Mark Ellison headshot
Mark Ellison headshot

Mark Ellison

Dr. Mark Ellison uses colorful, thought-provoking, and even explosive demonstrations to teach general chemistry and physical chemistry. He has a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Stanford University. After postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and then teaching for several years at Wittenberg University in Ohio, he came to Ursinus in Fall 2005.

His research seeks to investigate and develop useful properties of carbon nanotubes, and he has published eight articles about carbon nanotubes in scientific journals, including The Journal of Physical Chemistry, RSC Advances, and Nature Communications. He works with Ursinus biologists to study the toxicity of carbon nanotubes and how they might be used to deliver drugs to treat disease. Recently, he has established a collaborative research project, funded by the National Science Foundation, with Professor Michael Strano at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study the motion of ions through carbon nanotubes.

When not teaching or researching chemistry, Dr. Ellison enjoys canoeing, kayaking, hiking, camping, mountain bike riding, playing piano, baking pretzels or anything with chocolate, and spending time with his wife, Erica, and daughter, Rachel. Dr. Ellison coaches Rachel’s youth sports teams. Erica plays saxophone in the Ursinus Wind Ensemble.




  • B.S., University of Pittsburgh
  • Ph.D., Stanford University


  • General Chemistry I (Chem 105 and 105L)
  • General Chemistry II (Chem 206 and 206L)
  • Physical Chemistry I (Chem 309 and 309L)
  • Physical Chemistry II (Chem 310 and 310L)
  • Common Intellectual Experience 1 and 2 (CIE 100 and 200)
  • Renewable Energy (Chem 340)

Research Interests

Chemistry of carbon nanotubes for applications in solar cells
Chemistry of carbon nanotubes for applications in drug delivery
Motion of ions through carbon nanotubes

Recent Work

The Primarily Undergraduate Nanomaterials Cooperative: A New Model for Supporting Collaborative Research at Small Institutions on a National Scale”, Steven M. Hughes, Mark P. Hendricks, Katherine M. Mullaugh, Mary E. Anderson, Anne K. Bentley, Justin G. Clar, Clyde A. Daly, Jr., Mark D. Ellison, Z. Vivian Feng, Natalia I. Gonzalez-Pech, Leslie S. Hamachi, Christine L. Heinecke, Joseph D. Keene, Adam M. Maley, Andrea M. Munro, Peter N. Njoki, Jacob H. Olshansky, Katherine E. Plass, Kathryn R. Riley, Matthew D. Sonntag, Sarah K. St. Angelo, Lucas B. Thompson, Emily J. Tollefson, Lauren E. Toote, and Korin E. Wheeler, ACS Nanoscience Au, 2021, 1(1), 6-14

Use of Carbon Nanomaterials to Overcome Antibiotic Resistance in Tetracycline-Resistant Escherichia coli”, Jordan A. Carver*, Audrey L. Simpson*, Ria P. Rathi*, Nerica Normil*, Amy G. Lee*, Madison D. Force*, Katherine A. Fiocca*, Christopher E. Maley*, Kara M. DiJoseph*, Abigail L. Goldstein*, Amin A. Attari*, Haley L. O’Malley*, Jaclyn G. Zaccaro*, Noël M. McCampbell*, Christina A. Wentz*, Jessica E. Long*, Lilly M. McQueen*, Francis J. Sirch*, Broderick K. Johnson*, Molly E. Divis*, Matthew L. Chorney*, Steven L. DiStefano*, Holly M. Yost*, Brandon L. Greyson*, Emily A. Cid*, Kyumin Lee*, Codi J. Yhap*, Michelle Dong**, Dayna L. Thomas**, Brittany E. Banks*, Regan B. Newman*, Jailene Rodriguez*, Alix T. Segil*, Justin A. Siberski*, Anthony L. Lobo, and Mark D. Ellison, ACS Applied Nano Materials 2020, 3(4), 3910–3921

Transport of Amino Acid Cations through a 2.25-nm Diameter Carbon Nanotube Nanopore: Electrokinetic Motion and Trapping/Desorption”, M. D. Ellison, L. Bricker*, L. Nebel*, J. Miller**, S. Menges*, G D’Arcangelo**, A. Kramer**, L. W. Drahushuk, J. Benck, S. Shimizu, and M. S. Strano, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 121(49) (2017) 27709-27720

Electrokinetic Transport of Methanol and Lithium Ions through a 2.25-nm Diameter Carbon Nanotube Nanopore”, M. D. Ellison, S. Menges*, L. Nebel*, G D’Arcangelo**, A. Kramer**, L. W. Drahushuk, J. Benck, S. Shimizu, and M. S. Strano, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 121(3) (2017) 2005-2013

Reaction of Folic Acid with Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes”, M. D. Ellison and M. Chorney*, Surface Science, 652 (2016) 300-303

Walsh Diagrams: Computational Chemistry Exercise for Physical Chemistry”, C. S. Miller and M. D. Ellison, Journal of Chemical Education, 92 (2015) 1040-1043

Synthesis and Toxicity Testing of Cysteine-Functionalized Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes with Caenorhabditis elegans”, C. M. Goodwin*, G. G. Lewis*, M. D. Ellison, and R. Kohn, RSC Advances, 4 (2014) 5893-5900. (DOI: 10.1039/c3ra44888f)

Diameter Dependent Ion Transport through the Interior of Single Isolated Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes”, W. Choi, Z. W. Ulissi, S. F. E. Shimizu, D. O. Bellisario, M. D. Ellison, and M. S. Strano, Nature Communications, 4: 2397 doi:10.1038/ncomms3397 (2013) Published on the web 12 September 2013

Stochastic Pore Blocking and Gating in PDMS-Glass Nanopores from Vapor-Liquid Phase Transitions”, S. F. E. Shimizu, M. D. Ellison, K. Aziz*, Q. H. Wang, Z. W. Ulissi, Z. Gunther, D. O. Bellisario, and M. S. Strano, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 117 (2013) 9641-51

Years of Service to Ursinus