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Professor of Chemistry



Office: Hackman 317A

Office: HAC 301A
Lab: ​HAC 317

Fall 2023 Office Hours: TBD


B.A. Gettysburg College, 1982
Ph.D. University of Virginia, 1986


Our research involves the application of liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) methods to analytical problems of importance.  The Chemistry Department houses an Agilent 1100 HPLC–SL Ion Trap system that allows chromatographic separation and mass spectral identification of analytes, including Mass Spectrometry/Mass Spectrometry (MS/MS) methods. In previous work the instrument was employed to verify the site-specific incorporation of unnatural amino acids in proteins. Currently, we are working with the Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, PA to address clinical aspects of GM3 synthase deficiency, a rare autosomal recessive epilepsy syndrome ob-served in the Amish population. A key component of the project is the development and implementation of analytical methodologies for the analysis of ganglioside molecules using LC-MS and fluorescence techniques. 



(Undergraduate student coauthor are in bold.)

Olenginski, G. M.; Piacentini, J.; Harris, D. R.; Runko, N. A.; Papoutsis, B. M.; Alter, J. R.; Hess, K. R.; Brewer, S. H.; Phillips-Piro, C. M. Structural and spectrophotometric investigation of two unnatural amino-acid altered chromophores in the superfolder green fluorescent protein. Acta Crystallographica D2021, D77, 1010-1018.

Brenner, R. K.; Hess, K. R.; Morford, J. L. Understanding Electrophoresis through the Investigation of Size, Shape and Charge of pH Indicators.  J. Chem Ed  201592 (10)1705-1708. DOI:10.1021/ed500223d. 

Peeler, J.C.; Woodman, B.F.; Averick, S.; Miyake-Stoner, S.J.; Stokes, A.L.; Hess, K.R.; Matyjaszewski, K.; Mehl, R.A. Genetically Encoded Initiator for Polymer Growth from Proteins. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 13575..

Miyake-Stoner, S.J.; Miller, A.M.; Hammill, J.T.; Peeler, J.C.; Hess, K.R.; Mehl, R.A.; Brewer, S.H. Probing Protein Unfolding Using Site-Specifically Encoded Unnatural Amino Acids as FRET Donors with Tryptophan. Biochemistry 2009, 48, 5953-5962.

Jackson, J.C.; Duffy, S.P.; Hess, K.R.; Mehl, R.A. Improving Nature's Active Site with Genetically Encoded Unnatural Amino Acids. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 11124-11127.

Powers, D.C. ; Higgs, A.T. ; Obley, M.L.;  Leber, P.A.; Hess, K.R.; Yoder, C.H.  An Environmental Project for First Year Chemistry Students: Analysis of Natural Buffer Systems and the Impact of Acid Rain. J. Chem. Educ. 2005, 826, 274-2770.

 Schilling, A.L.; Hess, K.R.;  Leber, P.A.; Yoder, C.H. A Simulation of the Interaction of Acid Rain with Soil Materials, J. Chem. Educ. 2004, 81, 246-247.

Harle, H.D.; Ingram, J.A. ; Leber, P.A.; Hess, K.R.; Yoder, C.H. A Simple Method for Determination of Solubility in the First-Year Laboratory. J. Chem. Educ. 2003, 80, 560.

Harle, H.D.;  Leber, P.A.;  Hess, K.R.; Yoder, C.H. A Concept-Based Environmental Project for the First-Year Laboratory: Remediation of Barium-Contaminated Soil by In Situ Immobilization. J. Chem. Educ. 2003, 80, 561-562.

Bender, J. D.; Catino, A. J.; Hess, K. R.; Lassman, M. E.; Leber, P. A.; Pike, C. S.; Reinard, M. D.; Strotman, N. A. A Biochemical GC/MS Application for the Organic Chemistry Laboratory: Determination of FAME Composition in Arabidopsis thaliana. J. Chem. Educ. 2000, 77, 1466.

Yoder, C.; Retterer, O.; Thomsen, M.; Hess, K. Interactive Chemistry: Models and Applications (an interactive, CD-ROM based text for introductory chemistry) [CD-ROM]; Academy Artworks: York, PA, 1999.

Barshick, C.M.; Hess, K.R.;  Zook, A.L.; Steiner, R.E.; King, F.L. An Investigation into the Analytical Utility of Plasma etching in Reactive Glow Discharge Plasmas. Applied Spectroscopy 1999, 53, 65.

Day, D.A.; Zook, A.L.; Barshick, C. M.; Hess, K. R. Electrochemical Deposition of Metals in the Preparation of Standard Materials for Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry. Microchemical Journal 1997, 55, 208.

Xiong, X.;  Hutchinson, J.M.R.; Hess, K.R.;  Fassett, J.D.; Lucatorto, T.B. A Novel Approach to Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry Employing a Glow Discharge Atom Source. Spectrochimica Acta, Part B 1996, 51B, 1463.

Yoder, C.H.;  Smith, W.D.; Katolik, V.L.; Hess, K.R.; Thomsen, M.W.; Yoder, C.S.; Bullock, E.R. The Synthesis and Analysis of Copper(II) Carboxylates.  J. Chem. Educ.1995, 72, 267.

Hess, K.R.;  Smith, W.D.;  Thomsen, M.W.;  Yoder, C.H. An Introductory Infrared Spectroscopy Experiment.  J. Chem. Educ. 1995, 72, 655.

Xiong, X.; Hutchinson, J.M.R.; Fassett, J.D.; Lucatorto, T.B.; Schima, F.J.; Bowman, W.A.; Hess, K.R. Study of Laser Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy Using a Glow Discharge Source. AIP Conference Proceedings 329: Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy 1994, American Institute for Physics Press, New York, p. 316-319, 1995.

Course Information

Dr. Kenneth Hess teaches the following courses:

Chem 111/112 - General Chemistry I and II
Chem 221 - Chemcal Analysis
Chem 374 - Chemical Instrumentation

In the News

Story 10/2/2012

Ken Hess

Ken Hess, professor of chemistry, is the faculty mentor to Franklin & Marshall College’s first Science Posse. The Posse Foundation recruits high-performing students from underrepresented groups...

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