Vera Kolb, PhD


  • Organic chemistry lecture
  • Organic chemistry lab
  • Independent study
  • Senior thesis
  • Green chemistry
Vera M. Kolb is Chemistry Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She has received her PhD in organic chemistry at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1976. She has received her training in astrobiology from 1992-1994, at the NASA NSCORT Center in San Diego, where she has worked with Leslie Orgel at the Salk Institute, and Stanley Miller, at the University of California San Diego. She has worked in the field of astrobiology ever since. In 1992 she has received University of Wisconsin-Parkside 1992 Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity. From 2002-2003 she has studied sugar organo-silicates and their astrobiological importance with Joseph Lambert, at Northwestern University. Her new research and teaching interests involve also green chemistry. She was inducted in the Southeastern Wisconsin Educators’ Hall of Fame in 2002. She is a recipient of numerous research and higher education grants and awards from the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium/NASA, among others. At this time she has over 150 publications, including patents and books. She has edited a book "Astrobiology, An Evolutionary Approach", for CRC Press, which was published in 2014. Her new book, "Green Organic Chemistry and its Interdisciplinary Applications", will be published in May 2016, also by CRC Press.

Teaching Interests

As a Wisconsin Teaching Scholar (2007-2008), Vera Kolb has studied inductive vs. deductive ways of teaching as applied to organic chemistry synthesis. She has also applied SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) teaching approach to astrobiology. Recently, she has completely revised organic teaching laboratories to reflect green chemistry principles. She has also developed green chemistry courses, lecture and lab, for the green chemistry certificate, which is currently offered. She is dedicated to teaching research to students via the independent study and special projects.

Research Interests

1.Organic reaction mechanisms, especially carbanion reactions and electrophilic aromatic nitrations. 2. Prebiotic chemistry: Syntheses under simulated prebiotic conditions. Sugar silicates and their role in prebiotic chemistry. Prebiotic significance of the Maillard reaction. Solventless and solid-state organic reactions as applied to the meteoritic chemistry. Coacervates as prebiotic reactors. Mechanism of the organic reactions in water as applicable to prebiotic chemistry. 3. Green chemistry: Optimization of green reactions. Eco-pharmacology.

Consulting Interests

Green chemistry.

Selected Publications

2016: Green Organic Chemistry and its Interdisciplinary Applications , CRC/F&T

2015: Oparin’s coacervates as an important milestone in chemical evolution, SPIE (960604, pp.1-5 pp.)

2015: Origins of life: Chemical and philosophical approaches, Evolutionary Biology, (Synthesis Paper), First on Line November 19, 2015, pp. 1-10 (1-10 pp.)

2015: Philosophy of astrobiology: Some recent developments, SPIE (96065, pp. 1-6 pp.)

2015: Prebiotic reactions in superheated water, SPIE (960609D, pp. 1-7 pp.)

2014: Prebiotic Chemistry: In Water and In the Solid State, CRC (199-216 pp.)

2014: Vera M. Kolb, Editor, “Astrobiology: An Evolutionary Approach”, CRC Press/Francis &Taylor, 510 pp. 334 illustrations, ISBN 9781466584617, 2014., CRC

2013: Development of an Algorithm for Life for the Search for Extraterrestrial Life, SPIE (B1-B5 pp.)

2013: Influence of Salts, including Amino Acids, on Rate and Outcome of In-Water Prebiotic Reactions, SPIE (01-06 pp.)

2013: On the Role of Molecular Recognition Principles in Astrobiology, SPIE (1-5 pp.)

2013: Perchlorates are Campatible with Life on Earth - Why not Mars?, SPIE (1-7 pp.)

2012: On the Applicability of Solventless and Solid State Reactions to the Meteoritic Chemistry, International Journal of Astrobiology (43-50, 2012 pp.)

2011: On the Applicability of Solventless and Solid-State Reactions to the Meteoritic Chemistry, International Journal of Astrobiology (43-50, 2011 pp.)

2010: V. M. Kolb, “On the Applicability of the Green Chemistry Principles to Sustainability of Organic Matter on Asteroids”, Sustainability, 2(6), 1624-1631 (2010). , Sustainability (8 pp.)

2007: On the Applicability of the Principle of Quantity-to-Quality Transition to Chemical Evolution that Led to Life, International Journal of Astrobiology, Cambridge University Press, 6(1), 51-57 (2007) (6 pp.)

2007: V. M. Kolb, “On the Applicability of the Aristotelian Principles to the Definition of Life”., International Journal of Astrobiology, 6(1), 51-57 (2007). (6 pp.)

Teaching Awards

2013: Recognition of extraordinary dedication and commitment to education in the Southeastern Wisconsin Area , Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Educator Award, Phi Delta Kappa, International, Racine and Kenosha Chapter 1123
2002: Recognition of accomplishments and dedications in education , Southeastern Wisconsin Educators' Hall of Fame , Hall of Fame

Research/Creative Awards

2013: I have received the Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Educator Award in May, 2013. Phi Delta Kappa is the largest professional association of educators in the world, founded in 1906. My award came from Chapter 1123 (Kenosha-Racine)., Outstanding Educator Award, Phi Delta Kappa

Professional Service

2013: Other - NASA
2013: Other - National Geographics
2013: Editor, Journal Editor - Various Journals

UW System Service

: - UW Flexible Degree Option Exploratory Group

Public Service

2014: Member - UW Parkside Symphony and Community Orchestra
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