Matthew (Matt) Elrod

  • Robert and Eleanor Biggs Professor of Natural Science and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Areas of Study


  • BA, Grinnell College, 1989
  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1994


Research Interests 
Atmospheric chemistry, computational chemistry, mass spectrometry
The atmospheric oxidation of volatile compounds (VOCs) plays a significant role in the air pollution problems of ground level ozone production and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation, which are known to cause adverse health effects and to play a role in global climate change.

Current projects in the Elrod lab include the determination of mechanisms for the production of ground level ozone and SOA via the oxidation of the predominant biogenic VOC, isoprene.  We use various commercial spectroscopy techniques and a custom built turbulent flow chemical ionization mass spectrometer to identify the components of the chemical systems and to make the kinetics measurements that allow the atmospheric significance of the reaction systems to be determined.  We also use computational chemistry methods implemented on the Oberlin supercomputer to help elucidate the meaning of our experimental results and to help guide the planning of new experiments.

Physical Chemistry, General Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry


Curriculum Vitae



Jane Sedlak ’19 Studies the Chemistry of Wildfire Smoke

April 20, 2022

Jane Sedlak graduated from Oberlin College in 2019 with a degree in chemistry and was named the winner of Oberlin’s Nexial Prize. Given to a student who demonstrates academic excellence and an interest in cultural study, the Nexial Prize comes with a $50,000 award, which afforded Sedlak the opportunity following graduation to study art conservation at the Louvre in Paris. She is currently a graduate student at University of California San Diego.

2022 Winter Term Recap

March 11, 2022

More than 2,290 students explored projects and research opportunities outside of their normal course of study during Winter Term. In this wrap-up gallery we look back at some of the group projects students performed.