Research interests in the Musah lab fall under the broad heading of bioorganic chemistry, but the studies impact several areas including environmental, forensic, plant chemical defense and medicinal natural products chemistry. These seemingly disparate focal areas are united by the techniques used to investigate them (such as direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry) and/or the plants around which the studies revolve. Areas of focus include:
- Psychoactive plant drugs
- Species identification of necrophagous insects
- Mass spectrometric imaging techniques and applications
- Synthesis of novel molecules with anti-cancer properties
- Development of innovations of ambient ionization mass spectrometry by DART-MS
- Plant chemical defense mechanisms
- Biosynthesis of organosulfur compounds
- Organosulfur materials chemistry
- Pedagogical innovations in STEM education and STEM transfer student assimilation
- Development of bacterial quorum sensing and biofilm inhibitors
- Retroviral nucleic acid/protein interactions
The teaching philosophy of Professor Musah is based on the premise that for a student to learn some chemistry, they need to care to learn chemistry. Chemistry is colorful, odiferous, fast or slow, explosive, fiery, hot or cold, tactile. It is related in wonderful ways to almost everything that is tangible, and it happens everywhere!
Professor Musah's efforts in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education include instituting and serving as Director of the UAlbany Center for Achievement, Retention and Student Success (CARSS). CARSS serves more than 1200 STEM majors each academic year, and offers free tutoring in STEM gateway courses. This has resulted in increased persistence and graduation rates of STEM majors.