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Faculty Image Christopher Palmer
Office: Chem 203A
Phone: 406-243-4079


Current Position:

Professor and Chair, Chemistry and Biochemistry


Chris Palmer received his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Arizona in 1991. He carried out postdoctoral research at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University from 1991 to 1992, at Unilever Research Laboratory in The Netherlands from 1993 to 1994, and at Himeji Institute of Technology in Japan from 1994 to 1995. He was Assistant Professor of Chemistry at New Mexico Insitute of Mining and Technology from 1995 to 1999 and Associate Professor from 1999-2001. Chris joined UM in 2001. He spent a year as Honorary Research Associate at the Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS) at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.  Chris is an analytical chemist specializing in the development of novel polymeric materials for application in microscale liquid phase separations and in the application of separations methods to environmental analysis.

Office Hours:

Monday 2-3 and Tuesday 11 AM - 12 PM

Research Interests:

Chris and his research group are interested in the development of new separations methodologies that will have a broad range of application and analytical interest in the fields of pharmaceutical, environmental and biochemical analysis. Interests also include characterization of the nature of chemical interactions observed between solutes and solvent phases, and how this is affected by the structure and chemistry of the solvent phase. Most recent work has concentrated on the development, characterization and application of novel amphophilic ionic polymers and polymeric nanoparticles as pseudo-stationary phases in electrokinetic chromatography. Electrokinetic chromatography is a micro-scale analytical technique that can be carried out in capillaries or on microchip devices. Nonionic compounds are separated via differential interaction with an ionic pseudo-stationary phase in an electric field. The polymeric materials that are being developed in the laboratory have several significant advantages over commonly used micellar phases. These advantages stem from the stability of the structures, which leads to applicability for the separation of hydrophobic compounds, the ability to design and synthesize phases with unique chemical selectivity, and compatibility with mass spectrometric detection.

Chris is also involved in collaborative work in which separations technologies are developed and applied to environmental analytical problems.  Most recently, the group has developed and applied GC-MS methods for the determination of chemical markers for wood smoke in particulate matter and in urine.  Application of these methods has supported the evaluation of a wood stove replacement program in Libby, MT and the characterization of levoglucosan as a potential chemical marker of exposure to woodsmoke.  The research team continues to work on issues related to residential wood smoke and wood smoke exposure.


CHMY 341:  Analytical Chemistry:  Quantitative Analysis

CHMY 489:  Forensic Chemistry Seminar

CHMY 542:  Separation Science


Juniata College, Huntingdon PA.  BS in Chemistry, 1985

University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.  PhD in Analytical Chemistry, 1991

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.  Postdoctoral Associate.  1991-1992

Unilever Research Laboratorium, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.  Postdoctoral Associate.  1993-1994

Himeji Institute of Technology (now Kyogo Prefectural University), Japan, Postdoctoral Fellow.  1994-1995

Professional Experience:

5/13 to Present             Professor and Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Montana, Missoula, MT

7/08 to 5/13                  Professor of Chemistry, University of Montana, Missoula, MT

8/07 to 7/08                   Honorary Research Associate, Australian Center for Research on Separation Science, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania

8/01 to 7/08                   Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Montana, Missoula, MT

7/00 to 8/01                   Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM

5/00 to 8/00                   Visiting Scientist and Lecturer, Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

5/99 to 6/00                   Associate Professor of Chemistry, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM

8/95 to 5/99                   Assistant Professor of Chemistry, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM

International Experience:

The Netherlands: Unilever Research Laboratorium, Vlaardingen.  1992-1994. Postdoctoral Res. Assoc.

Japan:  Himeji Institute of Technology (now Kyogo Prefecture University). 1994-1995.  Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Postdoctoral Fellow.

Belgium:  Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve.  Visiting Scientist and Lecturer.

Australia:  University of Tasmania, Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS).  2007-2008.  Honorary Research Associate

Selected Publications:

Other Publications:

RAFT Polymerized Nanoparticles: Influences of Shell and Core Chemistries on Performance for Electrokinetic Chromatography,” Jesse S. Hyslop, Leah M.G. Hall, Andre A. Umansky, Christopher P. Palmer, (2014) Electrophoresis, 35, 728-735. 10.1002/elps.201300403

“The impact of a community-wide woodstove changeout intervention on air quality within two schools,” Tony J. Ward, Christopher P. Palmer, Kathi Hooper, Megan Bergauff, Curtis Noonan, (2013) Atmospheric Pollution Research, 4, 238-244.  10.5094/APR.2013.025

“Residential indoor PM2.5 in wood stove homes:  follow-up of the Libby changeout program,” C.W. Noonan, W. Navidi, L. Sheppard, C.P. Palmer, M. Bergauff, K. Hooper, T.J. Ward, (2012) Indoor Air, 22(6), 492-500. 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2012.00789.x

“Organic/elemental carbon and woodsmoke tracer concentrations following a community wide woodstove changeout program,” T.J Ward, C.P. Palmer, M. Bergauff, R.K.M. Jayanty, C.W. Noonan, (2011) Atmospheric Environment, 45, 5554-5560. 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.05.005

.“Retention Behavior and Selectivity of a Latex Nanoparticle Pseudostationary Phase for Electrokinetic Chromatography,” Christopher P. Palmer, Allison Keefer, Emily F.Hilder, Paul R. Haddad, (2011) Electrophoresis, 32, 588-594. 10.1002/elps.201044470

“Fine particulate matter source apportionment following a large woodstove changeout program in Libby, Montana,” Tony J. Ward, Christopher P. Palmer, Curtis W. Noonan, (2010) Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association,  60(6),  688-693. 10.3155/1047-3289.60.6.688

“Electrokinetic Chromatography and Mass Spectrometric Detection Using Latex Nanoparticles as a Pseudostationary Phase,” Christopher P. Palmer, Emily F. Hilder, Joselito P. Quirino and Paul R. Haddad, (2010) Analytical Chemistry, 82(10), 4046-4054 10.1021/ac902922u

For a full list of publications, please view Palmer Publications.