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John R. Swierk
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

John Swierk received his undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University in 2014, where he worked with Tom Mallouk. After leaving Penn State he completed a postdoctoral appointment at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab as part of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis working with T. Don Tilley. After a second postdoctoral appointment at Yale University with Charlie Schmuttenmaer, he was appointed as an Associate Research Scientist with the Yale Energy Sciences Institute. In 2018, he joined the faculty at Binghamton University (SUNY) as an assistant professor. His research focuses on radical reactions initiated by photo- and electrochemical methods, with diverse applications from small molecule synthesis to the photodegradation of tattoo inks. He has received funding from the Doctoral New Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society Petroleum and an R15 grant from the National Institutes of Health. In 2021, he received an NSF CAREER Award. His work has been featured by NPR, ABC News, Forbes Magazine, The NY Post, Newsweek and many other media outlets.


2014 The Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Chemistry (with Tom Mallouk)

2008 University of Pennsylvania, B.A. in Chemistry and  B.S.E. in Materials Science & Engineering

Professional Appointments

2018-present Assistant Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, Binghamton University

2016-2018 Associate Research Scientist, Yale University - Energy Science Institute

2015-2016 Postdoctoral Associate, Yale University (with Charles Schmuttenmaer)

2014-2015 Postdoctoral Chemist, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab - Joint Center for Artificial             

         Photosynthesis (with T. Don Tilley)

2010-2012 NSF GK-12 Graduate Fellow, Pennsylvania State University


2024 Harter Family Mentoring Award (Binghamton University) (Honorable Mention)

2024 Young Investigator Award (Inter-American Photochemical Society)

2021 NSF CAREER Award

2021 Bearcat Award for Outstanding Support and Service (Binghamton University) (Nominee)

2020 Harpur College (Binghamton University) Teaching Award (Honorable Mention)

2010 DOE Basic Energy Science Graduate Fellowship (Honorable Mention)

2010 NSF GRFP (Honorable Mention)

2008 American Institute of Chemists Medal, Univ. Pennsylvania



Binghamton University: Transdisciplinary Area of Excellence Seed Grant “Understanding Tattoo Photochemistry in Live Human Tissue and Mechanical Models” 05/2023-05/2024 ($15,000). Co-PI: Guy German

NIH-NIGMS R15 Grant #1R15GM140404-01. “Photochemical transformations of multicomponent aggregates containing photolabile small molecules, heavy metal ions, and/or nanoparticles in biological environments.” 2020-2024, ($300,000 direct, $150,480 indirect). Sole PI.

NSF CAREER Award "CAREER: Mechanistic Investigations of Photoredox Reactions." 2021-2026 ($472,668 direct, $226,670 indirect)




ACS Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award. Grant #60013-DNI4 “Photochemical Oxidation of Refractory Sulfur Compounds for Fuel Desulfurization.” 2019-2021, $110,000. Sole PI.

Courses Taught

CHEM 107 - General Chemistry for CHEM/Biochem Majors

CHEM 341 - Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry

CHEM 484T/584T - Transition Metal Chemistry

CHEM 484B/584B - Bioinorganic Chemistry

CHEM 484M/584M - Molecular Inorganic Chemistry

UNIV 101 - Alchemy and the Birth of Modern Science

UNIV 103 - Food Chemistry

Invited Lectures

2022 West Virginia University

2022 Fall American Chemical Society National Meeting (Chicago)

2022 Gordon Research Conference on Electron Donor-Acceptor Interactions

2022 Association of Food and Drug Officials 126th Educational Meeting

2022 3rd Frontiers in Photochemistry

2022 Light as  Reagent and Product US/India Seminar Series

2022 Rutgers New Brunswick

2022 Michigan State University

2022 University of Cincinnati

2022 The Pennsylvania State University

2022 Cansius College

2021 University of Connecticut

2021 University of Miami

2021 Temple University 

2021 University of Pennsylvania

2021 Illinois Institute Technology

2021 Rutgers Newark

2021 Kalamazoo College

2020 Lehigh University 

2020 Photochemistry Spotlight (online symposium) 

2019 State University of New York at Potsdam

2019 St. Lawrence University 

2019 Penn State Wilkes Barre

2016 Gordon Research Conference on Renewable Energy, Solar Fuels

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