David Bateman

Associate professor/director of undergraduate research

If I can use my research to inspire a few students to go out and teach, I’ll accomplish more chemistry than I could in the lab alone.

David Bateman has always been interested in pharmaceuticals. His mother has Addison’s disease, and at one point had to petition for experimental treatment.

“There just weren’t enough people really working on it at the time,” he said. “So I got fascinated with that and became interested in pharmacology and thought maybe I would go to pharmacy school.”

But Bateman didn’t go straight to college after graduating from Delight High School. He opted to sell cars for a while.

He eventually enrolled at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and ended up completing his degree at Henderson State.

Bateman received a fellowship at the University of Arkansas and earned his Ph.D. in chemistry. Along the way, he became involved in research and organic chemistry.

“I decided I was much more interested in making pharmaceuticals than selling them,” he said.

While at graduate school, Bateman worked on the synthesis of some natural anti-cancer products. “We were able to develop a short synthesis that my boss patented using analogs of a known complex natural product that had anti-cancer activity,” he said.

When he joined the faculty at Henderson State, Bateman established a student drug synthesis group.

“We take derivatives of a known active pharmaceutical that has interesting biological activity and make synthetic analogs of it,” he said. “We’re taking that library of compounds and screening those for anti-cancer activity.”

Bateman ensures that his students get plenty of hands-on experience.

“The students need to be able to see where their research is going and that there is an ultimate goal,” he said. “When they leave here and someone asks them what skills they have, they can talk about what they’ve done in the lab and why they did it.”

Bateman said there is a shortage of chemistry majors in the United States, creating a high demand among businesses and corporations seeking to fill positions in a variety of fields, including environmental chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, material science, and geology/petroleum.

A fascination with research and a “love of being in the lab” keeps Bateman passionate about teaching.

“I love to see students ‘get it’ for the first time and really get excited about chemistry,” he said. “Some of these students come in thinking that chemistry is something scary and too tough for them, but they end up finding that they really like it and go on to do great things.”

And Bateman’s lab isn’t limited to an indoor facility. He likes to integrate kayaking, hiking, and canoeing with environmental chemistry, including the study of mercury in rivers.

“I’m very interested with what’s in the water around here,” he said.

Bateman also serves as director of undergraduate research at Henderson, working with many departments across the campus.


Contact Info:

Degree and School:
Ph.D., University of Arkansas - Fayetteville

Synthesis of anti-cancer natural products
Presence of mercury and other heavy metals in otters and badgers
Presence of mercury at sites near former mercury mines in Clark and Pike counties
Salivary cortisol and oxytocin as a stress biomarker in nursing home patients

I've been at Henderson since: