COLLEGE STATION --
The surface of a computer desk, a bottle of water and a chalkboard all inspire Paul Cremer's work as a research chemist. The Texas A&M University professor only has to glance around his office to point out how science and his realm of study is all around us, every day.
Cremer has studied how surfaces react with one another for more than seven years. His most recent work includes the study of how pathogens latch on to and attack cell membranes and how the body rejects artificial implants. The two projects one day could lead to the development of bioterrorism-detection devices and medical breakthroughs in implant technology.
"It's new every day," Cremer said about his work. "What we get to do is try to figure out how nature works. It's fundamental science with a twist. Our end goal is that it might someday be useful."
In recognition of his pioneering work in physical chemistry and biological surface science, Cremer has been named the recipient of the Hackerman Award. The prize is given each year by the Welch Foundation to a young, up-and-coming scientist under age 40.
Cremer, 38, will be honored Tuesday (Jan. 24) during a luncheon on campus and given $100,000 in prize money. The award is one of the largest for fundamental chemical research in the state of Texas.
Cremer received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California-Berkeley in 1996 and has led the Cremer Research Group at A&M since arriving in 1998. The research group consists of 15 graduate, post-doctoral and undergraduate students studying in the Laboratory for Biological Surface Science.
The Hackerman Award is among many recognitions Cremer has garnered during his time at A&M. He received the Beckman Young Investigator Award in 2001 and the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in 2002. In 2003, Cremer won a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, a $60,000 prize recognizing talented young chemistry faculty.
"I was thrilled to win [the Hackerman Award] because I've seen the people who have won it before me," he said about his most recent honor. "It's terrific."