Robert E. Synovec

Department of Chemistry, University of Washington

Phone: 206-685-2328
Link to Lab Website
Link to Dept. Website


  • Professor of Chemistry
  • Associate Chair, Graduate Studies, Department of Chemistry
  • Ph.D.,  Iowa State University, Ames, IA, Analytical Chemistry, 1986
    BA, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN, Chemistry 1981

  • Assistant Editor, Talanta, since 1992
    Editorial Board, Journal of Chromatography A, since 2003
    Member, GC x GC International Symposium Permanent Scientific Committee, since 2010

The Synovec group is working in the areas of traditional analytical chemistry, bioanalytical chemistry and process analytical chemistry, centered upon fundamental studies and applications of separation science. Primarily, the group works in the areas of gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography (LC) instrumentation, sensors, analytical methodology, chemical measurement science and multivariate data analysis (chemometrics). Overall, the research group seeks to find a better fundamental understanding of the right balance of chemical separation and mathematical separation required to optimally glean the desired chemical information from analytical separation data. We complement our interest in developing and applying novel instrumentation and chemometrics software, with a deep interest in modeling the separation processes based upon theory.  Our theoretical modeling has provided fundamental insight and guidance for instrumentation design improvements.  We apply our separations technology in many relevant and exciting areas such as process analysis, metabolomics, forensics, petroleum-based fuels, biofuels and environmental systems.

The Synovec group has expertise in the following instrumental areas: comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC) instrumentation with time-of flight mass spectrometry detection (GC×GC-TOFMS), fast GC-FID (the "GC-sensor"), GC-on-chip, and fast GC-TOFMS for high throughput chemical sensing, and LC-MS/MS to complement the GC-based analyses of complex samples.  We also have expertise in the following areas of data analysis: development and application of retention time alignment software for high throughput experimentation and real time decision making, and advanced chemometrics software particularly for discovery-based analyses (Fisher-ratio software), and for advanced mathematical resolution, identification and quantification (PARAFAC).