Dr. Alexandra J. MacDermott
Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry

University of Houston - Clear Lake
School of Natural and Applied Sciences
2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, Texas 77058-1098
Tel: (281) 283-3749; Fax: (281) 283-3709
E-mail: macdermott@uhcl.edu                



B.A. (1975), D.Phil. (1981), Oxford University

Courses Taught

Physical Chemistry I
CHEM 4231

Physical Chemistry II
CHEM 4232

Biochemistry I
CHEM 4431  
BIOL 4431
Modern Spectroscopy
CHEM 4931
CHEM 5931
Symmetry in Chemistry
CHEM 5931

CHEM 4931
CHEM 5931

Research Interests

Dr MacDermott's research interests lie in the broad area of *chirality*, encompassing not only the theoretical calculation of parity-violating and other enantioselective effects and chiroptical properties, but also chirality as a *signature* of life, in particular the chiroptical detection of life on other planets: although herself primarily a theoretician, she leads an international group, the SETH Consortium, which is currently developing space polarimeters in Moscow to Search for Extra-Terrestrial Homochirality (SETH) on Mars.

She is a Co-Investigator on the COSAC experiment of the Rosetta mission to Comet Wirtanen, and an Adjunct Scientist on the Beagle 2 Mars Lander. Her current work is the ab initio calculation of molecular parity-violating effects (in particular the *parity-violating energy difference* or *PVED* between enantiomers, and also enantioselective beta-radiolysis) which may play a role in explaining the *origin* of chirality - i.e. *why* life is based on L-amino acids and not their D mirror images.

Sample Publications (Review Article)

A.J.MacDermott "Stephen Mason Review: The Ascent of Parity-Violation: Exochirality in the Solar System and Beyond",  Enantiomer (2000) 5 153-168