Dr. Robyn E. Goacher

Dr. Robyn E. Goacher

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Office Location:
Golisano Center, Room 251


Teaching Interests

Dr Goacher teaches courses in the areas of analytical chemistry, instrumental analysis, and environmental chemistry. She also teaches career and communication (presentation/writing) skills in the Biochemistry/Chemistry senior seminar course, and has previously taught inorganic chemistry.

Research Interests

Dr. Goacher is an analytical chemist whose current research themes include a) the ageing and weathering of wood-polymer composites, b) the biodegradation of lignocellulose (wood, plants) for use in biofuels and value-added bioproducts, c) the evaluation of techniques for determining the order of inks deposited in forgeries for forensics, and d) the analysis of commercial pharmaceuticals for potency.

In addition to evaluating multiple instrumental methods for these analyses, Dr. Goacher brings expertise in surface analysis, specifically in the use of Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to characterize solid materials. Ongoing collaborations with the University at Buffalo and University of Toronto enable the use of ToF-SIMS and other state-of-the-art instrumentation by Niagara University students. Her work in Toronto resulted in the development of a ToF-SIMS assay for the detection of enzymes active on complex wood substrates, and began several ongoing collaborations on related topics (ambers and petrified wood, and evaluation of enzyme activity on wood using Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy).

Dr. Goacher also is active in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and is collaborating with other NU faculty to evaluate ways to establish a safe learning environment for the flourishment of student discussion and active learning.


  • Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry (2010), State University of New York at Buffalo.
  • B.S. Chemistry with Religion and Mathematics minors (2005), Principia College.

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry, Chemistry & Physics at Niagara University, Aug 2012-present
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, Jan 2010-Aug 2012

Publications  (*indicates NU student author)

25. Goacher, R. E.; Braham, E. J.*; Michienzi, C. L.*; Flick, R. M.; Yakunin, A. F.; Master, E. R., "Direct analysis by time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry reveals action of bacterial laccase-mediator systems on both hardwood and softwood samples" Physiologia Plantarum. 2018, DOI: 10.1111/ppl.12688

24. Gogna, M.*; Goacher, R. E., “Comparison of Three Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy Sampling Techniques for Distinction between Lignocellulose Samples” BioResources. 2018, 13(1), 846-860.

23. Goacher, R. E.; Michienzi, C. L*, “How does soaking wood in various pH buffers impact ToF-SIMS spectra?” Surface and Interface Analysis. 2017, 1-8. DOI: 10.1002/sia.6354

22. Goacher, R. E.; DiFonzo, L. G.*; Lesko, K. C.*, “Challenges Determining the Correct Deposition Order of Different Intersecting Black Inks by Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry” Analytical Chemistry. 2017, 89, 759-766. DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b03411

21. Goacher, R. E.; Kline, C. M.; Targus, A.*; Vermette, P. J., “A practical Instructional Development Process Shows that Integrating Lab and Active Learning Benefit Undergraduate Analytical Chemistry” Journal of College Science Teaching. 2017, 46 (3), 65-73.

20. MacDonald, J.; Goacher, R. E.; Abou-Zaid, M.; Master, E. R., “Comparative analysis of lignin peroxidase and manganese peroxidase activity on coniferous and deciduous wood using ToF-SIMS”, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 2016, DOI: 10.1007/s00253-016-7560-2.

19.  Stroka, J. R.* and Goacher, R. E., “What can ToF-SIMS do for wood polymer composite analysis? A first investigation”, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B – special issue in SIMS. 2016, 34, http://dx.doi.org/10.1116/1.4939465

18. Goacher, R.; Moore, D.; Sanchez, L.; Schupp, P.R.; Tong, Y. “Using Clickers in Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics” In Clickers in the classroom: Using classroom response systemts to increase student learning. Ed. D. S. Goldstein and P. D. Wallis. Sterling, VA: Stylus Press, 2015.

17.  Tsai, A.; Goacher, R. E.; Master, E. R., “Detecting changes in Arabidopsis cell wall composition using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry”, Surface and Interface Analysis, 2015, 5, 626-631.

16. Jeremic, D.; Goacher, R.E.; Yan, R.; Karunakaran, C.; Master, E. R., “Direct and up-close views of plant cell walls show a leading role for lignin modifying enzymes on ensuing xylanases”, Biotechnology for Biofuels, 2014, 7:496.

15. Braham, E. J.* and Goacher, R.E., “Identifying and minimizing buffer interferences in ToF-SIMS analyses of lignocellulose", Surface and Interface Analysis, 2015, 47, 120-126.

14. Goacher, R.E.; Selig, M. J.; Master, E. R., “Advancing lignocellulose bioconversion through direct assessment of enzyme action on insoluble substrates”, Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 2014, 27, 123-133.

13. Sodhi, R. N. S.; Mims, C. A.; Goacher, R. E.; McKague, B.; Wolfe, A. P., “Differentiating diterpene resin acids using ToF-SIMS and Principal Component Analysis: new tools for assessing the geochemistry of amber”, Surface and Interface Analysis, 2014, 46 (6), 365-371.

12. Goacher, R.E.; Tsai, A. Y-L.; Master, E. R., “Towards practical Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry lignocellulolytic enzyme assays”, Biotechnology for Biofuels, 2013, 6:132. Open Access: http://www.biotechnologyforbiofuels.com/content/6/1/132

11. Zafar, A.; Schjodt-Thomsen, J.; Sodhi, R.; Goacher, R.; de Kubber, D., “Investigation of the ageing effects on phenol-urea-formaldehyde binder and alkanol amine-acid anhydride binder coated mineral fibres”, Polymer Degradation and Stability, 2013, 98, 1, 339-347.

10. Kwon, K.; Goacher, R.E.; Fraser, E. R.; Schweidenback, L.; Russ, A. H.; Hatch, J.B.; Petrou, A.; Gardella Jr., J. A.; Luo, H., “Study of MnAs as a Spin Injector for GaAs-based Semiconductor Heterostructures”, Journal of Low Temperature Physics, 2012, 169, 377-385.

Publications prior to joining NU:

9.   Goacher, R. E.; Edwards, E. A.; Mims C. A.; Master, E. R. “Application of ToF-SIMS for the Detection of Enzyme Activity on Solid Wood Substrates”, Analytical Chemistry, 2012, 84, 10, 4443-4452.

8.   Sodhi, R.; Mims, C.; Goacher, R. E.; McKague, B.; Wolfe, A. “Preliminary characterization of Palaeogene European ambers using ToF-SIMS”, Surface and Interface Analysis, 2012, 45, 557-560.

7.   Zafar, A.; Schjodt-Thomsen, J.; Sodhi, R.; Goacher, R.; de Kubber, D., “X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry characterization of ageing effects on the mineral fibers treated with aminopropylsilane and quaternary ammonium compounds”, Surface and Interface Analysis, 2012, 44, 811-818.

6.   Mahajan, S.; Jeremic, D.; Goacher, R. E.; Master, E. R., “Mode of coniferous decay by the white rot fungus Phanerochaete carnosa as elucidated by FTIR and ToF-SIMS”, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2012, 94, 5, 1303-1311.

5.   Goacher, R. E.; Jeremic, D.; Master, E. M., “Expanding the library of secondary ions that distinguish lignin and polysaccharides in ToF-SIMS analysis of wood”, Analytical Chemistry, 2011, 83, 3, 804-812.

4.   Lee, W-K.; Wells, D. D.; Goacher, R.E.; Gardella, J.A. Jr., “The control of surface segregation of blend films using stereocomplex formation between enantiomeric polylactide chains”, Surface and Interface Analysis, 2011, 43, 1-2, 385-388.

3.   Goacher, R. E.; Gardella, J. A. Jr., “Analysis of C60+ and Cs+ Sputtering Ions for Depth Profiling Gold/Silicon and GaAs Multilayer Samples by Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry”, Applied Surface Science, 2010, 256, 7, 2044-2051.

2.   Goacher, R. E.; Hegde, S.; Luo, H.; Gardella, J. A. Jr., “Diffusion of Mn in GaAs Studied by Quantitative Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry”, Journal of Applied Physics, 2009,106, 044302.

1.   Goacher, R. E.; Luo, H.; Gardella, J. A. Jr., “Formation of High Mass Cluster Ions from Compound Semiconductors Using Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry with Cluster Primary Ions” Analytical Chemistry, 2008, 80, 3261-3269.