Jeff Vargason

Jeff Vargason, PhD

Associate Professor of Chemistry


Office: EHS 313

My background is in biochemistry, the chemistry of life. I enjoy learning about all aspects of the interdisciplinary nature of biochemistry, including the underlying physics and thermodynamics involved in the molecular storage and use of energy, the chemical mechanisms found in the reactions of metabolism, the macromolecular and cellular structures that orchestrate the processes of life, and the genetic molecules that serve as the conduits for the storage and transmission of hereditary information.

My passion for learning and studying biochemistry was fostered at a small, Christian institution similar to George Fox University. I valued the one-on-one interaction with each of my professors and their wisdom and knowledge when answering both my science and my faith-based questions. It is this experience that I hope to pass along to my students.

Academic Background

BS, Chemistry, Evangel University (1995)
PhD, Oregon State University (2002)
Postdoctoral fellow, National Institutes of Health (2002-2006)

Expertise and Research Interests

Protein-nucleic acid interactions, protein and nucleic acid structure determination, RNA silencing suppression mechanisms

My overarching research interest focuses on understanding the mechanisms of viral RNA silencing suppression. My student research projects involve understanding the function of viral proteins by characterizing their three-dimensional structure and their affinity and specificity to bind RNA. All of my research projects involve undergraduate research students who are directly and personally doing the experimentation. This opportunity provides the student with valuable hands-on experience which is increasingly valued by employers and graduate and professional schools. These research projects are primarily performed during the summer where a student’s full time can be focused on the topic to be studied.

More on Vargason's research 

Select Research Bibliography

Publications and Presentations

Student Researchers in my Laboratory

2013 Richter Research Grant, Sierra Donahue
2013 Richter Research Grant, Jesse Wilson
2012 Richter Research Grant, Carissa Burch
2012 Richter Research Grant, Jesse Wilson
2011 Richter Research Grant, Emily Reister
2010 Richter Research Grant, Elizabeth Alaimo
2010 Richter Research Grant, Kamil Narayan
2009 Richter Research Grant, Elizabeth Alaimo
2009 Richter Research Grant, Cade Fox
2008 Richter Research Grant, Flora Yong
2008 Richter Research Grant, Cade Fox
2007 Richter Research Grant, Matt Noble

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

CHEM 211/L - General Chemistry I and Laboratory
CHEM 341/L - Biochemistry I and Laboratory
CHEM 342/L - Biochemistry II and Laboratory
CHEM 152/L - General, Organic, and Biochemistry II and Laboratory