Principal Investigator

Andrew G. Tennyson, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Member, Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies

Office: H.L. Hunter Laboratories, Room 483
Phone: (864)656-3158

Curriculum Vitae
LinkedIn Profile
Google Scholar Profile


Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
S.M., University of Chicago
S.B. (Honors), University of Chicago

Selected Honors & Awards

2018     Clemson University Board of Trustees Award for Excellence
2016     NSF CAREER Award
2003     NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
2003     Sigma Xi Best Thesis Award
2002     Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship


Andy received his S.B. (with Honors) and S.M. concurrently in 2003 from the University of Chicago, where he worked in the laboratory of Prof. Greg Hillhouse on the reactivity of Ni(I) and Ni(II) chalcogenide complexes. He then obtained his Ph.D. in 2008 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the mentorship of Prof. Steve Lippard for his research in the fluorescent detection of reactive nitrogen species and their reactivity with transition metal complexes. This research yielded, what was at the time, the first instance of a turn-on fluorescence sensor that was selective for HNO over NO in aqueous solution. From 2008–2010, Andy was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, where he investigated how the electrochemical and photoluminescent properties of organometallic complexes could be modulated using N-heterocyclic carbene ligands.


In his independent career, Andy explores the fundamental mechanisms by which normal and abnormal redox states contribute to human health and disease. Of particular interest are immune diseases that are triggered by oxidative stress and sterile inflammation, such as the foreign body reaction, transplant rejection, diabetes, cardiomyopathy, and stroke. A major goal of these research efforts is to develop redox therapeutics that alleviate or prevent redox diseases, without immunosuppression, via catalytic redox reactions that harness endogenous terminal reductants and oxidants.

Another of Andy’s research areas is the conversion of pollutants, waste products, and low-value byproducts into high-value chemicals and materials that are useful to human industry and agriculture. The focus of this area is to exploit redox reactions between common waste products as a means to create covalently-crosslinked materials. A major goal of these efforts is to create building materials that can be thermally recycled and reused, in addition to having a negative carbon footprint.

Recently, Andy has begun a program to develop biocompatible materials that actively resist infection and disrupt biofilm formation, do not trigger an inflammatory cascade, and can be non-surgically repaired using non-invasive exogenous stimuli.


In Fall semesters, Andy typically teaches Organometallic Chemistry (CH 4010 / 6010), which is an elective course for undergraduate and graduate students. This course covers the fundamentals of structure and bonding in complexes that contain metal–carbon bonds and their roles in biological systems, medicines, organic functional group transformation catalysis, and polymerization reactions.

In Spring semesters, Andy typically teaches Advanced Synthetic Techniques (CH 4030), which is a required course for all Chemistry B.S. students. This course provides hands-on training in the synthesis and manipulation of air-sensitive compounds, catalysis, reaction progress kinetic analysis, UV/vis, IR, heteronuclear NMR, and fluorescence spectroscopies, polymer synthesis and characterization, thermal analysis techniques, solid-state material synthesis, and main group chemistry.

In the past, Andy has taught traditional lecture and lab courses in organic and inorganic chemistry at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as summer chemistry courses for in-service K-12 science teachers and visiting middle- and high-school students from Japan.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Taylor Elrod

Ph.D., Chemistry, Brown University;
B.S., Chemistry, University of Vermont

Graduate Students

Zhuomin Lu

B.E., Chemistry, Shantou University
Ashlyn Smith

M.S., Chemistry, University of Florida;
B.S., Chemistry, Clemson University

Undergraduate Students

Morgan McKinney

Class of 2020; Chemistry, B.S.

Madison Motes

Class of 2022; Chemistry, B.S.