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Chemistry and Biochemistry

Cynthia B. McGowan, Ph.D.

Professor and Dean, School of Science & Engineering


Ph.D., Brandeis University
B.A., Russell Sage College


  • Organic Chemistry I & II
  • Synthetic Organic Chemistry
  • Integrated Laboratory I & II
  • Chemical Literature and Seminar
  • Advanced Topics in Organic Chemistry
  • Polymer Chemistry



The main research focus of Dean McGowan’s laboratory is the application of microwave heating to preparative organic chemistry. She has a number of undergraduate research students working under her supervision each semester and over summer breaks.

In addition to exploring new synthetic methods for organic transformations, she is actively developing chemical-education materials. She has transformed the organic chemistry curriculum at Merrimack College by introduction of microwave heating as a tool. By converting a number of reactions from conventional to microwave conditions, it has been possible to expand the scope of experiments undergraduates can participate in during laboratory periods.

McGowan has collaborated extensively with Associate Professor of Chemistry Nicholas Leadbeater at the University of Connecticut in developing a range of new experiments for the undergraduate teaching laboratory.

Selected Publications

  • Microscale Organic Laboratory: with Multistep and Multiscale Syntheses, 5th Edition, D. W. Mayo, R. M. Pike and D. C. Forbes with microwave chemistry contributions from N. E. Leadbeater and C. B. McGowan, Wiley, 2010, ISBN-13: 978-0-471-21502-8
  • Bowman, Matthew D.; Schmink, Jason R.; McGowan, Cynthia M.; Kormos, Chad M.; Leadbeater, Nicholas E.   Scale-Up of Microwave-Promoted Reactions to the Multigram Level Using a Sealed-Vessel Microwave Apparatus.    Organic Process Research & Development  (2008),  12(6),  1078-1088. 
  • Clean, Fast Organic Chemistry: Microwave-Assisted Laboratory Experiments, Nicholas Leadbeater, PhD and Cynthia McGowan, PhD CEM Press, 2006, ISBN#13:978-0-972222229
  • M. M. Singh, C. B. McGowan, Z. Szafran and R. M. Pike, “A Comparative Study of Microscale and Standard Burets”, J. Chem.Educ. 2000, 77, 625.




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