Associate Professor of Chemistry
The chemistry department has access to cutting-edge technologies that help the students become better associated with chemical analysis, and Dr. Robbie Montgomery is proud to be a part of the UT Martin chemistry department.
"We are very lucky in this department for the instrumentation that we have available to the students," Montgomery said of the technology. She continued, "The great thing here is that the instrumentation is here for the students and not just for research purposes. So, they get to use it, and we get the bonus of using it for research as well."
Montgomery's focus during her graduate research was centered on the separation of proteins. Since she began teaching at UT Martin, she has been able to continue with her studies, while her students are able to learn about the processes of protein separation.
She said, "Right now, I currently have seven research students and they have several different projects. One of the main projects is developing instrumentation to separate proteins." She continued, "There are a half million proteins and we have to find out more ways to separate them. We are working on a variation of isoelectric focusing to separate these proteins. I have a couple of students working on automating a system to do that, and then I have other students who are testing the samples to see if they do what they were going to do. We are testing to see if the method we're developing is actually working."
The UT Martin chemistry department is actively involved in the American Chemical Society, and Montgomery takes pride in seeing her dedicated students succeed. Lee Elliot, who recently graduated from UT Martin, was a standout student of Montgomery's. Last year, Elliot presented a poster at the American Chemical Society regional meeting in Baton Rouge, La. "And he won first price for his analytical poster of all of them that presented there. I was extremely proud of him," Montgomery commented.
Montgomery also has an interest in forensics, which is why she is looking forward to teaching a few new classes. "Just recently, [the department of chemistry and the college of engineering and natural sciences] have been working with the department of criminal justice. We have developed a forensics science concentration for students. So now, students can major in criminal justice with a concentration in forensics science. Most of the forensics science classes that they have to take will come through the chemistry department. I actually get to develop two new classes to teach for the forensics program. We also have a forensics class here for students wanting to go into the crime lab or work at TBI."
Chemistry is not an easy major, but for ambitious students who are willing to put time and energy into their work, their preparedness will be evident. Montgomery said, "Our graduates are extremely successful in going to professional schools, med schools, pharmacy schools; we have some in dental school, optometry school; nursing programs." She continued, "We've heard from many other universities in the health sciences that stay that the students that come from UTM, we know they are prepared for the course work there."