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UC Chemistry Faculty Member is Awarded Prestigious National Fellowship

Hairong Guan, a UC associate professor of chemistry, is among young scholars around the nation and Canada to receive the Sloan Research Fellowship.

Date: 2/27/2013 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Lisa Ventre

UC ingot   Hairong Guan, a University of Cincinnati associate professor of chemistry, is among 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers to be honored with the 2013 Sloan Research Fellowships. The fellowships are awarded to young scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as the next generation of scientific leaders. Fellows receive $50,000 to be used to further their research.
Hairong Guan
Hairong Guan

Guan is the only Ohio researcher to receive the fellowship. His research specialty involves designing catalysts that will speed up a chemical reaction – methods to make a chemical reaction run faster, cheaper and safer – for areas such as the pharmaceutical industry, the chemical industry and the energy industry.

“This award is truly an honor,” says Guan. “It signifies the recognition of not only my work, but also the work of my graduate student researchers. I feel that my students are very talented and work very hard, and they made significant contributions to our research projects.”

“The Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow is an extraordinarily competitive award involving nominations of the very best young scientists from the United States and Canada,” says William Heineman, Distinguished Research Professor and head of the UC Department of Chemistry. “Professor Guan’s selection from this exceptional group of nominees shows the high esteem in which his past work and future potential are held by the scholars who wrote letters in support of his nomination and the award selection committee. Professor Guan is to be congratulated for this high honor.”

Hairong Guan and UC grad student Gleason Wilson
Hairong Guan and UC grad student Gleason Wilson

Previously, Guan received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2010 that resulted in $658,364 funding from the NSF through 2015 to study chemical processes to reduce carbon dioxide, a contributor to greenhouse gas. Guan’s research team has developed a catalytic hydrocarbon system to reduce CO2 by converting it into methanol, a liquid fuel and fuel additive.

The prestigious NSF CAREER Award is highly competitive and has been a common honor among junior faculty in the UC Department of Chemistry.

Guan has also dedicated his work at UC to supporting undergraduate research and recruiting undergraduate researchers from underrepresented backgrounds, such as UC’s summer Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program. He also works regularly with the department’s summer NSF-sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program that is also open to undergraduates outside of UC. “I think research is a very important aspect of undergraduate education,” says Guan. “The department shares that philosophy, too.

“As the world evolves, there will always be new challenges presented, and we need chemists to address those issues.”

Guan received his doctoral degree from Columbia University in 2005 and did his post-doctoral research on the development of iron-catalyzed hydrogenation reactions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He joined the UC chemistry faculty as an assistant professor in 2007 and was appointed to associate professor in 2012.

Nationally, the Sloan Research Fellows represent a total of 61 colleges and universities. The full list of the 2013 Sloan Research Fellows can be viewed from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s website.

The Sloan Fellowships have been awarded annually since 1955. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance.