Chemistry Department
Joanne Kehlbeck

Joanne D. Kehlbeck

Job Title
Professor of Chemistry
Co-Director of Biochemistry
ISEC 285

Areas of expertise

Applications of Organic Chemistry to Chemical Biology, Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Ecology

Research interests

Physical organic chemistry informs interdisciplinary areas that link together chemical synthesis, biological and material sciences with theoretical and physical chemistry. Research in the Kehlbeck Lab falls into three major categories: Chemical Biology, Chemical Ecology, and Material Science. All projects involve organic synthesis, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry(LC-MS/MS) or gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). I am interested in molecular recognition events that control biological events and how we as chemists can design and synthesize small, non-natural, molecules that mimic the functional properties of materials found in nature. Researchers in my lab can gain experience in molecular modeling, solution and solid phase organic synthesis and purification using chromatographic methods as well as a variety of analytical techniques including NMR and chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Teaching interests

CHM 080 Culinary Chemistry
CHM 231 Organic Chemistry I & Lab
CHM 232 Organic Chemistry II & Lab
CHM 330 Medicinal Chemistry

I teach courses for majors and non-majors in the application of organic chemistry to areas such as culinary chemistry and medicinal chemistry.

Additional media


Awards and Honors

  • Donald C. Brate Distinguished Advising Prize, 2022.
  • Inspiring Programs in STEM Award-Insight into Diversity (for SUCCESS LEADERS program), 2019.
  • Stillman Prize for outstanding teaching, Union College, 2017.

Publications & Recent Funding

  • Publications
    • Samuel Amanuel, Palmyra Catravas, Joanne D. Kehlbeck. “Spectral analysis of gasses emitted during roasting food” US Patent 11,566,999. 1/23/2023.
    • Ronald B. Bucinell, Rebecca Cortez, Holli M. Frey, Joanne D. Kehlbeck, Michael E. Hagerman, and David A. Cotter. "Leading Educational and Academic Directions to Enhance Retention in STEM". Proceedings of ASEE Jul, 2020 #30000.
    • Peterson, Elizabeth K.; Yukilevich, Roman; Kehlbeck, Joanne D.; LaRue, Kelly; Ferraiolo, Kyle; Hollocher, Kurt; Hirsch, Helmut V.B.; Possidente, Bernard; Lnenicka, Gregory A. “Positive assortative mating induced by developmental lead (Pb2+) exposure in a model system, Drosophila melanogaster” Current Zoology, 2017, 63(2): 195-203
    • Yukilevich, Roman; †Harvey, Taylor; †Nguyen, Son; Kehlbeck, Joanne D.; †Park, Agnes. “The search for causal traits of speciation: divergent female mate preferences target male courtship song, not pheromones, in Drosophila athabasca species complex” Evolution, 2016, 70(3), pp. 526-542.
    • Mondschein, Jared S.; Kowalski, Adam; Kehlbeck, Joanne D.; Hagerman, Michael E.; Cortez, Rebecca. “Comparative AFM Studies of Water Processable Polyaniline Films: Influence of Reaction Time on Nanomorphology and Conductivity” Mat. Lett., 2014, 131, pp 262-265.
    • Kehlbeck, Joanne; Slack, Clancy; Turnbull, Marilyn; Kohler, Susan. “Exploring the Hydrolysis of Sucrose by Invertase Using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy: A Flexible Package of Kinetic Experiments” J. Chem. Educ., 2014, 91 (5), pp 734–738.
    • Kehlbeck, Joanne D.; Hagerman, Michael E.; Cohen, Brian D.; Eliseo, Jennifer; Fox, Melissa; Hoek, William; Karlin, David; Leibner, Evan; Nagle, Emily; Nolan, Michael; Schaefer, Ian; Toney, Alexandra; Topka, Michael; Uluski, Richard and Wood, Charles. “Directed Self-Assembly in Laponite/CdSe/Polyaniline Nanocomposites” Langmuir, 2008, 24(17) 9727-973
    • Kehlbeck, Joanne D.; Dimise, Eric J.; Sparks, Sarah M.; Ferrara, Skylar; Tanski, Joseph; Anderson, Craig “A practical and efficient synthesis of 5’-substituted m-terphenyls” Synthesis, 2007, 1979-1983
  • Recent Funding
    • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation: Jean Dreyfus Lectureship for Undergraduate Institutions. PI M.K. Carroll, Co-PI Joanne D. Kehlbeck, ($18,500): 2021.
    • NSF-STEM: SUCCESS-LEADERS: Leading Educational and Academic Directions to Enhance Retention in STEM. PI-Joanne D. Kehlbeck, Co-PI David Cotter. (DUE-1742407, $996,275): 2018-2024.
    • Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation: 2018 Beckman Scholars Program. Faculty Mentors: C. Anderson-Hanley, M.K. Carroll, L. Fleishman, K. Fox, M. Hagerman, A. Huisman, J. D. Kehlbeck, S. Kirkton, L. MacManus-Spencer, R. Yukilevich ($104,000): 2018-2021.
    • NSF MRI: Acquisition of a Powder X-Ray Diffractometer (PXRD) for Interdisciplinary Research and Research Training PI Michael Hagerman, Co-PIs Heather Watson, Samuel Amanuel, Joanne D. Kehlbeck and Ann Anderson, (DMR-1828144, $327,398) Awarded 2018-2021.
    • NSF-STEM SUCCESS: Stimulating Undergraduates: Creating Contributors in Engineering and Science for Society PI Joanne D. Kehlbeck, Co-PIs Samuel Amanuel, Rebecca Cortez, Palmyra Catravas and Scott Kirkton (DUE-1356398, $614,749): 2014-2019.
    • NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) submitted with PI-Sam Amanuel, Co-PIs Michael Hagerman, Rebecca Cortez, Brian Cohen, Palma Catravas and SPs Joanne D. Kehlbeck and Seyffie Maleki “Acquisition of an inverted optical microscope to integrate with an atomic force microscope for multidisciplinary, shared instrumentation suite at Union College (MRI-1229142, $308,323): 2012-2015.
    • Dreyfus Foundation’s Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences: “Culinary Chemistry: developing laboratory modules for general science education and outreach” PI Joanne D. Kehlbeck ($34,850): 2010-2013.
    • NSF-MRI PI Joanne D. Kehlbeck submitted with Co-PIs Laura MacManus-Spencer, Laurie Tyler, and Susan J. Kohler. “MRI-R^2: Acquisition of a 400 MHz NMR Spectrometer for Union College” (MRI-0958805, $309,950): 2010-2013.
    • NSF-STEM submitted with PI-Bradford Bruno, CoPI-Joanne D. Kehlbeck, J. Douglass Klein, and Cherrice Traver. “Supporting Scholars in Science and Engineering” (DUE-0850242, $600,000): 2009-2015.
    • NSF-MRI with PI- Laura MacManus Spencer, Co-PIs- Joanne D. Kehlbeck, J. Stephen Horton and Steve Rice. “Acquisition of a Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry Instrument for Research and Teaching in Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and Environmental Science at Union College” (MRI-0922883, $259,992): 2009-2012.
    • Merck-AAAS submitted with Co-PIs Prof. Barbara Danowski and Joanne D. Kehlbeck “Enhancing Undergraduate Education at Union College” ($60,000): 2008-2011.
    • Research Corporation Cottrell College Scholar “Functional foldamers: design, synthesis and evaluation of biomimetic heteropolymers for the recognition of the EVH1 protein domain” ($37,548): 2003-2007.

Academic credentials

B.S., Duquesne University; Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University; Postdoc, Yale University