Photo of Tim Elgren
  • Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry


  • BA, Hamline University, 1984
  • PhD, Dartmouth College, 1989
  • Postdoctoral research, University of Minnesota


Timothy E. Elgren joined Oberlin College in 2014 as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. He previously held faculty and administrative roles Hamilton College (1993-2014).  At Hamilton, he served in a number of administrative roles, including associate dean of faculty, affirmative action officer, chair of the Biochemistry/Molecular Biology Program, and coordinator of the Network for Teaching and Learning.

Elgren’s research focuses on the structure and function of metalloproteins and the incorporation of these enzymes into functional biomaterials. He has received numerous grants to support these projects, including grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Research Corporation, the American Chemical Society, and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. These projects have led to publications in journals including the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Biochemistry, Nano Letters, and Journal of Materials Chemistry. His undergraduate collaborators coauthored many of these papers.

Elgren has taught courses in chemistry, biochemistry, and environmental studies that incorporate investigative laboratories as well as issues of civic engagement. He was the inaugural recipient of the J. R. Hatch Excellence in Teaching Prize (1998) at Hamilton College. He also has been a strong advocate for undergraduate research, having served as president (2004) and member of the executive committee of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) in Washington, D.C. (2003-06). He served three terms as a CUR chemistry councilor (1997-2006). For CUR, he also coedited Developing and Sustaining a Research-Supportive Curriculum: A Compendium of Successful Practices (2007).

Note: asterisk (*) indicates undergraduate co-authors.

Hayden-Roy, Patrick; Elgren, Tim; Kneas, Kristi; Malsky, Matt; Reder, Michael “Process of Change and Strategies for Organizing Signature Work” Peer Review, Summer 2018 (in press).

Martinez, Salette; Kuhn, Misty L.; Russell, James T.;* Holz, Richard C.; Elgren, Timothy E. “Acrylamide Production using Encapsulated Nitrile Hydratase from Pseudonocardia thermophila in a Sol-Gel Matrix” Journal of Molecular Catalysis B: Enzymatic, 100, 19-24, 2014.

O’Grady, Clare E.;* Talpey, Peter;* Elgren, Timothy E.; Van Wynsberghe, A. W. “The Development and Implementation of a Bio-molecular Docking Exercise for the General Chemistry Laboratory” Annual Reports in Computational Methods, 10, 167-187, 2014.

Kinnel, Robin B.; Van Wynsberghe, Adam W.; Rosenstein, Ian J.; Shields, George C.; Brewer, Karen S.; Cotton, Myriam L.; Borton, Charles J.; Senior, SueAnn Z.; Rahn, Gregory S. and Elgren, Timothy E. “A Departmental Focus on High Impact Undergraduate Research Experiences” in American Chemical Society Symposium Series – Developing and Sustaining a Successful Undergraduate Research Program; ACS: Washington, DC, Vol. 1156, 2013, pp 5-22.

Zadvornyy, Oleg A.; Lucon, Janice E.; Gerlach, Robin; Zorin, Nikolay A.; Douglas, Trevor; Elgren, Timothy E.; Peters, John W. “Photo-Induced H2 Production by [NiFe]-Hydrogenase from T. roseopersicina Covalently Linked to a Ru(II) Photosensitizer” Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 106, 151-155, 2012.

Zadvornyy, Oleg A.; Barrows, Amy M.;* Zorin, Nikolay; Peters, John W.; Elgren, Timothy E. “High Level of Hydrogen Production Activity Achieved for Hydrogenase Encapsulated in Sol-Gel Material Doped with Carbon Nanotubes” Journal of Materials Chemistry, 20, 1065-1067, 2010.