Barbara Murray


Barbara Murray


Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, University of Illinois, 1985;

M.A. in English, Stephen F. Austin State University, 1981;

M.S. in Biology, Stephen F. Austin State University, TX., 1978;

B.A. in English, Stephen F. Austin State University, 1975


Chemistry, Hedco Hall
P: 909.748.8544
P: 909-748-8370

Research and Areas of Expertise

  • Chemistry and Science Education – research into modern teaching methods using educational research on how people learn

  • Computational Studies of Biologically Active Molecules

Description of Research

I am heavily involved in national initiatives to develop pedagogies of engagement in chemistry and in the sciences in general. I have played a primary role in bringing college-level chemistry teachers together in groundbreaking symposia, workshops and national conferences specifically designed to develop and enrich teaching practices. In so doing, I have established myself as a leader and resource for colleagues in the field.

In my computational studies research I look at a series of molecules that all work on the same receptor system in the body. When I have identified an appropriate series, I look at each molecule by doing certain calculations such as an electrostatic potential map onto the electron density surface of the molecule. That will show the real shape and size of the molecule with electronegative part of the surface in one color and the electropositive part in another color. This shows what parts of the molecule must interact with the active site of the receptor in the body. By comparing the molecules in the series I can try to determine why one molecule (or drug perhaps) fits better or worse into that active site. I can then propose possible additions or subtractions from the molecule that might improve its activity. So I'm essentially looking at structural similarities and differences in active and less active molecules.

Courses Taught

CHEM 231/232 Organic Chemistry I and II and their laboratory sections


Assistant Professor of Chemistry, California State University at San Bernardino, 1987-1993

Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Stockton State College, Pomona, NJ, 1984-1987


"Trends in Undergraduate Science Instruction: Taking an Interdisciplinary Approach Towards the Solution of 21st Century Problems" Barbara Murray, Charles Henderson, and Carolina Ilie, submitted for publication August 2009 to Liberal Education

"Undergraduate interdisciplinary Computational Research of Biologically Active Molecules," 20th Biannual Conference on Chemical Education, Bloomington, Indiana, July 2008 – Poster Presentation

"Engaging Students in Organic Chemistry," 20th Biannual Conference on Chemical Education, Bloomington, Indiana, July 2008 -- Organized and presided over three-session symposium with 22 presentations

"Different Methods of Using Learning Theory in Teaching Organic Chemistry," 19th Biannual Conference on Chemical Education, Purdue, Indiana, July 30- August 3, 2006 – Organized and presided over two-session symposium with 17 presentations

"Liberal Education and Science: Preparing Future Scientists and Citizens," Association of New American Colleges/Association of American Colleges and Universities meeting, Washington, DC, January 25-28, 2006 – Panel member

Awards, Honors, Grants

University of Redlands Endowed Chair – John Stauffer Director of the Center for Science and Mathematics, 2004

University of Redlands Award for Outstanding Service and Academic Management, 2001

National Science Foundation-Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement Grant, "Computational Chemistry in a Discovery-Based Curriculum," with Jeff Bartz, 1996

Hewlett Pluralism Grant, "Science for a Diversified Community Seminar Series," with Henry Acquaye, 1996


Center for Science and Mathematics

American Chemical Society

Project Kaleidoscope

Association of American Colleges and Universities