Faculty & Staff

Department Chair

  • Giovanni Meloni: gmeloni@usfca.edu, (415) 422-6159


  • Charles George, Ass't Lab Coordinator: george@usfca.edu, (415) 422-6157
  • Andy Huang, Mgr., Technical Operations: huanga@usfca.edu, (415) 422-6419
  • Chad Schwietert, Lab Coordinator: cwschwietert@usfca.edu, (415) 422-5424
  • Angela Yishun Qin, Stockroom Mgr.: yqin2@usfca.edu, (415) 422-2739
  • Deidre Shymanski, Program Ass't: dhshymanski@usfca.edu, (415) 422-6157


Tel:(415) 422-6051

Megan Bolitho

Assistant Professor

Dr. Bolitho teaches in the organic chemistry and biochemistry curricula at USF. Her research interests center around the phenomenon of bacterial quorum sensing, a process by which bacteria are able to communicate with each other using small molecules. The Bolitho lab uses the techniques of organic synthesis, biochemistry, and molecular biology to develop inhibitors of quorum sensing in bacterial pathogens and means of evaluating them as potential agents against disease.

Tel:(415) 422-6069

Claire Castro


Dr. Castro teaches in the organic chemistry curriculum at USF. Her research focuses on using computational tools to solve organic chemistry problems. In recent years, her focus has been studying dynamic processes in annulenes.

Tel:(415) 422-6450

John Cobley


Dr. Cobley's field of interest is: the integration of ideas across disciplines in natural science, biochemistry. He is currently working on a project involving molecular genetics of chromatic adaptation in the Cyanobacterium, Fremyella diplosiphon.

Tel:(415) 422-6391

Jeff Curtis


Dr. Curtis' areas of interest and research in inorganic chemistry include: optical and thermal electron-transfer processes, redox kinetics and electrolyte effects thereon, solvent-solute interactions and second coordination sphere interactions.

Tel:(415) 422-5842

William Karney


William L. Karney received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles.  Dr. Karney's teaching interests lie primarily in the areas of environmental chemistry and organic chemistry.  His research involves the use of computational chemistry to study organic reaction mechanisms, particularly the formation and rearrangements of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.


Joseph Leonetti

Adjunct Professor

Dr. Joseph Leonetti (USF Chemistry degree) went to U.C. Santa Barbara for his Ph.D. with Professor Dan Little doing di-radical chemistry and organic electrochemistry.  He did post-doctoral work at U. Cambridge synthesizing proton conducting polymer membranes with applications for fuel cells.  He has worked for several US companies and is now Project Manager at Genentech managing teams making new drugs.  His research interests lie at the interface of organic, polymer, and biochemistry.  Dr. Leonetti is grateful for the wonderful education he received from the USF Chemistry department and is now giving back to the department as an adjunct faculty member.

Tel:(415) 422-4914

Jie Jack Li

Associate Professor

Dr. Li teaches Organic Chemistry and History of Drug Discovery.  His current research interests at USF are in two areas: (a) Organic Chemistry: Development of synthetic methodology on the C-H activation of heterocycles, which are of paramount importance to drug discovery; and (b) Medicinal Chemistry: The current focuses are to discover novel anti-diabetic drugs by inhibiting the PH domain leucine-rich repeat protein phosphatase (PHLPP) in collaboration with Prof. Alexandra C. Newton at UCSD and to discover new anti-cancer drugs by targeting both novel and proven mechanisms of action such as the hedgehog signaling pathway.

Tel:(415) 422-5928

Lawrence Margerum


In 1995, Dr. Margerum joined USF as assistant professor of analytical and inorganic chemistry. He currently has undergraduate and masters students exploring the following research areas: -The Effect of Dendrimer Size and pH on the Binding of Metal Complexes using electrochemistry. -Immobilized Dendrimers as Platforms for Multivalent Binding of Metal Ions using spectroscopy techniques and solid-phase synthesis. -Implementing technology-based learning tools for chemical education (OWL, CPR, clickers in the classroom, POGIL)

Tel:(415) 422-5930

William Melaugh


Dr. Melaugh teaches general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry. His areas of interest include: the application of mass spectrometry to the solution of biological problems, particularly structure/functions in the surface glycolipids of pathogenic bacteria with a view to designing drugs for therapeutic intervention.

Tel:(415) 422-6159

Giovanni Meloni

Associate Professor and Von Soosten Chair

Prior to joining the University of San Francisco, Dr. Meloni carried out post-doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley and at Sandia National Laboratories. In his research, he employed state-of-the-art experimental and computational techniques, to study semiconductor clusters, van der Waals species, and hydrocarbon radicals. Dr. Meloni's interests range from high-temperature physical chemistry to spectroscopic characterization of reaction intermediates. More recently, his research group performs experiments at the Advanced Light Source of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory using a multiplex photoionization mass spectrometer to investigate biofuel molecules combustion and atmospheric reactions.

Tel:(415) 422-2927

Tami Spector


Tami Spector received her B.A. from Bard College, her Ph.D. from Dartmouth College, and was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota. She teaches Organic Chemistry I and II, Organic laboratory I and II, and Molecular Gastronomy: The Science of the Food We Eat.

Tel:(415) 422-6142

Ryan West

Assistant Professor

Dr. West joined USF after postdoctoral work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He teaches analytical and general chemistry courses and labs. His research interests include electrochemistry, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, nanotechnology, organic electronics and chemical sensing for the detection of biomarkers, environmental pollutants and chemical warfare agents. The overall goal is the development of inexpensive, reliable and portable biosensors.