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COLLEGE STATION --

Texas A&M University chemistry professors Dr. Sarbajit Banerjee and Dr. Marcetta Y. Darensbourg have been appointed as Davidson Professors of Science and joint holders of the Davidson Chair in Science, announced Dr. Simon W. North, professor and head of the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry.

"Marcetta and Sarbajit are exceptional scholars who have contributed significantly to the visibility of our department, and their appointments as Davidson Professors of Science are well deserved," North said.

Banerjee joined the Texas A&M Chemistry faculty in 2014 and also is an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He earned his doctorate at State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2004 and completed a postdoctoral stint at Columbia University in 2007. Prior to coming to Texas A&M, he spent seven years as an assistant and then an associate professor at the University at Buffalo. Banerjee's research interests are focused on nanomaterials, solid-state chemistry, materials for energy storage and conservation, phase transformations in materials, interface design, green buildings and multifunctional coatings.

Elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2016, Banerjee's career honors to date also include the Beilby Medal and Prize (2016), the Rosenhain Medal and Prize (2015), a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2009), the American Chemical Society ExxonMobil Solid-State-Chemistry Fellowship (2010), the Cottrell Scholar Award (2011), the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society Young Leader Award (2013) and the Journal of Physical Chemistry Lectureship (2013). In addition to being named a Scialog Fellow in 2013, he was named to MIT Technology Review's global list of "top 35 innovators under the age of 35" in 2012 for the discovery of dynamically switchable smart windows technology that promises a dramatic reduction in the energy footprint of buildings.

Banerjee has published more than 135 articles cited in excess of 7,500 times for a Hirsch (h)-index of 39. He is listed as an inventor on six issued patents. In addition, he serves as an associate editor for the journal RSC Advances and is a member of the editorial boards of the Institute of Physics' Materials Research Express, Journal of Physics: Communications and the Journal of Coordination Chemistry. A prominent advocate for materials research and education, Banerjee has spoken at the U.S. State Department, U.S. Government Accountability Office and on both National Public Radio and Australian Public Radio.

Darensbourg joined the Texas A&M Chemistry faculty in 1982 and is an internationally respected expert in synthetic and mechanistic inorganic chemistry and a leader in the development of methods to perfect hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology. She earned her doctorate in inorganic chemistry at the University of Illinois in 1967 and held faculty appointments at Vassar College (1967-69), State University of New York, Buffalo (1969-71) and Tulane University (1971-82) prior to beginning her independent career at Texas A&M, where was appointed a distinguished professor of chemistry in 2010. Her laboratory currently specializes in the novel approach of introducing Earth-abundant elements -- iron, nickel and sulfur -- into hydrogen-producing molecular catalysts intended to replace platinum as the kick-starter in these fuel cells.

A pioneer in many areas of chemistry, Darensbourg became the first-ever female recipient in 1995 of the ACS Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry Award, the society's top annual honor for inorganic accomplishment. Most recently, she was recognized in March with the ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry recognizing impact in that field and then in May with election to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. She is an inaugural fellow of the ACS (2009) as well as a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2014) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011), one the country's oldest and most prestigious honorary learned societies.

In addition to authoring nearly 250 refereed papers, Darensbourg has co-edited two specialty chemistry books, co-authored a freshman chemistry textbook and given plenary lectures at several prestigious international conferences. Her many career honors include the ACS Southwest Region Award (1998), the Distinguished Scientist Award for 2011 from the Texas A&M chapter of Sigma Xi and Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Awards in three separate categories: Teaching (1986); Research (1995) and Graduate Mentoring (2012). She is active in professional bodies beyond the ACS, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and advisory panels for the Petroleum Research Fund and National Academy of Sciences. She currently serves on the editorial boards for Inorganic Chemistry, Inorganic Syntheses and Chemical Communications as well as the advisory board for Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry.

The Davidson Chair in Science was established in the College of Science in 1981 through a bequest from Mr. C.J. Davidson. Banerjee and Darensbourg join fellow chemistry professors Dr. Kim Dunbar (2004), Dr. Michael Hall (2004) and Dr. Daniel Singleton (2005) as current Davidson Professors of Science.

For more information on endowed chairs and professorships in the College of Science, contact the Development Office at (979) 845-6492 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/.

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $892.7 million in fiscal year 2016. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation's Higher Education Research and Development survey (2015), based on expenditures of more than $866.6 million in fiscal year 2015. Texas A&M's research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.

-aTm-

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Simon W. North, (979) 845-4947 or north@chem.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Sarbajit Banerjee

  • Dr. Marcetta Y. Darensbourg

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