Sarah Pierce

Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Engineering Science

Degrees: B.S., Chemistry, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Ph.D., Chemistry, Vanderbilt University
Post-Doctoral Research, Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University
Office Location: Memorial Hall, 301A
Phone: 615.547.1233
CU's Science and Math Blog
Follow Dr. Pierce on Twitter!
Dr. Sarah Pierce graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with honors in Chemistry in 2003 before moving on to Vanderbilt University where she completed her Ph.D. in December 2006 with graduate research focused on biomaterials chemistry. After completion of her Ph.D., she worked as a post-doctoral research assistant at Vanderbilt University in the Biomedical Engineering department, focusing her research on developing second-generation nanoparticles for breast cancer targeting. During her time at Vanderbilt she also developed and helped teach a Bionanomaterials course and conducted general chemistry lab courses. Dr. Pierce has had several publications in various scientific journals and has made presentations at several chemistry and engineering conferences to discuss her research.

Now that she serves as a faculty member at Cumberland, Dr. Pierce focuses her interests in chemical education research.  Specifically, she is interested in incorporating new technology such as podcasting, screencasting, and personal response systems or “clickers” into the classroom. Additionally, in her time at Cumberland, she has developed general chemistry and organic chemistry lab texts to reduce the textbook cost for students.

Dr. Pierce currently teaches general chemistry, organic chemistry, the fundamentals of chemistry and biochemistry, with each class offering students the opportunity to participate in various independent research projects.  In general chemistry, students design a scientific experiment involving soda, while in organic chemistry and the fundamentals of chemistry, students read a popular nonfiction science book for group discussion and research.  In biochemistry, the students design multiple independent scientific experiments about cholesterol, protein, DNA and enzyme activity.  To further develop Cumberland's science curriculum, Dr. Pierce has worked over the past year to develop a biochemistry major, which will be offered in the Fall of 2011.

In her personal time, Dr. Pierce enjoys attending Cumberland University athletic events, experimenting in the kitchen, and exploring the Middle Tennessee area. 



“Quantification of Quantum Dot Concentration using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)” Sewell, S.L; Higgins, M.M; Bell, C. S; Giorgio, T. D. Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology.  2011, accepted.

“Synthesis and Enzymatic Cleavage of Dual-Ligand Quantum Dots” Sewell, S.L.; Giorgio, T.D.  Materials Science and Engineering C.  2009, 29, 1428-1432.

“Piezeoelectric Inkjet Printing of Biomimetic Inks for Reactive Surfaces”  Deravi, L. F.; Sumerel, J.L; Sewell, S. L.; Wright, D.W. Small. 2008, 4, 2127-2130.

“Versatile Biomimetic Dendrimer Templates for the Formation of TiO2 and GeO2” Sewell, S. L.; Rutledge, R. D.; Wright, D. W. Dalton Transactions. 2008, 29, 3857-3865.

“Proximity-Activated Nanoparticles: In Vitro Performance of Specific Structural Modification by Enzymatic Cleavage” Smith, R. A.; Sewell, S.L.; Giorgio, T.D. International Journal of Nanomedicine. 2008, 3, 95-103.

“Detoxification Biominerals” Carney, C. K.; Harry, S. R.; Sewell, S.L.; Wright, D.W. Topics in Current Chemistry, K. Naka, Ed., Springer-Verlag: Amsterdam, 2007, 270, 155-185.

“Piezoelectric Print of Medical and Biological Materials” Sumerel, J.; Lewis, J.; Naraya, R.J.; Doraiswamy, A.; Dervai, L.F.; Sewell, S.L.; Gerdon, A.E.; Wright, D.W. BIOspektrum. 2006, 12, 756-757.

“Piezoelectric Ink Jet Processing of Materials for Medical and Biological Applications” Sumerel, J.; Lewis, J.; Doraiswamy, A.; Deravi, L. F.; Sewell, S. L.; Gerden, A. E.; Wright, D. W.; Narayan, R. J. Biotechnology Journal. 2006, 1, 976-987.

“The Basis of Immunomodulatory Activity of Malaria Pigment (Hemozoin)” Carney, C. K.; Schrimpe, A. C.; Halfpenny, K.; Harry, S. R.; Miller, C. M.; Broncel, M.; Sewell, S.L.; Schaff, J. E. Deol, R.; Carter, M. D.; Wright, D. W.  Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry.  2006, 11, 917-929.

“Biomimetic Synthesis of Titanium Dioxide Utilizing the R5 Peptide Derived from Cylindrotheca fusiformis” Sewell, S. L.; Wright, D. W. Chemistry of Materials.  2006, 18, 3108-3113.

“Reduction of Secondary Alkyl Bromides by Palladium Catalysts Containing Chelating Diphosphine Ligands” Milczek, E. L.; Palmiero, L.; Sewell, S. L.; Knight, K. S.  Transition Metal Chemistry. 2006, 31, 27-29.

“Size Control of Dendrimer-Templated Silica” Knecht, M. R.; Sewell, S. L.; Wright, D. W.  Langmuir.  2005, 21, 2058-2061.



“Podcasting in Five Minutes”, Sarah Pierce.  Presented at the 21st Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, August 1-5, 2010 in Denton, Texas.

“Nanoparticle Synthesis to Application: a Nanobiotechnology Lab Course for Biomedical Engineering”, Sarah Pierce, Amanda Lowery, Charleson Bell and Todd Giorgio.  Presented at the 117th American Society for Engineering Education Conference, June 20-23, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky (peer reviewed).