I am an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Dakota State University. Indeed, I serve as the entire Chemistry Program and I co-coordinate the Physical Science Program. I teach all of the core chemistry courses as well as advanced courses in Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Organic Chemistry, Environmental Toxicology, Astrobiology, Astrochemistry, Prebiotic Chemistry (Chemical Evolution), and Extraterrestrial Oceanography (first offering Fall 2019). I also teach the popular Introductory Science course for the General Beadle Honors Program entitled: A Science Odyssey: From the Big Bang to Extraterrestrial Life to the Death of the Universe.

Since joining the Dakota State faculty in 2012, I have grown a robust undergraduate scientific research program broadly focused in the areas of pollutant impacts on environmental and human health, astrobiology/prebiotic chemistry, computational chemistry, drug discovery in toxic environments, and supercritical fluids (green chemistry). My students work on research problems at the cutting-edge of multiple disciplines, presenting their research findings at national and international conferences and publishing in respected scientific journals. 


My program building efforts have produced Dakota State's first undergraduate scientific publications, first Barry Goldwater Scholars (2017 & 2018), first U.S. EPA National Undergraduate Environmental Research Fellow, first NASA South Dakota Space Grant Consortium Summer Research Fellows (two in 2018), first Mayo Clinic Post-Baccalaureate Research Fellow, and first Fermilab Post-Baccalaureate Research Fellow. My students’ work in prebiotic chemistry has also recently earned them an unprecedented invitation to present their work at the 2018 Origins of Life Gordon Research Conference. And I am extremely proud to boast that every Gaylor Lab alum has gone on to respected PhD, MD, PharmD, PA, MPH, and MS programs. 


Highly interdisciplinary research opportunities are available in the Gaylor Lab. If you are curious, self-starting, hardworking, and have strong interests in the areas of chemistry, biology, environmental science, astrobiology, planetary science, molecular modeling, statistical analysis, and big data analytics, please contact me to learn how you can become involved in my research program.


Prebiotic Chemistry & Astrobiology

We have multiple projects ongoing to assess plausible pathways by which geochemistry could give rise to living chemistries in prebiotic planetary environments e.g. Mars, Ceres, and the icy moons Europa and Enceladus. These efforts encompass experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches.  

Environmental Analytical Chemistry & Ecotoxicology

We have multiple projects ongoing to assess the impacts of anthropogenic chemicals on environmental and human health, all of which require development and validation of analytical methods. 

Food Chemistry 

We have multiple projects ongoing to characterize the volatilome and microbiome of preserved foods perfectly sealed since the early 20th Century. One such project is our so-called "Pumpkin Project" (DSU's first ever crowdfunded student research project).

Green Chemistry

We have multiple projects ongoing to asses the potential for supercritical fluids (especially carbon dioxide) to efficiently extract anthropogenic chemicals from environmental samples, and to facilitate prebiotic chemical reactions.   

Natural Products Chemistry

We are collaborating with our colleagues at Southern Oregon University and Oregon State University to asses the potential for cyanobacteria to express fungal diterpene synthase enzymes and produce antimicrobial terpenoids.   


Ph.D. Marine Science

Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

College of William and Mary

M.A. Chemistry

College of William and Mary

B.S. Biology (w/ Departmental Honors)

Christopher Newport University

© 2018 Dr. Michael Gaylor