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COLLEGE STATION --

Four College of Science faculty are among nine Texas A&M University faculty recently appointed to the rank of distinguished professor, effective September 1, 2008.

Dr. John A. Gladysz and Dr. Ronald D. Macfarlane, professors of chemistry; Dr. Rostislav I. Grigorchuk, professor of mathematics; and Dr. Paul E. Hardin, professor of biology, were recognized along with five other Texas A&M faculty as the latest recipients of the coveted title, which is the highest academic rank a faculty member can attain at Texas A&M.

The 2008 honorees are the most recent additions to an elite group of 59 currently active distinguished professors at Texas A&M, nearly half of whom are affiliated with the College of Science, which has only one-eighth of the University's total tenured/tenure-track faculty. All are recognized by their peers as being among the top five percent in their fields worldwide and for making major contributions that have redirected the flow of related research or scholarship.

In addition, the 2008 contingent ranks as the second-largest group honored in a single year for the College, which saw a record five of its faculty named as distinguished professors in 2007.

"Once again I am pleased to see our faculty continuing to earn well-deserved recognition for their worldwide excellence," said Dr. H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science. "Each of our distinguished professors -- whether new or existing -- brings great honor to the College of Science and to Texas A&M University. We are extremely fortunate to have colleagues of such prestigious caliber."

Gladysz, whose world-renowned research focuses on organometallic chemistry -- mixing metals and carbon to create novel molecules -- joined the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry faculty in 2007 as a tenured professor and the inaugural holder of the Dow Chair in Chemical Invention. Previously he spent 10 years at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, where he held the Chair of Organic Chemistry, and had faculty positions at the University of Utah (1982-1998) and UCLA (1974-1982). Gladysz's research covers a broad spectrum of fields and industries, including nanotechnology, organic synthesis and enantioselective reactions. His work has been described in more than 400 widely-cited publications and earned him international acclaim, most notably an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award for Senior Scientists (1995). He also has received the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1988) and Award in Organometallic Chemistry (1994). A longtime member of the ACS, The Chemical Society and the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, Gladysz is a past Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1980-1984) and Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Grant recipient (1980-1985). Since 1984, he has served as associate editor of Chemical Reviews, the journal with the highest impact factor in chemistry.

Grigorchuk, who is recognized as an outstanding researcher in group theory and dynamical systems worldwide, joined the Texas A&M Department of Mathematics faculty as a tenured professor in 2002. Prior to that, he was on the mathematics faculty at Moscow State University of Transportation (1978-1995), where he served as three years as department chair; Leading Researcher at the Steklov Institute (1995-2002); and a professor in the Department of Dynamical Systems at Moscow State Univeristy of Lomonosov (2000-2002). In the 1980s Grigorchuk became world famous for the discovery of groups of intermediate growth which now bear his name -- Grigorchuk groups. This discovery gave a solution to the Milnor Problem on growth as well as to the Day Problem on non-elementary amenability. Grigorchuk also created a new direction in mathematics known as the study of self-similar groups. He has published more than 100 research papers and is the chief editor of a new journal, Groups, Geometry and Dynamics, published by the European Mathematical Society. During his Texas A&M tenure, Grigorchuk has had constant grant support from the National Science Foundation. He was an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematics in 1990, an honor extended to only the top five percent of mathematicians worldwide. His many awards include the Prize of the Moscow Mathematical Society (1980), a Fulbright Foundation Senior Fellowship affiliated at Columbia University (1990-1991); and multiple awards by the Russian Academy of Sciences in recognition of the best scientific achievement or best published scientific paper (1999, 2001, 2002).

Hardin, who is an international expert in chronobiology, or the study of biological clocks, joined the Texas A&M Department of Biology faculty in 2005 as a tenured professor and the inaugural holder of the John W. "Bill" Lyons Jr. '59 Endowed Chair in Biology and director of the Center for Biological Clocks Research. He previously held faculty positions at the University of Houston (1995-2005) and Texas A&M (1991-1995). Hardin's research was the first to define the feedback loop in gene expression that comprises the core "circadian," or 24-hour, timekeeping mechanism in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. His subsequent work identified the so-called "e-box" in the promoter region of the period gene that governs its rhythmic transcription -- work that formed the basis for a large body of research into the molecular nature of circadian timekeeping in both Drosophila and mammals. Hardin's research group also identified complex multiple feedback loops of gene expression controlling fly biological clocks and characterized a well-defined physiological output of this rhythmic gene expression in the form of rhythmic olfactory function. He has authored or co-authored many research journal articles and numerous conference presentations, earning the international Aschoff-Honma Prize in Chronobiology in 2003.

Macfarlane, who joined the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry faculty as a professor in 1967 after five years on the faculty at McMaster University, is a truly exceptional and innovative chemist who has made inspired contributions in three different fields of research -- nuclear chemistry, mass spectrometry and the chemistry of cardiovascular disease -- during his 45-year academic research career. He has received recognition for this work by both the American Chemical Society Award in Nuclear Chemistry (1989) and the Distinguished Achievement Award of the American Society of Mass Spectrometry (1991), which ranks as the highest honor bestowed by the ASMS. He has also been honored with a Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Research (1984). Nine of the letters written in support of Macfarlane's distinguished professor nomination assert that he should have shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering studies of plasma desorption mass spectrometry, considered one of the foundations on which modern life sciences rest. While academic research and training chemists for health sciences careers have been major components of Macfarlane's Texas A&M interests, his passion for effective teaching -- breaking the tradition for rote learning with conceptual understanding -- has provided a balance for his academic life.

For a complete list of distinguished professors at Texas A&M, visit http://dof.tamu.edu/notable/.

-aTm-

Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. John A. Gladysz

    Distinguished Professor of Chemistry (Photo by Jim Lyle, TTI Communications.)

  • Dr. Rostislav I. Grigorchuk

    Distinguished Professor of Mathematics

  • Dr. Paul E. Hardin

    Distinguished Professor of Biology

  • Dr. Ronald D. Macfarlane

    Distinguished Professor of Chemistry (Photo by Jim Lyle, TTI Communications.)

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