Dr. Wilson Shafer

Contact ⇒ Wilson.Shafer@Asbury.edu


Dr. Shafer’s Curriculum Vitae

Courses taught @ Asbury University

BIO 475 – Senior Seminar

CHE 106/106L – Science of Light and Media w/ Lab

CHE 122 – Gen College Chem II

CHE 123 – Gen College Chem Lab I

CHE 321/321L – Analytical Chemistry w/ Lab

CHE 322/322L – Chemical Instrumentation w/ Lab

CHE 382 – Inorganic Chemistry

CHE 475 – Senior Seminar

Professional Experience

Dr. Shafer was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended the University of Kentucky to pursue chemistry, but ended up in music after graduating with a degree in chemistry. After he graduated, he moved to Nashville for a brief period of time.

In 2004, Dr. Shafer entered into the master’s program at Eastern Kentucky University. Dr. Shafer’s research was in collaboration with the USDA in developing a method on an LC –ESI -MS/MS for verification and quantification of Ergot alkaloids; a vaso-restrictive compound produced by endophytes that survive in a symbiotic relationship with tall fescue. He defended his MS in Chemistry in 2007 at EKU.

After this, Dr. Shafer began his career at Center for Apup_highplied Energy Research (CAER) at the University of Kentucky. Now having a family, he had no intention of ever going back to school to complete his Ph.D. However, in 2011, under the work of Dr. Burtron Davis, Dr. Shafer was able to once again attend school to complete his Ph.D. part-time, while working full-time. Dr. Shafer successfully defended his dissertation to graduate in 2015 with a Ph.D. in Chemistry – specifically in catalysis. During his time at CAER, Dr. Shafer became influential in both designing and conducting highly cited research in the areas of catalysis; e.g., water gas shift (WGS), aromatization, and Fischer-Tropsch (FT). Dr. Shafer’s tenure has amounted to obtaining over 85 cited publications; being among the top authors for Fischer-Tropsch world-wide; traveling as a consultant to NASA in Cleveland; advising multiple postdocs; managing eight labs and several instruments (two Refinery Gas Analyzers (a Multichannel GC-TCD), 2 SRI GC-TCD/FID, GC-MS, 2 GC-TCD, 4 GC-FID, GC-sulfur-chemiluminescence, GC-FID/FPD); building several 1-liter continuous stir tank reactors (CSTR) and fixed-bed systems from the ground up; synthetically developing specific, 13 C, 14 C, and deuterium labeled tracer molecules for reaction mechanism probing; and serving on several committees, including safety and internal seed grant acceptance. In 2017, Dr. Shafer accepted an inorganic chemistry faculty position at Asbury University, where he plans to continue his research along with teaching.

The Science of Color

How Is Silver, Silver?

It’s Chemistry!


In 2004, Dr. Shafer, and his better half were married and now have two wonderful kids. During his downtime, Will loves to play music (bass), read (mainly catalysis or history of catalysis), grow roses, and play with his kids. The Shafers are now owners of two VW buses and a half a bug, and he spends time rebuilding these so that he and wife can drive around together.

me in bus.jpgMy life has happened in chapters, all of which ended in a series of No’s. When I thought I was going to be a youth pastor, I never got the call. The summer we moved to Nashville and I was convinced I was going to do music for the rest of my life, God shut the door. I then moved back to Lexington and re-positioned my life back toward chemistry, to become a full-time researcher. Once I graduated with my degree in 2015 and I could be a full-time researcher on paper, God again said No. Thus, I am now at Asbury as this is the direction I feel called to head.

My science career, coupled with my faith, many would consider an oxymoron. Yet, for myself, I love the hunt for an understanding, the pursuit for the scientific unknown, simply because it allows me to have a greater appreciation of The Artist through His breath-taking artwork.


During Dr. Shafer’s second year of undergraduate studies, he played in an aggressive acoustic style band called Wake. The band’s adage was Ephesians 5:14, “This is why it is said: Wake up, oh sleeper, and Christ will shine upon you.” The band took off and over the next five years we toured all over Kentucky, parts of Ohio, and Illinois sharing the Gospel of Christ. We were blessed to produce two full albums (Turning Pictures and Blackberry Winter) and even play at larger venues including second and third stages of Ichthus, and Winter Blitz. The Band eventually changed their name to Cash Dansby, produced one more full album and moved to Nashville. Once in Nashville, Dr. Shafer felt called to head back into Chemistry and move away from music. During this time, Dr. Shafer was able to still play in some additional groups that also produced some albums – Something Autumn with his last band Simple Drive. Currently, Dr. Shafer still plays and is slowly working a few additional projects as music is just as much in his life as is chemistry.