Mark Stocksdale, Ph.D.

Professor of chemistry

Email:[email protected]

Department: Biochemistry

Location: Stanley Hall Room 243
801 National Road
Richmond, Indiana 47374

About me

I am a professor of chemistry and teach courses in organic chemistry. I collaborate with my students on research projects. Most recently we have been synthesizing analogs of phytosiderophores, the natural cellular iron-transport system used by grass species.

Being a professor at Earlham keeps me quite busy, but when I do find time to explore other activities, I enjoy attending music concerts with my youngest son and going to car shows and working on cars with my oldest son. As an organic chemist, I really enjoy making things. As such, I like to cook, bake, grill, etc. whenever possible. I also love to go places with my family. I find traveling to new and old locations both near and far is fun and fulfilling.

I really enjoy watching students learn and discover chemistry. I work hard to find multiple methods to positively encourage students in their studies of chemistry, and I often see myself as their ‘coach,’ someone that can recognize their talent, show them how to expand and develop their abilities, and then encourage and enable them to attain their goals and move them even farther than they could have imagined. At Earlham, this is a daily experience for me in which I am afforded the opportunity to work with students and observe their intellectual growth both in regular classroom settings and as collaborators in research projects.


  • Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
  • M.S., Ball State University
  • B.S., Taylor University

Professional memberships

Research projects

My research interests involve the design and synthesis of new biologically and/or structurally interesting organic molecules.  Most recently, students working with me have been synthesizing analogs of phytosiderophores, the natural cellular iron-transport system used by grass species.  We also collaborate with a molecular biologist for testing and evaluation of our final compounds in growth studies.

Scholarly interest

Though largely responsible for the Green Revolution, the application of agrochemicals has a detrimental impact on the environment. One way to diminish this impact is to reduce the application rates of these chemicals through targeted delivery. Grasses, which represent the economically most important group of plants, secrete molecules called phytosiderophores that bind and transport iron to the plant through the roots.  My research group and collaborators are studying this iron acquisition strategy to selectively target grasses for molecular delivery. Students working with me on this project collaboratively design and synthesize natural and unnatural phytosideropores as well as intermediate molecules required for our ongoing evaluation of growth studies. Each student working on this project regularly utilizes state-of-the-art instrumentation such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), infrared spectroscopy (IR), and automated flash chromatography to isolate, purify, and characterize each of their synthesized products. Results from each student’s work contribute to the overall goals of the project, and they get to present their work at regional and national scientific meetings.

Published works


Deibel, M. A. (PI), Blair, P., Rosenberg, R., Seu, K., Smith, C., Smith, R., Stocksdale, M. G., Tori, W., Watson, L., “Renovation of a Shared Facility for Research and Research Training at a Science-Rich Liberal Arts Institution” National Science Foundation, Academic Research Infrastructure Grant (Award #0963259), $807,794, 2010-2012.

Stocksdale, M. G. “Acquisition of a Preparatory Automated Flash/HPLC Chromatography System for Use in Research, Teaching, and Research Training at Earlham College,” Teledyne Isco Grant, $5000, November 2009.

Stocksdale, M. G. and Davis, G. T. “Uptake Specificity of Synthetic Phytosiderophore Analogs by Graminaceous Plants,” United States Department of Agriculture-Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service / National Research Initiative-Seed Grant, $99,998, September 2007-August 2009.

Stocksdale, M. G., “Pharmaceuticals, Then and Now:  A Living History of Medicines and Drugs,” Earlham College Ford/Knight Fund, $8685, May 2007.

Stocksdale, M. G.; Breitenbach, G.; Deibel, C.; Deibel, M. A.; Iverson, J.; Mulnix, A.; Ogren, P.; Trueblood, N.; “The Merck / AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program at Earlham College,” Merck Company Foundation / AAAS Grant, $60,000, February 2003-December 2005.

Stocksdale, M. G. (Principal Investigator); Deibel, M. A., and Trueblood, N (Co-Principal Investigators), “Acquisition of a 400 MHz NMR Spectrometer for Use in Research, Teaching and Research Training at Earlham College,” National Science Foundation-Major Research Instrumentation Grant, $439,419, September 2002-September 2005.

Stocksdale, M. G., “Investigation of Ring Contractions and Ring Expansions of Cyclic β-Hydroxy Tertiary Amines Under Mitsunobu and Modified Mitsunobu Conditions,” American Chemical Society – Petroleum Research Fund Type GB, $35,000, September 2002-August 2004.

Stocksdale, M. G. “Organic Synthesis Research Studies: 1. Preparation of Phytosiderophore Conjugates; 2. Ring Contraction and Expansion Studies of Cyclic β-Hydroxy Tertiary Amines.”  Earlham College Ford/Knight Fund, $9500, Spring 2003.

Stocksdale, M. G. “Investigational Studies of Cyclic β-Hydroxy Amines Under Mitsunobu Conditions:  Ring Expansion and Ring Contraction Products,” State System of Higher Education Faculty Professional Development Council Grants Program, $5504, 1999-2000.

Stocksdale, M. G.; Davis, G. T. “An Investigation of Phytosiderophore Conjugates as a Means of Delivering Effector Molecules to Target Species,” Bloomsburg University Individual and Collaborative Research Projects Competition, $1250, 1999-2000.

Publications and Patents (*indicates undergraduates included as co-authors) 

*Stocksdale, M. G.; Padgitt, M. K.; Berg, M. A. G.; Slebodnick, C. “S-(2,2-Dimethyl-5-oxo-[1,3]dioxolan-4-yl)acetic acid,” Acta Cryst. E 2007, E63, o3767-o3768. 

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.