Molly Wilker

Director of Undergraduate Research
Associate Professor of Chemistry

Office: Sampson Hoffland Lab 390D

Phone: 563-387-1123

Email: Send Email


Molly Wilker is an associate professor in the chemistry department. Some of her course topics include Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy, Thermodynamics, and Kinetics. Her research centers around semiconductor nanocrystals with a focus on understanding the surface chemistry of these unique materials.

Visit Professor Wilker’s research group website

Chem 114: The Environment: A Chemical Perspective
A study of the environment with emphasis on the relationship between technology and our surroundings. The course is designed for non-science students with little science background.

Chem 151: Chemical Principles I
General course with laboratory intended primarily for students concentrating in the science area.

Chem 152: Chemical Principles II
General course with laboratory intended primarily for students concentrating in the science area.

Chem 351: Chemical Kinetics
An introduction to the area of chemistry involving the rates at which chemical reactions occur. Topics will include classical kinetics, kinetics of fast reactions, and enzyme kinetics.

Chem 361: Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy
An introduction to the formalism of quantum mechanics through the core quantum mechanical models of the particle in the box, the harmonic oscillator, the rigid rotor, and the hydrogen atom. Applications of these models are then made to describe various types of spectroscopy used to study chemical systems.

Chem 362: Thermodynamics
Mathematical treatment of the fundamental laws of thermodynamics and how those laws govern chemical and physical changes.

Chem 365: Spectroscopy and Separations Laboratory
A laboratory introduction to various types of spectroscopy and separation techniques and how they are used in the chemistry laboratory. Techniques will include UV/VIS, IR, fluorescence, and NMR spectroscopy, and liquid and gas phase chromatography.

Chem 366: Thermodynamics and Kinetics Laboratory
A laboratory introduction to the study of the energetics and rates of chemical reactions.

Chem 379: Inorganic Synthesis Laboratory
A laboratory introduction to the synthesis and characterization of inorganic compounds. Syntheses will include coordination and organometallic compounds of both historical and contemporary interest.

  • Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Ph.D. Thesis: Charge Transfer Dynamics in Complexes of Light-Absorbing CdS Nanorods and Redox Catalysts
  • B.A., Chemistry, Gustavus Adolphus College

M. B. Wilker. “Incorporating Experimental Design into a Stand-Alone Undergraduate Physical Chemistry Laboratory Course.” Engaging Students in Physical Chemistry. 2018, 83-94.

M. B. Wilker, J. K. Utterback, S. Greene, K. A. Brown, D. W. Mulder, P. W. King, G. Dukovic. “Role of Surface-Capping Ligands in Photoexcited Electron Transfer Between CdS Nanorods and [FeFe] Hydrogenase and the Subsequent H2 Generation.”Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2017, 122, 741-750.

M.W. Ratzloff, M. B. Wilker, D. W. Mulder, C. E. Lubner, H. Hamby, K. A. Brown, G. Dukovic, P. W. King. “Activation Thermodynamics and H/D Kinetic Isotope Effect of the  Hox to  HredH+ Transition in [FeFe] Hydrogenase.” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2017, 139, 12879-12882.

A. N. Grennell, J. K. Utterback, O. M. Pearce, M. B. Wilker, G. Dukovic. “Relationships between Exciton Dissociation and Slow Recombination within ZnSe/CdS and CdSe/CdS Dot-in-Rod Heterostructures.” Nano Letters, 2017, 17, 3764-3774.

J. K. Utterback, A. N. Grennell, M. B. Wilker, O. M. Pearce, J. D. Eaves, G. Dukovic. “Observation of trapped-hole diffusion on the surfaces of CdS nanorods.”Nature Chemistry, 2016, 8, 1061-1066.

K. A. Brown, D. F. Harris, M. B. Wilker, A. Rasmussen, N. Khadka, H. Hamby, S. Keable, G.  Dukovic, J. W. Peters, L. C. Seefeldt, P. W. King. “Light-driven dinitrogen reduction catalyzed by a CdS:nitrogenase MoFe protein biohybrid.” Science, 2016, 352, 448-450.

K. A. Brown, M. B. Wilker, M.  Boehm, H. Hamby, G. Dukovic, P. W. King. “Photocatalytic Regeneration of Nicotinamide Cofactors by Quantum Dot- Enzyme Biohybrid Complexes.”ACS Catalysis, 2016, 6, 2201-2204.

J. L. Ellis, D. D. Hickstein,W. Xiong, F. Dollar, B. B. Palm, K. E.  Keister, K. M. Dorney, C. Ding, T. Fan, M. B. Wilker, K. J. Schnitzenbaumer, G. Dukovic, J. L. Jimenez, H. C.  Kapteyn, M. M.  Murnane. “Materials Properties and Solvated Electron Dynamics of Isolated Nanoparticles and Nanodroplets Probed with Ultrafast Extreme Ultraviolet Beams.”Journal of  Physical Chemistry Letters, 2016, 7, 609-615.

J. Ellis, D. Hickstein, K. J. Schnitzenbaumer, M. B. Wilker, B. Palm, J. Jimenez, G. Dukovic, H. Kapteyn, M. Murnane, W. Xiong. “Solvents Effects on Charge Transfer from Quantum Dots.”Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2015, 137, 3759-3762.

J. K. Utterback, M. B. Wilker, K. A. Brown, P. W. King, J. D. Eaves, G. Dukovic. “Competition between electron transfer, trapping, and recombination in CdS nanorod-hydrogenase complexes.” Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2015, 17, 5538-5542.

M. B. Wilker, K. E. Shinopoulos, K. A. Brown, D. W. Mulder, P. W. King, G. Dukovic. “Electron Transfer Kinetics in CdS Nanorod-[FeFe]-Hydrogenase Complexes and Implications for Photochemical H2 Generation.” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2014, 136, 4316-4324. (Highlighted in JACS Spotlights)

H.W. Tseng*, M. B. Wilker*, N. H. Damrauer, G. Dukovic. “Charge Transfer Dynamics between Photoexcited CdS Nanorods and Mononuclear Ru Water-Oxidation Catalysts.”Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013, 135, 3383-3386. (*authors contributing equally)

M. B. Wilker, K. J. Schnitzenbaumer, G. Dukovic. “Recent Progress in Photocatalysis Mediated by Colloidal II-VI Nanocrystals.” Israel Journal of Chemistry, 2012, 52, 1002-1015.

K. Lee, B. M. Tienes, M. B. Wilker, K. J. Schnitzenbaumer, G. Dukovic. “(Ga1-xZnx)(N1-xOx) Nanocrystals: Visible Absorbers with Tunable Composition and Absorption Spectra.”Nano Letters, 2012, 12, 3268–3272.

F. Li, M. B. Wilker, A. Stein. “Simulations-Aided Design and Synthesis of Hierarchically Porous Membranes.” Langmuir, 2012, 28, 7484-7491.

K. A. Brown, M. B. Wilker, M. Boehm, G. Dukovic, P. W. King. “Characterization of Photochemical Processes for H2 Production by CdS Nanorod-[FeFe] Hydrogenase Complexes.”Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2012, 134, 5627-5636. (Highlighted in JACS Spotlights)

F. Li, W. C. Yoo, M. B. Beernink, A. Stein. “Site-Specific Functionalization of Anisotropic Nanoparticles: From Colloidal Atoms to Colloidal Molecules.” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009, 131, 18548–18555.