What are your current research interests?
My research focuses on developing new methods to detect, understand, and treat diseases. We focus on cancer and sepsis, as they are both major causes of death world wide. My students develop diagnostic methods, new biomaterials, and imaging methods to study these diseases.
What types of outreach and engagement have you been involved with?
I am a firm believer that it takes a "complete" scholar to conduct any sort of inquiry. There's science in theater, in music, in art. And the arts inform sciences in so many ways. In an age of increasing specialization, we often forego enrichment across the spectrum. To that end, I am very active in the Lubbock community in the arts, and have brought my expertise in chemistry to special effects and prosthetics in theatrical productions.
Why did you choose this field?
I've always been interested in challenges. At the same time, I want to make a widespread impact. My students understand the significance of these health issues, and we pour our all into our work.
How do you define good teaching?
Good teaching is about connections. It's a connection to the students, so they trust in the scientific journey. It's about connections between the material and their lives. It's about connections between the material and the broader field of inquiry. To me, great teaching happens when students are inspired to ask questions in their everyday lives.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
Without a doubt, my proudest accomplishment is my students. My graduate students have all gone on to have very successful careers. Through our research they have learned to become independent scholars and their successes continue to astound me.
How do you integrate research and outreach into teaching?
By focuses on applied concepts in my teaching and outreach, it's easy to pull my own research into that discussion. We are trying to save lives, and improve quality of life for people suffering from diseases. There are accessible concepts, and I find it's not hard to engage the public when we discuss what we do..
More about Dimitri Pappas
Dr. Pappas received his BS and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Florida. After receiving his doctorate in 2002, he went to Johnson Space Center, where he worked in bioastronautics in the Biological Systems Office. In 2005 he joined the faculty at Texas Tech University in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and was appointed to the rank of Professor in 2020. Dr. Pappas has published over 75 peer-reviewed papers and has been or is currently funded by The CH Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Robert A. Welch Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, and the National Science Foundation. When he is not in the lab, Dr. Pappas is president of the Board of Directors of Moonlight Musicals, is a Stage Manager for many theatrical productions in Lubbock, and enjoys playing the violin and guitar.