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2800 University Blvd N
Jacksonville, FL 32211

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Dr. Peter Zhao

Dr. Peter Zhao

Associate Professor of Chemistry & Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics

Email address  pzhao@ju.edu
Telephone number  904-256-7634
Office location  Swisher Science 1F


  • Ph.D., Wichita State University, 2005
  • M.S., Wichita State University, 2003
  • B.Sc., University of Science & Technology of China, 2000

Courses taught:

  • Introduction to Chemistry Survey
  • General Chemistry
  • Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry
  • Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • Reaction mechanism of Coordination Compounds
  • Bioinorganic Chemistry
  • Green Revolution: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Senior Project

Research Interests:

My inorganic research focuses on synthesis and characterization of multi-dentate transition metal complexes, which contribute to the sciences of the new century – material and bioinorganic sciences. Multi-dentate ligands such as polypyrazolylborate, poly(1,2,4-triazolyl)borate, and polythioimidazolylborate are designed and synthesized due to their versatility and potential binding capability. Structures, properties, and reactivities of transition metal complexes from the series of ligands can be varied by changing either the center metal ion or the peripheral ligand substituents, leading to the formation of molecular materials with bulky properties, or bioactive molecules that can help understand natural bioinorganic mechanism.

I have also developed a research interest in science education, focusing on inquiry-based, student-centered teaching strategies to promote students’ metacognitive learning, leading to awakened life-long learners. While inquiry-based instruction motivates students to close the gap between superficial and real learning, they also need guidance in developing effective learning strategies through metacognition.

Selected Publications:

1. Zhao, N., Adeyemi, A., Pompilius, A., “4-Cyano-3,5-bis(phenyl)pyrazole”, IUCrData, 2017, 2, x171257.

2. Zhao, N., Wardeska, J., McGuire, S., Cook, E., “Metacognition: An Effective Tool to Promote Success in General Chemistry”, J. Col. Sci. Teaching, 2014, 43(4),48.

3. Zhao, N., Witzig, S., Adams, J., Weaver, J. & Schmidt, F., “Transformative Professional Development: Inquiry-based College Science Teaching Institutes”, J. Col. Sci. Teaching, 2012, 41(3), 18.

4. Zhao, N., Wardeska, J., “Mini-journal Inquiry Laboratory – A Case Study in a General Chemistry Kinetics Experiment”, J. Chem. Educ. 2011, 88, 452.

5. Zhao, N., Van Stipdonk, M. J., Stern, C. & Eichhorn, D. M., “Cyanoscorpionates: Synthesis and Crystallographic Characterization of a One-Dimensional Cu(I) Coordination Polymers”, Inorg. Chem. 2008, 47, 5945.