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Dr. Jennifer Wilcox

Jennifer Wilcox

Title: Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry
School: Sciences
Academic Department: Chemistry
Phone: 814-472-2709
E-mail: jwilcox@francis.edu
Office Location: Science Center 216


  • Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University
  • B.S., University of Scranton


Dr. Jennifer Wilcox joins Saint Francis University after receiving her Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University. She received her B.S. from The University of Scranton, a Jesuit university in northeastern Pennsylvania, which is where she developed an interest in teaching at a small faith-based school.

Dr. Wilcox’s research in graduate school employed a combination of analytical and physical chemistries to understand biological phenomena on the molecular level and was featured on the cover of Journal of the American Chemical Society. Because of her diverse biochemical background, Dr. Wilcox plans to emphasize the importance of chemistry as applied to the health sciences while teaching human chemistry at Saint Francis.

As a graduate student, Dr. Wilcox had the unique opportunity to mentor an undergraduate student for the duration of the student’s undergraduate career, which led to a co-authored, peer-reviewed publication and fostered a long-lasting mentorship. Dr. Wilcox was a teaching assistant for a large part of her time as a graduate student and has experience teaching introductory and advanced organic and inorganic chemistry laboratory courses. She is excited to return to teaching and is looking forward to being a part of the community at Saint Francis.

In her spare time, Dr. Wilcox enjoys running, doing yoga, and baking, and is an active member of the State College Presbyterian Church. She is an avid Penn State football fan and is anxiously awaiting the arrival of fall in Central Pennsylvania.

Research Interests & Teaching

Research Interests

Investigating the chemistry of nucleic acid interactions using spectroscopic techniques


  • Chem 103 (Human Chemistry)
  • 101L (General Chemistry Lab)
Recent Publications
  • Jennifer L. Wilcox, Bevilacqua P.C. A Simple Fluorescence Method for pKa Determination in RNA and DNA Reveals Highly Shifted pKa’s. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 7390-7393.
  • Jennifer L. Wilcox, Ahluwalia, A.K., Bevilacqua, P.C. Charged Nucleobases and their Potential for RNA Catalysis. Accounts Chem. Res. 2011, 44, 1270-1279.
  • Chadalavada, D. M., Cerrone-Szakal, A. L., Jennifer L. Wilcox, Siegfried, N. A., Bevilacqua P.C. Mechanistic Analysis of the Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) Ribozyme: Methods for RNA preparation, Structure Mapping, Solvent Isotope Effects, and Co-Transcriptional Cleavage. Methods Mol. Bio. 2012, 848, 21-40.
Recent Presentations
  • Jennifer L. Wilcox, Bevilacqua, P.C. "Protonated Bases in Nucleic Acids- Where and Why Do They Occur?" Speaker Presenter at the Pennsylvania State University Chemistry Department Lion Lecture Series. University Park, PA, December 5, 2012
  • Jennifer L. Wilcox, Bevilacqua, P.C. "A Simple Fluorescence Method for pKa Determination in RNA and DNA Reveals Highly Shifted pKa’s" Speaker Presenter at the Rustbelt RNA Meeting. Dayton, OH, October 19-20, 2012- Outstanding Oral Presentation
  • Jennifer L. Wilcox, Bevilacqua, P.C. "Use of Fluorescence Spectroscopy for High-Throughput Quantification of pKa Shifting in RNA" Poster Presenter at the RNA Society Annual Meeting. Ann Arbor, MI, May 29-June 3, 2012
  • Jennifer L. Wilcox, Bevilacqua, P.C. "Investigating the Roles of Protonated Bases in Nucleic Acids" Speaker Presenter at the Pennsylvania State University Center for RNA Biology RNA Club Series. University Park, PA, April 20, 2012
  • Jennifer L. Wilcox, Siegfried, N.A., Bevilacqua, P.C. "Determination of Driving Forces for pKa Shifting in RNA and DNA Model Systems" Poster Presenter at the North Carolina RNA Society Symposium on RNA Biology VIII: RNA Tool and Target. Research Triangle Park, NC, October 16-17, 2009

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