Cumberland University

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Sarah Pierce

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Sarah Pierce

Associate Professor of Chemistry


B.S., University of Tennessee, Chattanooga

M.A.E., Cumberland University

Ph.D., Vanderbilt University



Dr. Sarah Pierce graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with honors in Chemistry in 2003 before moving on to Vanderbilt University where she completed her Ph.D. in December 2006 with graduate research focused on biomaterials chemistry. After completion of her Ph.D., she worked as a post-doctoral research assistant at Vanderbilt University in the Biomedical Engineering department, focusing her research on developing second-generation nanoparticles for breast cancer targeting. During her time at Vanderbilt University, she also developed and helped teach a Bionanomaterials course and conducted general chemistry laboratory courses.  

Dr. Pierce has had several publications in various scientific journals and has made presentations at several chemistry and engineering conferences to discuss her research. Now that she serves as a faculty member at Cumberland University, Dr. Pierce focuses her research interests on analytical chemistry and chemical education.  Specifically, she is interested in analysis of mixtures using uv-vis spectroscopy. In the 2013 – 2014 school year, Dr. Pierce took a sabbatical to teach high school science at Harpeth Hall in Nashville, Tennessee.  This experience has helped her advise science majors who are interested in education.  Dr. Pierce currently teaches general chemistry, organic chemistry, fundamentals of chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, and advises undergraduate research.  She is also pursing a Master of Arts in Education from Cumberland University.   

In her personal time, Dr. Pierce enjoys spending time with her husband and son, experimenting in the kitchen, and exploring the Middle Tennessee area.   



“Determination of Formaldehyde Concentrations in Electronic Cigarettes”, Roland Landers and Sarah Pierce. Presented at the 125th Tennessee Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting, November 20th, 2015 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  

“Incorporating an Original Research Project into a General Chemistry II Laboratory Class”, Sarah Pierce.  Presented at the 23rd Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, August 3 – 7, 2014 in Allendale, Michigan.  

“Being a Lone Ranger:  Thoughts from a Lone Chemist”, Sarah Pierce.  Presented at the 23rd Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, August 3-7, 2014 in Allendale, Michigan.  

“Making Musical Serialism Using Mass Spectrometry and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance", Lain Tomlinson, Chris Fuller, and Sarah Pierce.  Presented at the Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, November 14 – 17, 2012 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  

“Advantages and Challenges of Incorporating a Blog into a Chemistry Class”, Sarah Pierce.  Presented at the 22nd Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, July 29 – August 2, 2012 in University Park, Pennsylvania.   

“Podcasting in Five Minutes”, Sarah Pierce.  Presented at the 21st Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, August 1-5, 2010 in Denton, Texas.  

“Nanoparticle Synthesis to Application: a Nanobiotechnology Lab Course for Biomedical Engineering”, Sarah Pierce, Amanda Lowery, Charleson Bell and Todd Giorgio.  Presented at the 117th American Society for Engineering Education Conference, June 20-23, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky (peer reviewed).   



“Supplemental Learning in the Laboratory:  An Innovative Approach for Evaluating Knowledge and Method Transfer” Carter, M. D; Pierce, S.S.; Dukes, A. D.; Brown, R.H.; Crow, B.S.; Shaner, R. L.; Heidari, L. M.; Perez, J. W.; Thomas, J.D.; Johnson, R.C.; Gerdon, A.E., Journal of Chemical Education, 2016, in preparation.  

“Sweet Chemistry: A Study of the Intermolecular Forces in Candy Dye Molecules” Kara E. Paden and Sarah S. Pierce. ALETHIA, 2016, accepted.  

“Quantification of Quantum Dot Concentration using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)”  Sewell, S.L.; Higgins, M. M.; Bell, C. S.; Giorgio, T.D.  Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology2011, 7, 685–690.  

“Synthesis and Enzymatic Cleavage of Dual-Ligand Quantum Dots” Sewell, S.L.; Giorgio, T.D.  Materials Science and Engineering C.  2009, 29, 1428-1232.  

Piezeoelectric Inkjet Printing of Biomimetic Inks for Reactive Surfaces”  Deravi, L. F.; Sumerel, J.L; Sewell, S. L.; Wright, D.W. Small. 2008, 4, 2127-2130.  

Versatile Biomimetic Dendrimer Templates for the Formation of TiO2 and GeO2”  Sewell, S. L.; Rutledge, R. D.; Wright, D. W. Dalton Transactions. 2008, 29, 3857-3865.  

“Proximity-Activated Nanoparticles: In Vitro Performance of Specific Structural Modification by Enzymatic Cleavage” Smith, R. A.; Sewell, S.L.; Giorgio, T.D. International Journal of Nanomedicine. 2008, 3, 95-103.  

Detoxification Biominerals Carney, C. K.; Harry, S. R.; Sewell, S.L.; Wright, D.W. Topics in Current Chemistry, K. Naka, Ed., Springer-Verlag: Amsterdam, 2007, 270, 155-185.  

“Piezoelectric Print of Medical and Biological Materials” Sumerel, J.; Lewis, J.; Naraya, R.J.; Doraiswamy, A.; Dervai, L.F.; Sewell, S.L.; Gerdon, A.E.; Wright, D.W. BIOspektrum. 2006, 12, 756-757.  

“Piezoelectric Ink Jet Processing of Materials for Medical and Biological Applications” Sumerel, J.; Lewis, J.; Doraiswamy, A.; Deravi, L. F.; Sewell, S. L.; Gerden, A. E.; Wright, D. W.; Narayan, R. J. Biotechnology Journal. 2006, 1, 976-987.   

“The Basis of Immunomodulatory Activity of Malaria Pigment (Hemozoin)” Carney, C. K.; Schrimpe, A. C.; Halfpenny, K.; Harry, S. R.; Miller, C. M.; Broncel, M.; Sewell, S.L.; Schaff, J. E. Deol, R.; Carter, M. D.; Wright, D. W.  Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry.  2006, 11, 917-929.   

“Biomimetic Synthesis of Titanium Dioxide Utilizing the R5 Peptide Derived from Cylindrotheca fusiformis” Sewell, S. L.; Wright, D. W.  Chemistry of Materials2006, 18, 3108-3113.  

“Reduction of Secondary Alkyl Bromides by Palladium Catalysts Containing Chelating Diphosphine Ligands”   Milczek, E. L.; Palmiero, L.; Sewell, S. L.; Knight, K. S.  Transition Metal Chemistry. 2006, 31, 27-29.  

“Size Control of Dendrimer-Templated Silica” Knecht, M. R.; Sewell, S. L.; Wright, D. W.  Langmuir2005, 21, 2058-2061.