Gary A. Baker

Professor Gary A. Baker
Assistant Professor
102 Schlundt
Research Emphasis: 

Green nanochemistry; Metal nanoclusters; Carbon dots; Ionic liquids; Deep eutectic solvents; Clean energy & catalysis; Optical sensing


BS, The State University of New York at Oswego, 1995
PhD, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, 2001

Professional Experience: 

Assistant Professor, University of Missouri-Columbia, 2011-present
Research Scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2005-2010
Postdoctoral Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2001-2005

Honors and Awards
Cottrell Scholar Award, 2015
Provost's Outstanding Junior Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award, 2015
George W. Thorn Award, University at Buffalo Distinguished Alumni Award, 2010
Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), U.S. Department of Energy, 2008
Office of Science Outstanding Mentor Award, U.S. Department of Energy, 2007
Eugene P. Wigner Fellowship, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2005-2007
Frederick Reines Postdoctoral Fellowship, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2002-2005
American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry Graduate Fellowship, 2000
Society for Applied Spectroscopy Graduate Student Award, 1999


Research in the Baker Group is highly cross-disciplinary and collaborative in nature and is motivated by problem-solving using sustainable nanoscience and task-specific solvent-engineering approaches. Examples of ongoing research projects include:

  • Non-equilibrium dynamic control of nanostructures
  • “Lab-on-a-nanosheet” synthetic organoclays 
  • Analytical chemistry for resource-poor settings
  • Waste valorization: from rubbish to functional carbons 

Women in Training for Science (WITS)
In partnership with Kathryn Fishman-Weaver—award-winning secondary gifted education teacher at Rock Bridge High School and Ph.D. student in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri—we launched an outreach program in 2013 with the overarching goal of cultivating the talents of female students from the high school to graduate school level, with seminars, hands-on learning activities, laboratory experiences, supervised training, sibling proxy (“big sister”) mentorship, and internships designed to ignite and promote a lifelong interest in science and scientific careers. For general inquiries, or for those interesting in participating, please feel free to contact me at:

Select Publications: 

Wagle, D. V., Baker, G. A., and Mamontov, E. (2015) Differential microscopic mobility of components within a deep eutectic solvent, J. Phys. Chem. Lett., in press. 

Essner, J. B., Laber, C. H., and Baker, G. A. (2015) Effective size and optical tailoring of catalytic bimetallic nanoparticles generated from citric acid-derived carbon nanodots, J. Mater. Chem A, in press.

Ravula, S., Essner, J. B., and Baker, G. A. (2015) Kitchen-inspired nanochemistry: dispersion, exfoliation, and hybridization of functional MoS2 nanosheets using culinary hydrocolloids, ChemNanoMat, 1, 167-177.

Ravula, S., Baker, S. N., Kamath, G., and Baker, G. A. (2015) Ionic liquid-assisted exfoliation and dispersion: stripping graphene and its two-dimensional layered inorganic counterparts of their inhibitions, Nanoscale 7, 4338-4353.

Ravula, S., Essner, J. B., La, W. A., Polo-Parada, L., Kargupta, R., Hull, G. J., Sengupta, S., and Baker, G. A. (2015) Sunlight-assisted route to antimicrobial plasmonic aminoclay catalysts, Nanoscale 7, 86-91. 

Wagle, D. V. and Baker, G. A. (2015) Cold welding: a phenomenon for spontaneous self healing and shape genesis at the nanoscale, Mater. Horiz. 2, 157-167.

Wagle, D. V., Zhao, H., and Baker, G. A. (2014) Deep eutectic solvents: sustainable media for nanoscale and functional materials, Acc. Chem. Res. 47, 2299-2308.

Pal, M., Rai, R., Yadav, A., Khanna, R., Baker, G. A., and Pandey, S. (2014) Self-aggregation of sodium dodecyl sulfate within (choline chloride + urea) deep eutectic solvent, Langmuir 30, 13191-13198.

Sze, L. L., Pandey, S., Ravula, S., Pandey, S., Zhao, H., Baker, G. A., and Baker, S. N. (2014) Ternary deep eutectic solvents tasked for carbon dioxide capture, ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2, 2117-2123.

Chen, X., Essner, J. B., and Baker, G. A. (2014) Exploring luminescence-based temperature sensing using protein-passivated gold nanoclusters, Nanoscale 6, 9594-9598.

Ramirez-Perez, F. I., Gutiérrez-Juárez, G., Bok, S., Gangopadhyay, K., Gangopadhyay, S., Baker, G. A., and Polo-Parada, L. (2014) Dye-doped organosilicate nanoparticles as cell-preserving labels for photoacoustic signal generation, J. Biomed. Nanotechnol. 10, 3337-3350.

Hofmann, C. M., Essner, J. B., Baker, G. A., and Baker, S. N. (2014) Protein-templated gold nanoclusters sequestered within sol–gel thin films for the selective and ratiometric luminescence recognition of Hg2+, Nanoscale 6, 5425-5431.

Xia, S., Baker, G. A., Li, H., Ravula, S., and Zhao, H. (2014) Aqueous ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents for cellulosic biomass pretreatment and saccharification, RSC Adv. 4, 10586-10596.

Zhao, H., and Baker, G. A. (2013) Ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents for biodiesel synthesis: a review, J. Chem. Technol. Biotechnol. 88, 3-12.

Fowler, D. A., Atwood, J. L., and Baker, G. A. (2013) Formation of a dimeric host–guest complex via binding between a dicationic ionic liquid and a pyrogallol[4]arene macrocycle, Chem. Commun. 49, 1802-1804.

Peñalber, C. Y., Baker, G. A., and Baldelli, S. (2013) Sum frequency generation spectroscopy of imidazolium-based ionic liquids with cyano-functionalized anions at the solid salt–liquid interface, J. Phys. Chem. B 117, 5939-5949.

Kaintz, A., Baker, G., Benesi, A., and Maroncelli, M. (2013) Solute diffusion in ionic liquids, NMR measurements and comparisons to conventional solvents, J. Phys. Chem. B 117, 11697-11708.

Chen, X., and Baker, G. A. (2013) Cholesterol determination using protein-templated fluorescent gold nanocluster probes, Analyst 138, 7299-7302.

Tang, S., Baker, G. A., and Zhao, H. (2012) Ether- and alcohol-functionalized task-specific ionic liquids: attractive properties and applications, Chem. Soc. Rev. 41, 4030-4066.

Trivedi, S., Pandey, S., Baker, S. N., and Baker, G. A. (2012) Pronounced hydrogen bonding giving rise to apparent probe hyperpolarity in ionic liquid mixtures with 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol, J. Phys. Chem. B 116, 1360-1369.

Tang, S., Baker, G. A., Ravula, S., Jones, J. E., and Zhao, H. (2012) PEG-functionalized ionic liquids for cellulose dissolution and saccharification, Green Chem. 14, 2922-2932.

Pandey, S., Baker, S. N., Pandey, S., and Baker, G. A. (2012) Optically responsive switchable ionic liquid for internally-referenced fluorescence monitoring and visual determination of carbon dioxide, Chem. Commun. 48, 7043-7045.

Liang, M., Kaintz, A., Baker, G. A., and Maroncelli, M. (2012) Bimolecular electron transfer in ionic liquids: Are reaction rates anomalously high?, J. Phys. Chem. B 116, 1370-1384.

Jordan, A. N., Das, S., Siraj, N., De Rooy, S. L., Li, M., El-Zahab, B., Chandler, L., Baker, G. A., and Warner, I. M. (2012) Anion-controlled morphologies and spectral features of cyanine-based nanoGUMBOS — an improved photosensitizer, Nanoscale 4, 5031-5038.

Li, S., Bañuelos, J. L., Guo, J., Anovitz, L., Rother, G., Shaw, R. W., Hillesheim, P. C., Dai, S., Baker, G. A., and Cummings, P. T. (2012) Alkyl chain length and temperature effects on structural properties of pyrrolidinium-based ionic liquids: a combined atomistic simulation and small-angle x-ray scattering study, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 3, 125-130.

Al-Azzawi, O. M., Hofmann, C. M., Baker, G. A., and Baker, S. N. (2012) Nanosilica-supported polyethoxyamines as low-cost, reversible carbon dioxide sorbents, J. Colloid Interface Sci. 385, 154-159.

Bok, S., Korampally, V., Polo-Parada, L., Mamidi, V., Baker, G. A., Gangopadhyay, K., Folk, W. R., Dasgupta, P. K., and Gangopadhyay, S. (2012) Confeito-like assembly of organosilicate-caged fluorophores: ultrabright suprananoparticles for fluorescence imaging, Nanotechnology 23, 175601 (11pp).

Yung, K. Y., Schadock-Hewitt, A. J., Hunter, N. P., Bright, F. V., and Baker, G. A. (2011) 'Liquid litmus': chemosensory pH-responsive photonic ionic liquids, Chem. Commun. 47, 4775-4777.