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COLLEGE STATION --

Four Texas A&M University chemistry professors have been appointed to endowed chairs and professorships within the Department of Chemistry, announced Dr. David H. Russell, Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex Professor of Mass Spectrometry in Chemistry and head of the department.

François P. Gabbaï has been appointed to the A.E. Martell Endowed Chair, established in 1999 in honor of legendary Texas A&M chemist Arthur E. Martell for his contributions as a world-renowned researcher to the field of science and his impact on both faculty and students during the development of Texas A&M's chemistry department.

Daniel Romo has been appointed to the Gradipore Chair in Separation Science, established in 2001 by Australian biotechnology company Gradipore Ltd. to support the separation science program in chemistry at Texas A&M.

Sherry J. Yennello has been appointed to the Nuclear Science Chair, established in 2000 through the Bright Matching Chair Fund Program in combination with funds from the College of Science and the Department of Chemistry.

Hongcai Joe Zhou has been appointed as a Davidson Professor of Science and a joint holder of the Davidson Chair in Science, established in 1981 through a bequest from Mr. C.J. Davidson and the C.J. Davidson Family Charitable Foundation to support world-class bioorganic chemists and biosynthetic chemistry research.

"We are fortunate to have a great group of chemists/scientists whose teaching, research and service represent the forefront of modern chemistry," Russell said. "All four of these individuals have established themselves as leaders in their discipline, and their successes underpin the national and international ranking and stature of the our department."

Gabbaï, an expert in inorganic chemistry, synthesis and supramolecular chemistry, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1998 after earning his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994 and completing postdoctoral work at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) under concurrent Alexander von Humboldt and Marie Curie Fellowships. Prior to coming to Texas, he studied at the University of Bordeaux, France, earning his master's of science degree in chemistry in 1990. In 2008 he was named a Davidson Professor of Science and a joint holder of the Davidson Chair in Science. Gabbaï is widely regarded as one of the world's top experts in the field of main group chemistry, and his research interests revolve around the chemistry of p-block and late-transition-metal elements with applications in both materials chemistry and molecular recognition. During the past decade, he has emerged as a true world leader in the molecular chemistry of heavier main group elements, such as antimony and tellurium, tackling deep fundamental questions at the heart of contemporary understanding of chemical bonding and resulting in ingenious applications of new knowledge to real-life problems. Gabbaï is a prolific researcher and author, publishing more than 160 papers in peer-reviewed journals and earning an h-index of 37 with roughly 6,000 citations of his research, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and the Robert A. Welch Foundation, among others. A fellow of the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry, his work has been recognized with several prestigious awards, most notably an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award in 2001 and the North American Dalton Lectureship in 2009. He has served since 2011 as chair of the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry and also is an associate editor for the journal Organometallics.

Romo, a world-renowned pioneer in the chemical synthesis of natural products and related studies, received his bachelor of arts in chemistry and biology from Texas A&M in 1986 and his doctorate in chemistry from Colorado State in 1991. After two years as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, he joined the Texas A&M faculty as an assistant professor of chemistry in 1993. Romo has spent more than 20 years researching the potential of compounds found in marine species, such as sponges, by synthesizing them in the laboratory in order to exploit their utility in basic studies of human cell biology and as lead compounds for drug development. His research has resulted in seven patents and has attracted continuous funding from a variety of sources, including the National Institutes of Health, NSF, Welch Foundation and CPRIT. Romo's career efforts to enable discoveries at the chemistry-biology interface were rewarded in 2011, when he was appointed as the inaugural director of the Natural Products LINCHPIN Laboratory, a collaborative center that enables chemists to work with biologists to address issues of human disease. Beyond traditional graduate and postdoctoral researchers, the lab also features undergraduates as part of an innovative TAMU Undergrad Minipharma program Romo developed in which a handful of undergraduates from diverse disciplines work together to develop drugs in some of the same ways they are developed in industry. A 2013 Royal Society of Chemistry fellow and a 2012 inductee into Texas A&M Science's Academy of Distinguished Former Students, Romo's many honors include an NIH Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award (2009), Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Awards in Research (university-level, 2011) and Teaching (college-level, 2009), a Texas A&M Office of Technology Commercialization Excellence in Innovation Award (2008), a Pfizer Award for Creativity in Organic Synthesis (2001-03), the Novartis Chemistry Lectureship (2001-02), a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1999), a Zeneca Excellence in Chemistry Award (1999), an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (1998) and an NSF CAREER Award (1996).

Yennello, Regents Professor of Chemistry and longtime associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Science, is an expert in nuclear chemistry and reactions involving exotic nuclei who joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1993 after serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Michigan State University (1991-92) and earning her Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1990. An internationally renowned nuclear chemist with more than 160 refereed publications and $8.5 million in grants to support cyclotron-based nuclear science, she is a member of Texas A&M's world-class Cyclotron Institute, which she recently was appointed to direct. Her globally respected research program in accelerator-based heavy ion reactions focuses on the dynamics and thermodynamics of excited nuclear matter -- specifically the nuclear equation-of-state, which has implications for the formation of the elements and other astrophysical phenomena. She is equally passionate about ensuring equity and access to educational and professional advancement for all, from creating opportunities for students, faculty and staff to motivating those groups to take advantage of them. Her work on both fronts is supported by several federal grants, including the $3.5 million NSF-funded ADVANCE Center for Women Faculty, for which she serves as principal investigator. She also is architect and co-chair of an NSF-funded Gender Equity Conversation project. A fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Yennello also is a member of Sigma Xi and Phi Lambda Upsilon. Her many awards include the ACS's Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal (2011), the Texas A&M Women's Faculty Network Outstanding Mentor Award (2010), the Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement College-Level Award in Teaching (2008), the Sigma Xi National Young Investigator Award (2000), the NSF Young Investigator Award (1994), the Oak Ridge Junior Faculty Enhancement Award (1993) and the General Electric Faculty for the Future Award (1993).

Zhou, an inorganic chemist who joined the Texas A&M Chemistry faculty in 2008, is an expert in the design of metal-organic frameworks (MOF), very small and highly porous materials with the highest internal surface area known to man and a rapidly developing field of materials chemistry. With just a tweak of their crystalline structure and properties, MOFs become ideal for absorbing any type of different molecule, resulting in porous, grid-like materials with broad applications in fuel storage, emissions controls and drug delivery. Zhou earned his doctorate in chemistry from Texas A&M in 2000 under the guidance of legendary inorganic chemist Dr. F. Albert Cotton, then spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and was an associate professor at Miami University prior to returning to Texas A&M. Zhou's research focuses on sustainable energy and the use of new MOF materials as carbon dioxide sorbents to develop state-of-the-art concepts and materials to facilitate hydrogen production and storage, efficient conversion of biofuels, economic production of solar energy and other renewable energy resources. In addition to two major U.S. Department of Energy grants since 2010, Zhou has received many awards recognizing his pioneering research, including the Research Innovation Award and the Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, an NSF CAREER Award, the Miami University Distinguished Scholar-Young Investigator Award and the 2007 Faculty Excellence Award from Air Products and Chemicals Inc. He has served since 2011 as chief scientific advisor for framergy® Inc., a Texas-based startup company that oversees the commercialization of groundbreaking MOF innovations for industrial uses, ensuring that the broader benefits of Zhou's research are realized across the state, nation and world.

For more information on endowed chairs and professorships in the College of Science, contact the Development Office at (979) 845-2894 or visit http://www.science.tamu.edu/faculty/chairs.php.

To learn more about endowed faculty positions and other development-related impact opportunities in the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry, go to http://www.chem.tamu.edu/giving/.

-aTm-

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. David H. Russell, (979) 845-0829 or russell@chem.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • François P. Gabbaï

  • Daniel Romo

  • Sherry J. Yennello

  • Hongcai Joe Zhou

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