Ian J. Rhile, Ph.D. – Albright College

Ian J. Rhile, Ph.D.

Ian J. Rhile, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Department Chair
Science Building 243

B.S.: Ursinus College

M.S.: Cornell University

Ph.D.: Cornell University


Ian Rhile earned his B.S. from Ursinus College and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. After a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Washington, Dr. Rhile joined Albright College in 2005. He has taught courses in general chemistry and organic chemistry and recently taught a course on the science of food and cooking. In 2011, he received the Dr. Henry P. and M. Paige Laughlin Annual Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching for his efforts in teaching. An organic chemist, Dr. Rhile’s research interests are in the areas of physical and mechanistic organic chemistry, with a focus on atomic orbitals and proton-coupled electron transfer.

Dr. Rhile has served on multiple committees, including the Middle States Reaccreditation Steering Committee, and has chaired both the Educational Policy Council and Advisory Committee on Rank and Tenure. In addition, he has been the faculty advisor to the Student Government Association and Pride+. The Albright PRIDE award, which he received in 2013, recognized his multi-dimensional contributions to our community.

Areas of Expertise

  • Proton-coupled electron transfer
  • Mechanistic and physical organic chemistry
  • Organic chemistry laboratory development

Areas of Research

Concerted Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer in Base-Appended Radical Cations

Fundamental processes in many areas of chemistry involve the transfer of protons and electrons. The Rhile lab is looking at unique organic compounds that are bases and oxidants that are capable of accepting a proton and electron, albeit at different sites in the molecules. The compounds, base-appended radical cations, can abstract a net hydrogen atom from phenols in a concerted mechanism. Dr. Rhile is interested in how structural variations affect the kinetics and thermodynamics of the reactions.

Course and Laboratory Development

Dr. Rhile is interested in laboratory development and orbital visualization in the laboratory. Some projects in this area have included carbocation rearrangement in the organic chemistry laboratory and using parametric equations and readily available technology to visualize orbitals.

Courses Taught

  • CHE102: Science of Food and Cooking
  • CHE105: General Analytical Chemistry I
  • CHE106: General Analytical Chemistry II
  • CHE207: Organic Chemistry I
  • CHE208: Organic Chemistry II
  • CHE411: Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHE470: Advanced Topics in Chemical Education
  • FYS100: Drugs


  • Rhile, Ian J. “Expressions for the Integrated Probability Density for the Hydrogen 2s and 2p Orbitals Evaluated within Isosurfaces.” Math. Chem. 2016, 54, 1677-1685.
  • Rhile, Ian J. “Comment on ‘Visualizing Three-Dimensional Hybrid Atomic Orbitals Using Winplot: An Application for Student Self Instruction.’” Chem. Educ. 2015, 92, 1973-1974.
  • Welker, Evan A.; Tiley, Brittney L.; Sasaran, Crina M.; Zuchero, Matthew A.; Tong, Wing-Sze; Vettleson, Melissa J.; Richards, Robert A.; Geruntho, Jonathan J.; Stoll, Stefan; Wolbach, Jeffrey P.; Rhile, Ian J. “Conformational Change with Steric Interactions Affects the Inner Sphere Component of Concerted Proton-Electron Transfer in a Pyridyl-Appended Radical Cation System.” Org. Chem. 2015, 80, 8705-8712.
  • Rhile, Ian J. “Visualization of a Large Set of Hydrogen Atomic Orbital Contours Using New and Expanded Sets of Parametric Equations.” Chem. Educ. 2014, 91, 1739-1741.
  • Markle, Todd F.; Rhile, Ian J.; Mayer, James M. “Kinetic Effects of Increased Proton Transfer Distance on Proton-Coupled Oxidations of Phenol Amines.” Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 17341-17352.
  • Polito, Victoria; Hamman, Christian S.; Rhile, Ian J. “Carbocation Rearrangement in an Electrophilic Aromatic Substitution Discovery Laboratory.” Chem. Educ. 2010, 87, 969-970.

Professional Activities

  • Committee for an Inclusive, Thriving, and Equitable Community, 2017-18 and 2018-19
  • Faculty Advisor, Student Government Association, 2010-2018
  • Faculty Advisor, Pride+, spring 2017-2018
  • Quality Matters training, 2017-18
  • Advisory Committee on Rank and Tenure, 2013-2018; chair 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years

Awards and Grants

  • Albright PRIDE Award, 2013
  • American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund grant, 2009-2012
  • Henry P. and M. Paige Laughlin Annual Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching, 2011