University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

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Dave Giesen, Ph.D.

Current position:

Principle Scientist for Schrödinger, Inc.


Bachelor's degree in chemistry with a computer science minor from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 1992, and doctorate in chemistry from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 1997.


Doctoral thesis, Quantum Mechanical Continuum Solvation Models, under Professor Christopher Cramer.

Work background highlights:

An American Chemical Society talk that Professor Don Truhlar gave on the joint solvation project between he and Professor Cramer led to a Kodak Fellowship for my last three years of graduate school. The fellowship lead to a job with Kodak once I finished my doctorate. In 13 years at Kodak, I worked as a computational chemist on many different projects including health imaging, traditional photography, and organic light-emitting diodes (OLED). The OLED project was probably the most interesting, and it's fun knowing that many of the active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) screens showing up on cell phones, televisions, and other electronics may contain molecules that I helped design.

During my work at Kodak, I got to know several people at Schrödinger, a company that develops software for computational chemists. When I decided that I wanted to switch to developing scientific software last year, this connection lead to my current position as a software developer at Schrödinger. I'm currently writing programs designed mostly for computational chemists in the pharmaceutical industry. Designing software is something I've enjoyed doing ever since I was in high school, and this job lets me work on my hobby for fun and profit.

What one thing from your experiences in the University of Minnesota Department of Chemistry prepared you for what you currently are doing or plan to do in the future?:

From the above, you can see there's a clear line connecting my graduate work at the University of Minnesota to my current job. In addition, Chris and Don's work (some of which I helped with in graduate school) is used by Schrödinger in our software, and this helped open the door for me to switch careers. The extensive software development experience I gained helping to write AMSOL and maintaining our group workstations in graduate school set me up with the background to continue writing software at Kodak, and finally led to my decision to become a full-time programmer.

He is married to Kerrie (Harms) Giesen, a University of Minnesota graduate and former stockroom employee in the Department of Chemistry. They have two daughters, ages 9 and 7, and live in Rochester, NY. He is pictured with daughter Megan.