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Dr. Mike Dunphy

Michael Dunphy

Division Chair, Mathematics & Sciences; Professor of Chemistry

B.S., Walsh University; M.S., Youngstown State University; Ph.D., University of Akron

Walsh University
A Catholic University of Distinction
2020 East Maple Street
North Canton, Ohio44720
United States

Dr. Dunphy is a professional educator focused in the science of biochemistry. While his primary role at Walsh University is to facilitate learning as Chair of the Division of Math & Sciences, Dr. Dunphy's research interests are centered around analytical biochemistry and the applications of chromatography to analytical biochemical problems. Having expertise in Gas-Liquid, Thin-Layer and High Pressure Liquid Chromatography, Dr. Dunphy has undergraduate students engaged in projects related to the separation, detection and quantification of organic and biochemical analytes in various biological and non-biological matrices. Projects are also related to various aspects of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and the dynamics of pharmacological assays, both in the clinical and non-clinical settings. More recently, Dr. Dunphy, in collaboration with Dr. Gerald Koser, has been developing an HPLC procedure for the analysis of Hydroxytosyloxyiodobenzene (HTIB), a versatile organic synthetic reagent and a procedure for HPLC analysis of nitrosylcobalamin (NOCBl), a potential anti-tumor agent. The NOCBl research is a collaboration with Dr. Joe Bauer, formerly with the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Research Center.

Dr. Dunphy is also a veteran of the classical martial arts/sciences, and devotes considerable energy to martial training and education.

Our Common Waters: Unique Collaboration on Watershed Research

Our Common Waters: Unique Collaboration on Watershed Research

In June 2012, an unprecedented collaboration among the science minds of five Stark County college research teams set out to discover the answer to a basic question that should concern us all: "What exactly is in our local water?"

"We believe that this is the first time the five universities in Stark County have joined together on a project of this caliber," said Dr. Michael Dunphy, Chair of the Division of Math and Sciences. "Our collaboration is an example to the entire community that our water quality impacts each and every one of us. We must work together to ensure that the future of our water environment is safe. Our findings will be an important resource for the entire community."

Through a grant from the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation, students and faculty members from Walsh University, Stark State College, Kent State Stark, the University of Mount Union and Malone University recently teamed up to study the various organisms and chemicals that are present in Stark County's Nimishillen Creek waterways.

The project called "Making the Invisible Visible: Water Quality in Stark County" began in June 2012, and researchers wrapped up their final reports in February 2013. The project included the collection and analysis of water samples from almost 50 sites along Stark County's Nimishillen Creek watershed. Initiated by Kent State Stark Campus, the project grant funding brought Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA) to Stark County to lead the research project. The group also worked closely with government and nonprofit experts on the area's watersheds to help make recommendations based on the research samples.

In early June, the team began by collecting baseline samples and working in collaboration with ORCA. Some of the sediment samples were also sent to an EPA lab in Florida for further testing

The teams then set out to assess the chemical and biological health of the sampling sites that included Alliance, Canton, and all over Stark County.

Sites were selected with the help of the local EPA Officials, and ORCA provided a standardized means of sediment testing which helped identify potential risk areas. In most locations, the chemical and biological testing done over the summer indicated that the water and biological habitats were in good shape. But in some instances, the tests revealed areas that contained elements such as chromium, arsenic or barium. It is currently being assessed whether the levels found are an issue.

"Some of these elements can show up at old mining sites like those found within Stark County," said Dr. Dunphy. "Initially, we used a color coding system developed by ORCA which used red circles indicating the areas where the sediment under the water in streams tested toxic with their bioassay. We knew that there could be any number of things found in the sediment that would produce a 'toxic' result but might not necessarily be harmful to our water environment. Basically, the red circles signified the need for further research and testing."

About two dozen biology and environmental health students from the county's five universities were a part of the project. In addition, students in Kent Stark's environmental media class recorded the research for the Our Water Webs website and for a documentary created about the study.

"What made this project unique was the way we all worked together and interacted between schools in the field," said Dr. Dunphy. "Our student research teams rotated between the professors of each school to expand their field experience in all three collection analyses."

After initial baseline testing by ORCA, the next phase of sampling collection was broken into three groups designed to allow for data gathering that could be handled by students and didn't require sophisticated and costly work. Each university and research team was assigned a different type analysis, which included:

  • Water chemical analysis
  • QHEI - Assessment of the toxicity index
  • Macrovertebrate studies

All three analyses were conducted at the targeted sites and then down-stream from the "ORCA-red" indicated areas.

"We were careful not to stir up the sediment," said Dr. Dunphy. "At each site, we took a pH reading and used a temperature probe before we collected our water samples and returned to the lab immediately for analysis."

Working in collaboration with the regular monitoring done by the EPA, the project was able to provide supplemental sampling to assess the health of water. The Stark County Engineers office and the EPA also provided additional information including a spreadsheet map with the longitude and latitude coordinates for each red zone marked for further research. The students were able to plot the coordinates on their cell phone GPS to reach the targeted sampling site.

"Overall, our initial analysis of the whole system did not show anything unusual from the water surface, sediment and organisms living in the water. All the water samples we collected indicated that at the water level, it was relatively safe," said Dr. Dunphy.

With the first phase of the project completed, the team is now waiting for an ORCA Ecotoxicologist to analyze all of the data collected. The next steps will be determined by their conclusions. For the team at Walsh, anticipation is high for future collaborations among the universities and continued research this summer on the watershed study.

"I'm a chemist," said Dr. Dunphy. "I'm at home in a lab. Personally, I learned a lot since I don't typically do that kind of field work. When we would arrive at a location, we didn't know exactly what we would be facing. How deep is the water? How strong is the current? What critters will we be encountering? And rarely would we find an easily accessible, clear path down the bank to the river. It was a great experience that took us all out of our regular comfort zones – which for me is the lab! But I would gladly do it all again."


Pokharna, Hemlata K., Yanmin Zhong, Daniel J. Smith, Michael J. Dunphy. "Copolymers of Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate with Quadrol Methacrylate and with Various Aminoalkyl Methacrylamides as Fibroblast Cell Substrata." Journal of Bioactive and Compatible Polymers 5 (1990): 42-52.

Dunphy, Michael J., Douglas D. Goble, and Daniel J. Smith. "Nitrate Analysis by Capillary Gas Chromatography." Analytical Biochemistry 184 (1990): 381-387.

Dunphy, Michael J., Daniel J. Smith. "Quantitation of N,N,N',N'-Tetrakis (2-Hydroxypropyl)-Ethylenediamine in Plasma by Gas Chromatography." Journal of Chromatography 488 (1989): 369-377.

Lobstein, Dennis D., Charles L. Rasmussen, Gail E. Dunphy and Michael J. Dunphy. "Beta-Endorphin and Components of Depression as Powerful discriminators between Joggers and Sedentary Middle-Aged Men." Journal of Psychosomatic Research 33.3 (1989): 293-305.

Fulton, J.A., H.K. Pokharna, M.J. Dunphy, and D.J. Smith. "Resolution of Diasereomers of N,N,N',N'-Tetrakis (2Hydroxypropyl) Ethylenediamine (Quadrol ) by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography." Journal of Chromatography 455 (1988): 183-192.

Dunphy, M.J., M.V. Bhide and D.J. Smith. "Determination of hydroxyproline in tissue collagen hydrolysate by derivatization and isocratic reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography." Journal of Chromatography 420 (1987): 394-397.

Bhide, M.V., M.J. Dunphy. "Promotion of Wound Collagen Formation in Normal and Diabetic Mice by Quadrol." Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology 10.4 (1988): 513-522.

Dunphy, M.J., M.K. Pandya. "Analysis of Acidic-Neutral Drugs in Human Serum by Fused Silica Capillary Chromatography." Journal of High Resolution Chromatography & Chromatography Communications 6 (1983): 317-320.

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