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05 Jul 2008 - 12 Apr 2021
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Faculty  |   Research Areas  |   Staff  |   Graduate Students & Postdocs
Jennifer A. Swift
Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry 
Georgetown University
37th and O Streets NW
Washington, DC 20057-1227
Office: 522 Regents
Phone: 202-687-5567
Fax: 202-687-6209
Lab web sitehttp://chemistry.georgetown.edu/swift/
Education /
B.A. magna cum laude, 1991 Bowdoin College
Ph. D. 1997 Yale University
Postdoctoral associate, 1997-1999 Dept of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, University of Minnesota,
NSF CAREER Award (2001); CNDLS Teaching, Learning & Technology Fellow (2003-2004); Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2004); American Crystallography Association Margaret C. Etter Award (2005); College Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2005), US National Committee for Crystallography member (2006-2011), NSF-REU Program co-director (2006-)
TeachingOrganic Chemistry Lecture I, Organic Solid State Chemistry, Molecular Gastronomy
Research InterestsThe Swift lab is broadly interested in understanding the nucleation, growth, phase changes and physical properties of molecular crystals. This research area has many direct applications to the medical, pharmaceutical, defense, and food-product industries. All projects are highly interdisciplinary, enabling students to gain valuable experience in at least a few different areas of chemistry and material science including x-ray crystallography, physical characterization methods, atomic force microscopy (AFM), organic synthesis, and/or computational modeling.
Ongoing projects include:
1. Crystal deposition diseases/biomineralization. Uric Acid, a known component of human kidney stones and gout deposits, crystallizes in vivo in a variety of different crystal structures. Our lab uses in situ AFM to monitor the molecular-level growth of select crystal phases in order to determine how solution parameters (e.g. pH, supersaturation, impurities) directly affect the growth kinetics and/or mechanisms. Other studies have examined adhesion on crystal surfaces, impurity effects, and kinetic studies examining the transformations of metastable crystal phases. Previous work has also included studies on cholesterol crystallization, which has implication in gallstone and arterial plaque formation.
2. Template-directed nucleation. The introduction of designer surfaces into a supersaturated solution is an increasingly popular means to control the phase, size, defect density and/or orientation of molecular crystals which nucleate on them. We prepare two general classes of templates - gold-thiol monolayers and siloxane monolayers – and then test their effects when introduced into crystallizing solutions of a wide variety of molecules. Our long term goal is to elucidate the interfacial requirements involved in heterogeneous nucleation (and subsequent crystal growth) to a level of understanding which enables the predictable crystallization of energetic materials, pharmaceuticals, and other model compounds a priori. Previous work has also examined template effects when crystallization occurs in gel media.
3. Structure-property relationships of hydrates, polymorphs and cocrystals. The ability of a molecule to crystallize in a variety of forms is scientifically interesting, which in an industrial setting, can be either a blessing or a curse. E.g. New forms of a drug substance can radically improve its solubility; unanticipated transformation of metastable or hydrated phases can render a compound unsuitable for manufacturing. We are broadly interested in elucidating the fundamental structural, thermal, and mechanical properties of hydrates and/or polymorphic forms in a variety of model and industrially-relevant compounds.
Recent Publications
Janeth B. Presores and Jennifer A. Swift, “Adhesion Properties of Uric Acid Crystal Surfaces,” Langmuir, 28 (19), 7401-7406 (2012).
Ilana G. Goldberg and Jennifer A. Swift, “New Insights into the Metastable β Form of RDX,” Crystal Growth & Design, 12 (2), 1040-1045 (2012).
Clare M. Perrin, Mark A. Dobish, Edward Van Keuren, and Jennifer A. Swift, “Monosodium Urate Monohydrate Crystallization,” CrystEngComm, 13 (4), 1111-1117 (2011).
Christina Capacci-Daniel, Karen J. Gaskell and Jennifer A. Swift, "Nucleation and Growth of Metastable Polymorphs on Siloxane Monolayer Templates," Crystal Growth & Design, 10, 2, 952-962 (2010).
Amanuel Z. Zellelow, Kun-Hae Kim, Ryan E. Sours and Jennifer A. Swift, “Solid State Dehydration of Uric Acid Dihydrate,” Crystal Growth & Design, 10, 418-425 (2010).
   page last updated: October 3, 2012
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