. A Simple Method for Determination of Solubility in the First-Year Laboratory. J. Chem. Educ. 2003, 80, 560.

Harle, H.D.;  Leber, P.A.;  Hess, K.R.; Yoder, C.H. A Concept-Based Environmental Project for the First-Year Laboratory: Remediation of Barium-Contaminated Soil by In Situ Immobilization. J. Chem. Educ. 2003, 80, 561-562.

Bender, J. D.; Catino, A. J.; Hess, K. R.; Lassman, M. E.; Leber, P. A.; Pike, C. S.; Reinard, M. D.; Strotman, N. A. A Biochemical GC/MS Application for the Organic Chemistry Laboratory: Determination of FAME Composition in Arabidopsis thaliana. J. Chem. Educ. 2000, 77, 1466.

Yoder, C.; Retterer, O.; Thomsen, M.; Hess, K. Interactive Chemistry: Models and Applications (an interactive, CD-ROM based text for introductory chemistry) [CD-ROM]; Academy Artworks: York, PA, 1999.

Barshick, C.M.; Hess, K.R.;  Zook, A.L.; Steiner, R.E.; King, F.L. An Investigation into the Analytical Utility of Plasma etching in Reactive Glow Discharge Plasmas. Applied Spectroscopy 1999, 53, 65.

Day, D.A.; Zook, A.L.; Barshick, C. M.; Hess, K. R. Electrochemical Deposition of Metals in the Preparation of Standard Materials for Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry. Microchemical Journal 1997, 55, 208.

Xiong, X.;  Hutchinson, J.M.R.; Hess, K.R.;  Fassett, J.D.; Lucatorto, T.B. A Novel Approach to Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry Employing a Glow Discharge Atom Source. Spectrochimica Acta, Part B 1996, 51B, 1463.

Yoder, C.H.;  Smith, W.D.; Katolik, V.L.; Hess, K.R.; Thomsen, M.W.; Yoder, C.S.; Bullock, E.R. The Synthesis and Analysis of Copper(II) Carboxylates.  J. Chem. Educ.1995, 72, 267.

Hess, K.R.;  Smith, W.D.;  Thomsen, M.W.;  Yoder, C.H. An Introductory Infrared Spectroscopy Experiment.  J. Chem. Educ. 1995, 72, 655.

Xiong, X.; Hutchinson, J.M.R.; Fassett, J.D.; Lucatorto, T.B.; Schima, F.J.; Bowman, W.A.; Hess, K.R. Study of Laser Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy Using a Glow Discharge Source. AIP Conference Proceedings 329: Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy 1994, American Institute for Physics Press, New York, p. 316-319, 1995.

Courses Taught

CHM 111 - General Chemistry I: Picturing the Atomic World, Lecture & Lab

CHM 112 - General Chemistry II: Reactions in the Atomic World, Lecture & Lab

CHM 221 - Chemical Analysis