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UC Chemist Honored by International Science Organizations

UC chemist Diane Grob Schmidt, holder of a shampoo patent, will soon receive two prestigious awards. One is from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the other is from the National Academy of Inventors.

Date: 2/16/2017
By: Melanie Schefft
Phone: (513) 556-5213
Other Contact: John Bach
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-5224
Photos By: Provided by Diane Grob Schmidt
The leap from private industry into academia didn’t alter the momentum for Diane Grob Schmidt, University of Cincinnati adjunct professor of chemistry, who will receive not one, but two fellow awards this spring from top international science organizations.
A close-up of a man standing next to a woman holding a certificate.
Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS with Diane Grob Schmidt as she receives the 2017 AAAS Fellow Award



Schmidt, also a 1981 UC doctoral alumna, has made it easier for folks to grab the shampoo and go with the patented 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, Pert Plus, an indispensable part of many hair-care habits for over three decades. This unique innovation, among many others, was earned during her 33-year career in Procter and Gamble’s research and development division.  
These professional contributions, her research scholarship, and leadership roles in prominent chemical societies are the reasons for Schmidt’s upcoming fellow awards, the first of which is this February from The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Schmidt is the only faculty from UC this year –– among 391 international recipients –– who will receive the traditional fellow rosette pin during the AAAS annual meeting in Boston for “distinguished contributions to organic chemistry, particularly for basic understanding of structure-property relationships and successful innovation/development of commercial products based on chemistry.”

In addition, Schmidt has earned the 2017 National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow Award for “demonstrating a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.” She will be honored at the NAI Fellows Induction Ceremony on April 6, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
Glass trophy etched with the words, NAI "National Academy of Inventors" Fellow [award].
The 2017 NAI Fellow Award


And just ahead of receiving these two prestigious awards, Schmidt will travel to the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Francisco.

Continuing her leadership role on many levels, Schmidt will present at the ACS on the Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Leadership in the 21st Century. Schmidt’s presentation will focus on key elements of leadership, major trends and personal reflections from an industry perspective.

“This is quite a privilege, as I feel very fortunate to work in such a powerful field,” says Schmidt. “Chemistry’s role in clean water, food safety, medicinal improvements, diagnostic techniques and personal-care products improve the lives of the general public daily, but does not often get the credit.

“Throughout my career, I have used chemistry to make and improve products that people use everyday. I have tried to make the connection for people that it is chemistry that makes their shampoo, laundry detergent, pharmaceuticals and so many other products essential to everyday living.” 

Schmidt further explains her goals by punctuating the tagline for ACS, “Chemistry for life. Improving people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry.” 

The work and research that led to Schmidt’s prestigious awards have focused on, “Incorporating synthetic chemistry into innovating improvements in personal-care products and paving a sustainable path forward for members of the chemistry profession, as well as education, for the benefit of Earth and its people,” she states.
 
As a UC alumna, Schmidt earned her doctoral degree in organic chemistry in 1981 before joining the research and development division of Procter and Gamble that same year. Since then, her work has appeared in several publications. In addition, she has served on a number of editorial boards, and she holds a myriad of U.S. and international patents.

Moreover, Schmidt has published three books on collaborative works with others on chemical nanotechnology and chemistry without borders.

Actor Alan Alda and UC Adjunct Professor Diane Grob Schmidt facing forward.
Actor Alan Alda attended an ACS board of director's dinner while Schmidt was president in 2015.

Schmidt is a member of the AAAS, the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Chemical Society where she held a wide variety of positions related to chemical health and safety, policy, public affairs and public relations and three consecutive terms on the ACS Board of Directors. In 2015, she served as president of ACS where her presidential theme was “Inspiring and Innovating for Tomorrow.”

After retiring from Procter and Gamble in 2014, Schmidt joined UC as adjunct professor where she now enjoys mentoring graduate students in organic chemistry and polymer research and continues to inspire the next generation of chemical research innovators.

“[We have today] anti-rejection medicines that allow us to receive a life-saving organ—bone marrow or a heart and a liver, where one hundred years ago, who would have thought that would be possible?” said Schmidt, in 2015 while president of the American Chemical Society. “Chemistry, with its ability to address challenges we’ve not yet heard of, serves our society, serves our world, and serves mankind."

Schmidt published books 2016:

University of Cincinnati Department of Chemistry is a Carnegie Foundation-designated Doctoral/ Research-Extensive Institution that strives for excellence in both the undergraduate and graduate education experiences. Our world-class faculty are recipients of numerous regional, national and international awards and provide leadership in scholarship and research in a variety of areas that include drug design and delivery, green chemistry, chemical and biochemical sensors and biophysical methods. As the "central science," chemistry at UC provides diverse opportunities for collaborative studies with colleagues at the UC Genome Research Institute, UC College of Medicine, Children's Hospital, UC College of Engineering and departments within UC's College of Arts and Sciences. Procter and Gamble, along with several federal research labs including the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health also have a significant presence in Cincinnati. Undergraduate and graduate chemistry students alike have numerous opportunities for internships, co-ops, and collaborative study with our industrial and federal research partners.