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UC’s ‘Up and Coming’ Chemistry Faculty Get National Science Foundation Recognition

Every assistant professor hired by UC’s Chemistry Department from 1998 to 2008 has received the prestigious NSF CAREER grant, given to junior faculty in recognition of their research and teaching potential.

Date: 1/15/2010 12:00:00 AM
By: Wendy Beckman
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos By: Dottie Stover, photojournalist

UC ingot   Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Pay it forward. So what does Newton's "Third Law of Motion" have to do with a concept espoused by Benjamin Franklin? These two principles combine for some powerful teaching and research in the Chemistry Department at the University of Cincinnati.
Assistant professors George Stan and Hairong Guan.
Assistant professors George Stan and Hairong Guan are the latest CAREER recipients in the Department of Chemistry.

Since 1995, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded grants to junior faculty through the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award program. The grants are among the most prestigious awards that junior faculty members can receive. Many faculty at the University of Cincinnati started their careers at the university with such a research boost from the NSF — especially those in McMicken College’s Department of Chemistry.

“Every one of our assistant professor hires, dating back to 1998, has received a CAREER award,” says Pat Limbach, department head. “What’s truly impressive is the consecutive string of assistant professor hires who have received this award.”

Only offered to assistant professors without tenure, the CAREER awards are intended for faculty members who are beginning their careers in tenure-track appointments. UC’s young chemists are studying photons, toxins in food, green chemistry, cytoskelatal protofilaments and more. Two of them have been promoted to associate professor since receiving their awards.

Bill Connick mentored undergrad Whitney Howard through the WISE summer program.
Whitney Howard learned about chemical sensing in Bill Connick's lab.

An important component of the award is also advancing education of young students. For example, the CAREER recipients often offer their research groups to mentor the Women in Science and Engineering participants. In the summer of 2009, Whitney Howard worked in Bill Connick’s lab studying new materials for chemical sensing as part of the annual Research Experiences for Women Undergraduates program.

Limbach is justifiably pleased with the caliber of his department.

Anna Gudmundsdottir
Anna Gudmundsdottir

“I'm very proud of our young faculty.”

Read about these award-winning chemists:

Associate Professor Anna Gudmundsdottir, hired in 1998, CAREER award in 2001    
University of Cincinnati News: National Honors for Five Scientists
Anna Gudmundsdottir earned a CAREER award for "Photolysis of Alkylazides in Solution and in Crystals."

Associate Professor William Connick, hired in 1998, CAREER award in 2002
University of Cincinnati News: Chemist Earns NSF CAREER Award
UC chemist William Connick has found a way to get a single particle of light - one photon - to do twice the expected amount of work.

Former Assistant Professor Theresa Reineke, hired in 2002, CAREER award in 2005 (moved to Virginia Tech in 2008)    
UC-Developed Technology to Assist Research and Genetic Drug Delivery
Techulon, Inc., and UC sign worldwide exclusive license agreements for novel reagents used for research and therapeutic delivery of nucleic acids.

James Mack, II.
James Mack, II, researches how to create solutions without solvents. (Photo by Andrew Higley.)

Assistant Professor James Mack II
, hired in 2003, CAREER award in 2006
UC Research, Fall 2006, “Curriculum Vitae”

Assistant Professor Ruxandra Dima, hired in 2006, CAREER award in 2009
UC Chemist Receives NSF CAREER Award
Ruxandra Dima's five-year award totals more than $600,000 for her research on cytoskeletal protofilaments.

Assistant Professor Suri Iyer
, hired in 2004, CAREER award in 2009
Keeping the Food We Eat Safer
UC chemist receives prestigious NSF CAREER grant to develop toxin-detecting biosensors.

Assistant Professor Hairong Guan, hired in 2007, CAREER award in 2010    
Career Catalyst: Chemistry Professor Earns NSF CAREER Award
Hairong Guan receives nearly $660,000 from National Science Foundation for research on catalytic reactions.

Assistant Professor George Stan, hired in 2006, CAREER award in 2010
Continuing the Sequence: Another Chemistry Prof Earns NSF CAREER Award
George Stan and his research on molecular dynamics of proteins garner $660,644 in funding by the National Science Foundation.

Ruxandra Dima.
Ruxandra Dima studies catalysts. (Photo by Kim Burdett.)

About the CAREER Award
CAREER: The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a National Science Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from junior faculty members at all CAREER-eligible organizations, and especially encourages women, members of under-represented minority groups and persons with disabilities to apply.

About UC’s Department of Chemistry
UC’s Department of Chemistry in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences is a historically strong department positioning itself for even greater achievements in the 21st century. As a Carnegie Foundation-designated Doctoral/Research-Extensive Institution, the Chemistry Department strives for excellence in both the undergraduate and graduate education experiences. It is a medium-sized department providing the amenities and resources typically found only in much larger departments, while retaining the closeness and faculty-student interactions characteristic of smaller departments. The world-class faculty are recipients of numerous regional, national and international awards, and provide leadership in scholarship and research in a variety of areas such as drug design and delivery, green chemistry, chemical and biochemical sensors and biophysical methods, to name but a representative few.

Contact the Department of Chemistry