Professor Boland's interest in analytical, environmental and aquatic chemistry began early. In high school, he worked as a summer intern at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in a biogeochemistry lab that studied the interplay between marsh ecosystems and nutrient pollution in the coastal estuaries of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He continued his career in chemistry at Colby College in Waterville, Maine where he earned a B.A. in chemistry. His undergraduate honors thesis research project developed a flow injection analysis technique for quantifying sub-nanomolar superoxide concentrations. Superoxide is a reactive oxygen species that plays a significant role in redox cycling in sunlit natural waters.
After Colby, he joined the South Louisiana Teach For America corps. He was compelled by a sense of responsibility to serve students who, through no fault of their own, had fewer opportunities to succeed academically. He taught high school chemistry at Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge for three years (two with Teach For America and an additional year on his own). His time at Scotlandville was an immensely rewarding experience and continues to motivate him to provide opportunities for under-served students. While at Scotlandville, he discovered a passion for teaching. He knew that he wanted to become a professor at a liberal arts college where teaching and research scholarship were priorities, so he left Scotlandville to attend graduate school in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. There he studied environmental chemistry with Dr. Alan Stone. His graduate research examined kinetics and mechanisms of reactions that are relevant to the mobilization of heavy metals in soils. In particular, he developed and deployed capillary electrophoresis methods for examining the dynamics of nickel-chelating agent speciation. Immediately after defending his doctoral dissertation, he moved to Washington to be a visiting assistant professor of analytical chemistry at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. In 2012, he joined the faculty at Whitman College as an assistant professor of chemistry.
Education & Courses
Ph.D. Environmental Chemistry
The Johns Hopkins University
- CHEM 111 - Problem Solving in Chemistry
- CHEM 125/126 - General Chemistry
- CHEM 135/136 - General Chemistry Laboratory
- CHEM 310 - Quantitative Analysis and Chemical Equilibrium
- CHEM 305 - Water Chemistry (offered every other year)
- CHEM 320 - Instrumental Methods of Analysis (as sabbatical replacement)
- CHEM 388 - Environmental Chemistry and Engineering (as sabbatical replacement)
- CHEM 401/2 - Chemistry Seminar
- CHEM 432 - Capillary Electrophoresis (no longer offered)
- Develop structure-reactivity relationships for dynamic metal ion bioavailability and mobility in the environment.
- Develop analytical methods to probe the mechanisms of relevant metal-ligand exchange reactions.
Learn More about Boland's Research
The research being conducted by the Boland Research Group is explained in more detail on their page. Their research is generously supported by Whitman College and a grant from the M.J. Murdock Trust.
View and follow the resesarch of Associate Professor Boland via:
In July of 2020, Associate Professor of Chemistry Nate Boland received a three-year research grant from the National Science Foundation, Environmental Chemical Sciences Program in the Division of Chemistry. The Research at Undergraduate Institution (RUI) grant supports research by Boland and up to six Whitman students to study chemical reactions that affect the availability of metal ions to living organisms. The goal of this project is to better understand these reactions and build better predictive tools. NSF grants of this kind are awarded on the scientific merit as well as the broader impacts of the project, including science outreach in the community and involvement of undergraduate students – all of which are made possible by Whitman College’s commitment to a robust and dynamic liberal arts education.
Rea L.T.*; Xu Y.*; Boland, N.E. Effects of calcium on the kinetics of a model disjunctive ligand exchange reaction: Implications for dynamic trace metal ion speciation. Environ. Sci. Process. Impacts. 2019, 21, 89-103. doi:10.1039/C8EM00301G
Boland, N.E.; Stone, A.T. Rates of Nickel(II) Capture from Complexes with NTA, EDDA, and Related Tetradentate Chelating Agents by the Hexadentate Chelating Agents EDTA and CDTA: Evidence of a "semijunctive" ligand exchange pathway. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. 2017, 212, 176-195. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2017.06.003
Boland, N.E.; Stone, A.T. Capillary electrophoresis facilitates determination of metal complex stoichiometry by Job’s method of continuous variation. Environ. Chem. 2013, 10, 409. doi:10.1071/EN13103
Dissertations & Theses
Boland, N.E. Nickel and Chelating Agent Speciation by Capillary Electrophoresis: Exploration of pathways, rates and structure-reactivity relationships pertaining to exchange reactions. Johns Hopkins University: Baltimore, MD, 2011.
Boland, N. E.; King, D.W. Flow Injection Analysis of Superoxide in Aqueous Solution: A quantitative determination using the chemiluminescent probe MCLA. Senior Honors Thesis. Chemistry Department, Colby College, Waterville, ME, 2001. (https://digitalcommons.colby.edu/honorstheses/36/)
Boland, N. E. Inspiring a New Generation of Chemists. inChemistry Magazine, March/February 2003, pg 21-23.
Maddin, B.; Boland, N. Teaching for Results: Secondary Chemistry, 1st Edition. New York, NY: The New Teacher Project, Inc., 2003.
Poster Presentations & Talks
Briody-Pavlik L.*; Huang Z.*; Boland, N. ENVR 370 Effect of low molecular weight organic acids on the kinetics of disjunctive ligand exchange: Lewis base identity and chelate ring size. Abstracts of Papers, American Chemical Society Spring 2019 National Meeting. Orlando, FL, April 2019. (poster)
Boland, N.E.; Stone, A.T.; Rea, L.T.*; Xu, Y.*; Wildman, A.*; Briody-Pavlik, L.*; Huang, Z.* GEOC 85 Constituent ions and "spectator" low molecular weight organic acids influence ligand exchange kinetics: geochemical implications. Abstracts of Papers, 255th American Chemical Society National Meeting. New Orleans, LA, March 2018. (talk)
Rea, L.*; Boland, N.E. Modeling the Kinetics of Trace Metal Ion Speciation: The influence of calcium ion on disjunctive ligand exchange. Abstracts of Papers, 253rd American Chemical Society National Meeting. San Francisco, CA, April 2017. (poster)
Wildman, A.*; Boland, N.E. The Influence of a Metal Oxide Surface on Ligand Exchange Reactions between Strong Chelating Agents. Abstracts of Papers, 251st American Chemical Society National Meeting. San Diego, CA, March 2016. (poster)
Xu, Y.*; Boland, N.E. The Influence of a Metal Oxide Surface on Ligand Exchange Reactions between Strong Chelating Agents. Abstracts of Papers, 251st American Chemical Society National Meeting. San Diego, CA, March 2016. (poster)
Boland, N.E.; Stone, A.T.; Nelson, T.*; Wildman, A.*; Harned, M.*; Xu, Y.* Structure-reactivity relationships for multidentate ligand exchange reaction pathways. Chemistry Department Seminar, Eastern Washington University, February 10, 2016 (talk)
Boland, N.E.; Stone, A.T.; Nelson, T.*; Harned, M.V.*; Wildman, A.* GEOC 108 Adjunctive, Disjunctive and “Interjunctive”? Influence of ligand structure on kinetic pathways of ligand exchange. Abstracts of Papers, 249th American Chemical Society National Meeting. Denver, CO, March 2015. (talk)
Conrad, J.P.*; Boland, N.E. The Influence of a Metal Oxide Surface on Ligand Exchange Reactions between Strong Chelating Agents. Abstracts of Papers, 249th American Chemical Society National Meeting. Denver, CO, March 2015. (poster)
Harned, M.V.*; Nelson, T.*; Boland, N.E. Influence of pH on Ligand Exchange Rate with Phosphonate-Containing Chelating Agents Abstracts of Papers, 249th American Chemical Society National Meeting. Denver, CO, March 2015. (poster)
Hinkle, S.M.*; Boland, N.E. The use of CYCLAM and other tetraamines to probe the mechanism of surface-influenced ligand exchange. Abstracts of Papers, 249th American Chemical Society National Meeting. Denver, CO, March 2015. (poster)
Nelson, T.*; Boland, N.E. Influence of Lewis base identity on rates of ligand exchange. Abstracts of Papers, 247th American Chemical Society National Meeting. Dallas, TX, April 2014. (poster)
Stone, A.T.; Boland, N.E.; Carbonaro, R.F. Chelating Agent Selection From A Kinetic Perspective: New Insights From Capillary Electrophoresis. 3rd Annual American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute Roundtable, 17th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, North Bethesda, MD, June 19, 2013. (poster)
Boland, N.E.; Stone, A.T. Capillary Electrophoresis-Based Methods for Determining Metal Ion and Chelating Agent Speciation, and Their Use in Environmental Chemistry. 17th International Symposium on Electro- and Liquid Phase-separation Techniques. Baltimore, MD, August 2010. (poster, talk)
Boland, N.E.; Stone, A.T. Nickel Exchange Reactions: Effect of chelating agent functional groups and structure on pathways and rates. Gordon Conference on Environmental Sciences: Water. Holderness School, Holderness, NH, June 2010. (poster)
Boland, N.E.; Stone, A.T. Chelating Agent Capture of Nickel in Heterogeneous Media: Structure-reactivity relationships. Abstracts of Papers, 238th American Chemical Society National Meeting. Washington, DC, August 2009. (talk)
Boland, N.E.; Stone, A.T. Chelating Agents, Surfaces, and Nickel: Structure-Reactivity Relationships. Chemodynamics of Ecosystems. Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland, October 2008. (poster)
Boland, N.E.; Stone, A.T. Siderophores, surfaces, and metals: How siderophore structure affects exchange rates. Abstracts of Papers, 236th American Chemical Society National Meeting. Philadelphia, PA, August 2008. (talk)
Boland, N.E.; Stone, A.T.; Chaney, R.L. Yehuda, Z. Phytosiderophore Speciation by Capillary Electrophoresis. Gordon Conference on Environmental Bioinorganic Chemistry. Proctor Academy, Andover, NH, June 2006. (poster)
King, D.W.; Boland, N.E. An Exploratory Summer Research Program: Creating opportunities for under-represented high school students and their teachers. Abstracts of Papers, 225th American Chemical Society National Meeting. New Orleans, LA, March 2003. (poster)
Bazille, C.;* Jackson, S.;* Boland, N.E.; King, D.W. Superoxide Detection in Surface Waters of Maine Lakes. Sigma Xi Student Research Conference. Galveston, TX, November 2002. (poster)
Boland, N. E.; King, D.W. Flow Injection Analysis of Superoxide in Aqueous Solution: A quantitative determination using the chemiluminescent probe MCLA. Abstracts of Papers, 219th American Chemical Society National Meeting. San Diego, CA, March 2001. (poster)
A Microsoft Excel Macro-Enabled Add-In for Quantitative Analysis and Chemical Equilibrium
Professor Boland created ChemQuantFunctions.xlam to add a number of useful features to Microsoft Excel for students in his CHEM 310 Quantitative Analysis and Chemical Equilibrium course. The software combines several useful extensions: QuantFunctions by Nathan Boland, the MacroBundle12 package by Robert deLevie and EngCel by Thomas Wallace into one convenient Add-In.