Dr. Nicholas Shaw


  • Ph.D. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, Clemson University (Clemson, SC), 2010
    • Mentor: Dr. Dev P. Arya. 
    • His graduate work focused on the development of new aminoglycoside antibiotics derived from neomycin B. 

 Professional Experience:

  • Began teaching at Appalachian State University in 2015.
    • Dr. Shaw teaches sophomore-level organic chemistry (organic chemistry I and II) as well as the associated laboratories. 
    • His classroom teaching interests are focused on the development of new teaching tools that help students think like a chemist and to develop mastery. He also uses his research laboratory to develop scientists through research. Here, research assistants are trained in scientific research – experimental design, safety, experimental execution, data collection, data analysis, and communication (verbal and orally) – and supported as they use their training to develop into independent, competent, and confident scientists.
  • Visiting Assistant Professor at The College of Wooster 


A trained medicinal chemist, Dr. Shaw’s research interests have expanded greatly. Currently, the Shaw Research Group’s interests focus on the development of nano-reactors for use in organic chemistry.

The practice of synthetic organic chemistry is plagued by long reaction times and low reaction yields. The painstaking effort is spent maintaining optimal conditions for product synthesis; it is common for these conditions to be held in excess of a day. Even when the conditions are optimal, most reactions fail to yield 100% pure product and when the reactions inevitably stall, the resulting mixture of compounds requires tedious purification, which often diminishes synthetic yield. The use of nano-reactors in organic synthesis seeks to overcome the reactivity challenges of conducting synthesis using traditional methods by ensuring reactivity through the restriction of reactants to nano-sized reactors.

Undergraduate students in the Shaw Research Group focus their efforts on the development of new nano-reactor synthetic methodologies and their application to synthetic organic chemistry, drug design and synthesis, peptide synthesis, and biodiesel fuels.

Selected Publications:

Nicholas N. Shaw, Samuella B. Sigmann, and Lyndsay B. Richard; The Research Storyboard: Ideas for Cultivating Safe, Engaged, and Empowered Undergraduate Research Students. J. Chem. Ed. 2021, 98 (1), 167-174


Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics – CONducting ComplEx Research Together) Grant - ‘Don’t Worry, Bee Happy: Using Sugar Waste as a Feedstock for Fuel Ethanol and Apiculture’

Appalachian State University – College of Arts and Sciences – Summer Grant: ‘Nano-Reactor Commercial Scale Synthesis of Biodiesel Fuel’

Appalachian State University – Chancellor’s Appalachian Innovation Scholars Program

Appalachian Energy Center Open Grant: ‘Toward Commercialization – From the Laboratory to Industry- Nano-Reactor Synthesis of Biodiesel Fuel’

Appalachian State University – College of Arts and Sciences – SAFE Grant: Proving Nano-Reactor Technology Commercial Viability: Synthesizing Aspartame

Title: Associate Professor, Research Mentor
Department: Chemistry

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-7107

Office address
GWH 449