Dr. ​Derrick J. Swinton

Dr. Swinton joined the Claflin University family in August 2016 and serves as the Chair of the Department of Chemistry.


Dr. Swinton is committed to ensuring the success of the students at the university and integrates pedagogical strategies into the classroom that bridges the gap between theory and practice. Therefore, he integrates research into his classroom to reinforce classroom concepts, develop student’s problem solving skills, and cultivate their analytical and critical thinking skills. He brings a wealth of expertise in program development and grant writing and is working with his colleagues to expand the STEM academic and research programs at the University.


  • Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry - University of Delaware
  • B.S. Chemistry – Lincoln University

· Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry - University of Delaware

· B.S. Chemistry – Lincoln University

· Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry - University of Delaware

· B.S. Chemistry – Lincoln University

Research Interests

Proteomics: This project focuses on applying and developing proteomic methods and technologies (Mass Spectrometry, 2D Gel Electrophoresis) to understand the differentially susceptibility to diseases amongst ethnic groups, particularly African Americans. Dr. Swinton interested in translating these technologies into clinical settings in efforts to provide researchers and practitioners with tools to aid in understanding why certain populations are impacted and more susceptible to sickness and diseases relative to other populations. He is interested in using these enhancing techniques to identify and characterize clinically important biomarkers that may impact ethnic groups differentially, specifically biomarkers that are indicative of or related to smoking-related cancers and COPD.

Protein Aggregation: The main objective of this project is to provide additional insight into behavior of amyloidogenic proteins at chemical interfaces. Specifically, this research project attempts to isolate and characterize intermediate conformational states populated by proteins during the nucleation stage of amyloidosis in efforts to understand protein aggregation. This aspect of the project attempts to determine if there is a dominant structural conformer responsible for protein aggregation. The two molecules of interest include the b-Amyloid Peptide (Ab) and b2 Microglobulin (b2m). An additional aspect of this research project combines spectroscopy and chromatographic techniques to understand the conformational dynamics of proteins at chemical interfaces. Understanding the mechanism(s) by which proteins fold and unfold while adsorbed at the liquid-solid interface is of importance to scientists developing biosensors, and surfaces that can be used in genomic, proteomic, and chromatographic technologies.

Hybrid Nanoparticles: Swinton is working on a project that involves engineering nanoparticles that can detect and disrupt specific biological phenomena in-vivo. Specifically, he is designing silver (Ag) and gold (Au) coated silica (SiO2) nanoparticles - AgSiO2 and AuSiO2 functionalized with molecules capable of detecting and treating certain diseases resulting from protein aggregation. These hybrid nanoparticles will serve as transport mechanisms for drug delivery and will be engineered to overcome barriers encountered in their usage in clinical applications.



    Prior to entering academia, Dr. Swinton had a successful career in industry assuming roles as a Product Development Chemistry at PPG Industries, Research and Manufacturing Scientist at Biological Detection Systems, and Senior Researcher at Shire Laboratories. In these roles Dr. Swinton was involved in several projects, which included the development of new powder paint products for the automotive industry, the synthesis and manufacturing of Cyanine Dyes (Cy2, Cy3, Cy3.5, Cy5, Cy5.5, Cy7) and related combinatorial products, and lastly the quality assessment and control (QA/QC) of drug products for treatment of ADHD and Epilepsy.

    Dr. Swinton began his academic career at his alma mater, Lincoln University, directing premier academic programs aimed at recruiting and retaining students interested in STEM. He transitioned into a teaching position as part-time Assistant Professor in 2005, was tenured as an Associate Professor in 2007, elected as Department Chair in 2011, and promoted to Professor and Interim Dean in 2014. As he has progressed through the ranks of academe, he has developed an expertise in curriculum development, delivering quality teaching and effective academic programming, experience with accreditation and assessment processes, expertise in recruitment and retention strategies, experience in budget management and accountability, and experience in writing, securing, and managing institutional and individual grants.

    Activities and Honors

    Dr. Swinton has directed and served as PI on several grants that focus on recruiting, retaining, and preparing minority students for careers in STEM. In these roles, he developed educational programs that lead to best practices for educating and training minority students earning him recognition form several organizations.

    • (2001) Glenn S. Skinner Memorial Prize in Chemistry: The award is presented annually to a graduate student in the Department for distinction in scholarship, research, teaching and service. The prize is the most coveted award for graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and consists of a certificate and a check in the amount of $2,500; it honors Prof. Glenn S. Skinner, who was a very active member of the University of Delaware Chemistry faculty from 1928 to 1958.
    • (2002) Theodore Wolf Prize in Physical and Life Sciences: The prize is given annually to a graduate student who completed distinguishable research and has written an outstanding dissertation.
    • (2008) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Distinguished Service Award: The award honors former Congressman Louis Stokes who played a pivotal role in the quest for civil rights, equality and social and economic justice. The award is given to faculty representatives of universities supported by NSF LSAMP Grants.
    • (2009) The Hildrus A. Poindexter Distinguished Research Award: The award is given annually to a Lincoln University Faculty member who has conducted exemplary research: The award is named after Hildrus A. Poindexter, a Lincoln University alumnus and bacteriologist who studied the epidemiology of tropical diseases.
    • (2016) Lincoln University Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award
    • (2016) Inducted into the Chester County Alumni Association Hall of Fame

    Recent Publications

    • Single-Molecule probing of Mixed-Mode Adsorption at a Chromatographic Interface. Mary J. Wirth and Derrick J. Swinton. Analytical Chemistry. 1998, 70, 5264-5271
    • Spectroscopic Observation of Adsorption to Active Silanols. Melody D. Ludes, Derrick J. Swinton and Mary J. Wirth. Analytical Chemistry. 1999, 71,3911-3917
    • Single-molecule adsorption at nanometer indentations, Mary J. Wirth, Derrick J. Swinton, Melody C. Ludes, Leon J. Doneski, Cozette M. Cuppett and Hui Zhang, Proceedings of SPIE, 2000.
    • Lateral Diffusion of DiI at the Interfaces of C18 and Chromatographic Solvents. Derrick J. Swinton and Mary J. Wirth. Analytical Chemistry. 2000, 72, 3725-3730.
    • Single-Molecule Study of an Adsorbed Oligonucleotide undergoing both Lateral Diffusion and Strong Adsorption. Mary J. Wirth and Derrick J. Swinton. Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 2001,105(7), 1472-1477.
    • Single-Molecule of the Lateral Transport of four Homo-oligonucleotides at the interface of water and chemically modified silica. Derrick J. Swinton and Mary J. Wirth. Journal of Physical Chemistry B. 2001, 105(37) 8679-8684.
    • Analytic solution to the Autocorrelation Function for the Lateral Diffusion and rare strong adsorption. Mary J. Wirth, Melody D. Ludes and Derrick J. Swinton. Applied Spectroscopy. 2001, 55(6) 663-669.
    • Single-Molecule Spectroscopy and Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy of the Lateral Transport of the T3 Promoter Primer at a Chemical Interface. Derrick J. Swinton and Mary J. Wirth. Applied Spectroscopy. 2001, 55(8) 1013-1017.
    • Aqueous Extraction of Dried and Fresh Garlic, and Comparative Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing of Garlic Extracts on Selected Bacteria. John O. Chikwem, Adaeze J. Chikwem, Derrick J. Swinton. Bios. 2008, 79(2), 56-60.
    • Analysis of nicotine and its major metabolites, cotinine and trans-3’-hydroxycotinine, using the quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer, Derrick J. Swinton, Daniel Clark, and Titlope Idowu. IHE (Lincoln University) Journal of Science. 2011, 2(1), 19-27.
    • Immunodepletion Plasma Proteomics by TripleTOF 5600 and Orbitrap Elite/LTQ-Orbitrap Velos/Q Exactive Mass Spectrometers. Jones, KA, Kim, PD, Patel, BB, Kelsen, SG, Braverman, A, Swinton, DJ, Gafken, PR, Jones, LA, Lane, WS, Neveu, JM, Yeung, AT. .J. Proteome Res, 4351-4365, 2013, 12 (10).

    Derrick Swinton
    Dr. ​Derrick J. Swinton
    Chair and Professor of Chemistry
    • School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
    Molecular Science Research Center, Room 105