Winston-Salem State University

Chemistry Faculty

M. Ngu-Schwemlein, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry


M. Ngu-Schwemlein’s Bio



Dr. Maria Ngu-Schwemlein received her B.Sc. degree in Chemistry, with honors, in 1986 from LaTrobe University, Victoria, Australia.  In 1989, she earned her Ph.D. degree in Medicinal/Organic Chemistry at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia.  Under the supervision of Dr. Gordon Barlin, she conducted research in the design and synthesis of anxiolytic heterocyclic compounds and their interactions with GABA receptors.  She began her postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Professor K. Krautler at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Switzerland, in 1990 and expanded her research experience in the synthesis of Vit B12 analogues.  Subsequently, she worked at Ciba Geigy, Ag, Basel, Switzerland prior to her relocation to the United States with her family.


Dr. Ngu-Schwemlein joined the department of chemistry at the Louisiana State University in 1991, and worked in Dr. M.L. McLaughlin’s group on peptide chemistry.  In January 1994, she joined Southern University as an assistant professor.  Dr. Ngu-Schwemlein has a strong track record in teaching, research and mentoring in STEM (Science, Math and Engineering) fields. As a tenured faculty at Southern University, she was a recipient of a faculty research and teaching award, as well as the Teacher of the Year, College of Basic Sciences, Southern University 2000 award. She has been a research advisor and mentor to groups underrepresented in science (ACS-SEEDS, NOBCChe and Louisiana Alliance in Minority Participation (LAMP) through funding from NSF HBCU-UP, NIH NIGMS and ACS PRF. Many of these undergraduates have successfully completed their Ph.D., M.D., Pharmacology or Dental programs. At the University of South Alabama and she continued her academic career in undergraduate teaching and research.  She has been actively involved in directing undergraduate research and frequently publishes in peer reviewed journals with undergraduates as co-authors.  As the Faculty Adviser for ACS Student Affiliates and a member of the Women in Science and Expanding your Horizon (at the University of South Alabama, 2002-2006) she also participated in many community services.


Dr. Ngu-Schwemlein’s current research is in peptide chemistry, including solid phase peptide synthesis and the design of cyclopeptides as chemosensing molecules for metal ions as well as their antimicrobial properties.  Since joining WSSU in 2006, she is actively involved in research involving undergraduates.  Her research and educational funding include an NSF-RUI faculty research grant, an NSF-TIG grant to initiate a biochemistry concentration in the ACS certified chemistry degree program, and recently, an NIH SCORE 3 grant for conducting research in antimicrobial peptides.  Dr. Ngu-Schwemlein is a member of the national American Chemical Society, American Peptide Society and the University Council for Undergraduate Research (UCUR). 

This is a personal web page. Opinions or views expressed are those of the author and do not represent the official views of Winston-Salem State University.