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Dr. Todd Allen

Associate Chair, Biology & Chemistry Department

Professor of Chemistry

(434) 592-6959
Center for Natural Sciences, Room 244


  • Postdoctoral Research, Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Ph.D., Analytical Chemistry, University of California at Davis
  • B.S., Chemistry, Gordon College


Prior to joining Liberty, Dr. Allen worked in private industry for 15 years on a variety of projects including the development of sensors for chemical warfare agents, integration of sensor networks for homeland security threat detection, and the conversion of algae to biofuels for the Department of Defense.

He also developed covert and overt chemical markers and taggants for deterring fraud, counterfeiting, and product diversion and taught analytical chemistry at the University of New Mexico.

Dr. Allen joined Liberty in order to use his expertise in chemistry combined with his faith in a way that would impact God’s kingdom and to work in a place where he had the freedom to integrate God’s Word into everyday learning.

Courses Taught

  • CHEM 107l – Essentials of General & Organic Chemistry Lab
  • CHEM 121/122 – General Chemistry I/II
  • CHEM 321 – Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 322 – Instrumental Analysis
  • CHEM 495 – Independent Research
  • BIOL 495 – Independent Research


Algae can be grown to have a high protein and/or lipid content, which can be used for animal feed, biofuel, or both. Dr. Allen’s group uses GC/MS/FID (Gas Chromatography coupled with Mass Spectrometric Detection and Flame Ionization Detection) for quantifying the total lipid content in samples obtained from algae biofuels companies. Several companies are researching cost-effective ways to optimize algae growth and harvesting techniques in an effort to convert the lipid fraction of the algae biomass into various types of fuels. The ability to accurately determine the total lipid content of algae is essential to evaluating its fuel potential. The GC/MS/FID results, reported back to the algae company, can be used for improving the production and harvesting techniques.

This work provides students with hands-on, real-world, interdisciplinary training in both chemistry and biology, and provides them with valuable, transferable skills and knowledge that prepares them for employment, graduate research, or medical school. For example, (1) students will apply fundamental principles of nutrient limitation, stoichiometry, kinetics, and equilibrium learned in their chemistry and biology courses to the preparation and analysis of samples; (2) students will acquire valuable chemistry and biology research experience through literature searches, in sample/standard preparation techniques, in the use of state-of-the-art instrumentation, as well as in data analysis, interpretation, and reporting; and (3) students will learn how to effectively summarize and communicate scientific information.


Professional Membership

  • American Chemical Society
  • Virginia Academy of Science



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