Bruce Research Group

Academic Bio for Mitchell Bruce: Mitchell Bruce attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he had the opportunity to work for six months at Yale University Medical School doing protein sequencing. He also worked as an undergraduate for two and a half years at the Kettering Research Labs, where he investigated nitrogen fixation for generating fertilizers (US Patent 4,256,967). He earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University, where his thesis research was done with Professor David Tyler investigating the photochemistry of ligand-to-metal charge transfer states of high oxidation state organometallic complexes. He then did a post doc at the University of North Carolina, in the lab of Professor Thomas J. Meyer, working closely with B. Patrick Sullivan and Holden Thorp on electrochemical  catalysis. He came to the University of Maine in 1987. In 2014, he was named an ACS Fellow.
Academic Bio for Alice Bruce: Alice Bruce earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Antioch is well known for its coop program wherein students alternate semesters on campus with jobs anywhere in the country that are relevant to their majors. Alice held coop positions in a gastroenterology lab at Kansas University Medical School, in Professor Dmitri Coucouvanis’ research lab at the University of Iowa and at the Kettering Research Lab. At Kettering she worked in Dr. Ed Stiefel’s laboratory where she synthesized and characterized molybdenum-sulfur compounds that were investigated as early models of molybdenum centers in nitrogenase. Alice went on to earn her Ph.D. from Columbia University in NYC where she did her thesis research in the field of inorganic photochemistry under the direction of Professor David Tyler. After earning her Ph.D. in 1985, Alice spent two years as a postdoc in Professor Joseph Templeton’s lab at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where she synthesized tungsten carbene and carbyne complexes. She was also an instructor in the Evening College program at UNC where she taught general chemistry to nontraditional students. Alice moved to Maine in the summer of 1987 to start her appointment as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Maine. She was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1993 and in 2006, she was appointed Interim Chair, followed by appointment as Chair of the Department from 2008-2011.  
Bruce research group - fall 2019
Bruce research group – fall 2019

Here is a picture of our group, summer of 2014 (some missing students).






Selected Publications and Recent Presentations


Gamage S.P. Garusinghe, Stanley Max Bessey, Alice E. Bruce and Mitchell RM Bruce “The Influence of Gold(I) on the Mechanism of Thiolate, Disulfide Exchange” Dalton Trans., Communication, 2016, 45, 11261 DOI: 10.1039/c6dt01400c.





Dalton Garusinghe 2016 45 11261-11266



Gamage S. P. Garusinghe, S. Max Bessey, Chelsea Boyd, Mostapha Aghamoosa, Brian Frederick, Mitchell R. M. Bruce, Alice E. Bruce “Identification of dimethyl sulfide in dimethyl sulfoxide and implications for metal-thiolate disulfide exchange reactions” RSC Advances, 2015, 5, 40603 – 40606.  RSC_Advances_2015_5_40603-40606_DMSO













Metal-Sulfur, Aurophilicity, and Bioinorganic Chemistry:

Roby Kurian, Mitchell R. M. Bruce,, Alice E. Bruce, and François G. Amar “The Influence of Zinc(II) on Thioredoxin/Glutathione Disulfide Exchange: QM/MM Studies to Explore How Zinc(II) Accelerates Exchange in Higher Dielectric Environments”, Metallomics, 2015, 7, 1265-1273. 2015_Metallomics



Gamage S. P. Garusinghe, S. Max Bessey, Mostapha Aghamoosa, Meaghan McKinnon, Alice E. Bruce and Mitchell R. M. Bruce “Disulfide Competition for Phosphine Gold(I) Thiolates: Phosphine Oxide Formation vs. Thiolate Disulfide Exchange”  Inorganics 2015, 3(1), 40-54. Inorganics_2015_3_40-54_Disulfide




Dyadchenko, V. P.; Belov, N. M.; Lemenovskii, D. A.; Antipin, M. Yu.; K.A. Lyssenko, K. A.; Bruce, A. E.; Bruce, M. R. M. “Synthesis, crystal and molecular structure of gold(I) thiophenolate with 4’-ferrocenyl[1,1’]biphenylisocyanides.” J. Organomet. Chem., 2010695, 304-309.

Bessey, S.; Aghamoosa, M.; Garusinghe, G. S. P.; Chandrasoma, A.; Bruce, A. E. and Bruce, M. R. M. “The Synthesis of Triethylphosphine Gold(I) 4-Nitrobenzenethiolate and Solvent Dependent Visible Absorption Spectra of 4-Nitrobenzenethiolate.”Inorganica Chimica Acta2010, 363 (1).

Max Paper Graphical Abstract Fig


Oussama, Elbjeirami; Alexander M. W. Gonser, Barbara N. Stewart, Alice E. Bruce, Mitchell R. M. Bruce, Thomas R. Cundari, Mohammad A. Omary, “Luminescence, structural, and bonding trends upon varying the halogen in isostructural aurophilic dimers.” Dalton Transactions, 2009, 9, 1522-1533.


Detection of Metals in the Environment:

C. M. Acharige, A. Al Abdel Hamid, A. E. Bruce, M. R. M. Bruce, and C. P. Tripp  “An Infrared Spectroscopic Based Method for Mercury(II) Detection in Aqueous Solutions”  Analytica Chemica Acta 728, 57-63 (2012)

Al Abdel Hamid, C. P. Tripp, A. E. Bruce and M. R. M. Bruce “A Selective Optical Chemosensor for Iron(III) Ions in Aqueous Medium Based on [Bis(2,2`-bipyridine)-bis(2-carboxypyridine)]ruthenium(II) Complex”  Jordon Journal of Chemistry, 6  393-401 (2011)

A. Hamid, C. P. Tripp, A. E. Bruce, M. R. M. Bruce “Application of structural analogs of dimercaptosuccinic acid-functionalized silica nanoparticles (DMSA-[silica]) to adsorption of mercury, cadmium, and lead Research on Chemical Intermediates 37, 791-810 (2011)

Hamid, A. A.; Tripp, C. T.; Bruce, A. E.; Bruce, M. R. M. “Mercury, Cadmium, and Lead Chelation to meso-2,3-Dimercaptosuccinic Acid Covalently Attached to Silica Gel via Amide Bond Linkages.” J. Coordination Chem., 63, 2010, 731-741.

Energy Research:

Chandrasoma, A., Grant, R., Bruce, A. E., Bruce, M. R. M. “Electrochemical Polymerization of Aniline on Carbon-aluminum Electrodes for Energy Storage.” Journal of Power Sources, 219(0), 2012,  285-291.

Grant, Robert W. Bruce, Mitchell R. M. “Method for Producing Nano Textured Electrode Based Energy Storage Device” US patent application serial number: 61/265,167 filed on November 30, 2009.

Chemical Education:


Mitchell R. M. Bruce,* Alice E. Bruce, Shirly Avargil, François G. Amar, Thomas M. Wemyss, Virginia J. Flood, “Polymers and Cross Linking: a CORE Experiment to Help Students Think on the Atomic Scale”, J. Chem. Ed: 2016 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00010



Shirly Avargil, Mitchell R. M. Bruce, François G. Amar, and Alice E. Bruce, “Students’ Understanding of Analogy after a CORE (Chemical Observations, Representations, Experimentation) Learning Cycle, General Chemistry Experiment, J. Chem. Ed. 2015, 92, 11.


CORE Figures Clockwise.key

Flood, V. J.; Amar, F. G.; Nemirovsky, R.; Harrer, B. W.; Bruce, M. R. M.; Wittmann, M. C. “Paying Attention to Gesture when Students Talk Chemistry: Interactional Resources for Responsive Teaching”, J. Chem. Ed. 2015, 92, 11-22.


Mitchell Bruce, Tiffany Wilson, Alice Bruce, and S. Max Bessey Infrared Radiation and Greenhouse Gases: An Introductory Chemistry Laboratory Experiment,  249th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Denver, CO, United States, March 23, 2015

Mitchell Bruce, Shirly Avargil, Alice Bruce, and François Amar Examining Student Analogical Reasoning in Introductory Chemistry Laboratory, 249th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Denver, CO, United States, March 24, 2015

Mitchell Bruce, Shirly Avargil, Alice Bruce, Francois Amar “CORE learning cycle: Anchoring Analogical Reasoning to the Laboratory Experience.” , The 23rd Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Grand Valley State University, Annadale, MI 49401, August 3-8, 2014.

Mitchell Bruce, Shirly Avargil, Susan Klemmer “Graduate TA Professional Development Towards Reliable Assessment of Student Lab Reports,” The 23rd Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, Grand Valley State University, Annadale, MI 49401, August 3-8, 2014.

A Framework for Anchoring Analogical Reasoning Activities to the Chemistry Laboratory Experience Mitchell Bruce, Shirly Avargil, Alice Bruce, François Amar National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Pittsburg, PA, March 31, 2014.

Amar, F.; Stewart, B. N.; Fortin, H.; Bruce, M.R.M. “Using the Workshop Model for Modular, Student-Centered Leader Training” Progressions: Peer-Led Team Learning Project Newsletter, V10, 3, Spring 2009, –

Stewart, B. N., Amar, F. G., Bruce, M. R.  “Challenges and rewards of offering peer-led team learning (PLTL) in a large general chemistry course.” Australian J. of Ed. in Chem., 2007, 67,  pp. 31 – 36.


2005 A ICN-Cover-V4


Stewart, B. N., Kirk, R., Labrecque, D., Amar, F. G. and Bruce, M.R.M. “InterChemNet: An Integrated Instrumentation a Course Management System for the General Chemistry”, 2006J. Chem. Ed., 83 (3), 494.


Professional Activities: Member, American Chemical Society (ACS); Member: National Association of Research in Science Teaching. University of Maine Scientific Misconduct Committee, 2015. Committee on Committees, ACS (elected position), member 2015-1217; Councilor, Maine Section of the ACS (ACS, elected position, 1991 – present); Chair, 2013, Local Section Activity Committee, ACS; Member, 2013, ACS Board Standing Committee on Planning, 2013; Member, 2013, Leadership Institute Planning Group, ACS; Member, 2013, Task Force on Councilor Travel Reimbursement (ACS Council Policy Subcommittee); Member, ACS Fellows Selection Committee, ACS; Member, 2010, Professional & Member Relations Web Strategy and Innovation Subcommittee, American Chemical Society (ACS), Chair, Technology, Tool, and Operations Subcommittee of the Local Section Activities Committee (LSAC), Member, LSAC, ACS (2007-2009); Member, ACS Project SEED committee (1998 – 2005); Scientific Advisory Board, 2009 Taibah International Chemistry Conference, Saudi Arabia; Chair, Project SEED National Scholarship Subcommittee (2001 – 2003); Chair, ACS Project SEED committee (2004 – 2005); Editorial Board, Metal-Based Drugs (2000 – 2002); Associate Member, LSAC, ACS (2005-2006); American Chemical Society (member, 1980-present); Member ACS Technical Divisions: Bioorganic, Inorganic, and Organometallics; Regular reviewer for Journal of Chemical Education, Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, and various journals in inorganic chemistry.