Dr. Paul S. Cremer, professor of chemistry and holder of the Arthur E. Martell Chair in Chemistry at Texas A&M University, will be recognized today with one of the Lone Star State's highest scientific honors, the Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award celebrating cutting-edge research and sponsored by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST).

Cremer, a pioneer in the field of biological interfaces, will be honored with the 2010 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award in Science for his excellence in physical chemistry research as part of TAMEST's annual meeting Jan. 7-8 in San Antonio. He is cited by The Academy for his international leadership in "fundamental understanding of protein adsorption, multivalency, the interactions of salts and osmolytes with biomacromolecules, and the development of novel microfluidic platforms."

Established in 2006 and named for philanthropists Edith and Peter O'Donnell, steadfast supporters of TAMEST since its inception in 2004, the annual awards recognize outstanding achievements by young investigators in medicine, engineering, science and technology innovation. Nominations are solicited from Academy members, university administrators and industry executives, then evaluated by a committee of Academy members. Finalists are selected in consultation with a committee of Texas Nobel laureates before being formally approved by The Academy's board of directors.

"Dr. Cremer is truly a superstar in the interdisciplinary field of biophysical chemistry," said Texas A&M Interim President R. Bowen Loftin. "His research has a far-reaching impact from biotechnology to nanomaterials and speaks to the significant scientific advances being made by Texas A&M faculty each and every day. We congratulate Dr. Cremer upon this recognition from TAMEST and the research community here in the state of Texas."

Cremer and fellow 2010 O'Donnell Award winners Drs. Renata Pasqualini and Wadih Arap of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (medicine), Drs. Douglas C. Burger and Stephen W. Keckler of The University of Texas at Austin (engineering) and Dr. S.V. Sreenivasan of The University of Texas at Austin (technology innovation) will be presented with their awards at a dinner this evening in their honor. Each will receive a $25,000 honorarium, a citation and an inscribed statue.

"I am delighted to be receiving the 2010 O'Donnell Award in Science," Cremer said. "It is a great honor, especially in light of the fantastic scientists who have been recognized before me."

Cremer earned his doctorate in chemistry from the University of California-Berkeley in 1996 and spent two years as the ACS-Irving S. Sigal Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University prior to coming to Texas A&M in 1998. His research group works at the interface of physical chemistry, biochemistry, sensor design and nanomaterial science. Overall, this work has led to a better picture of the details of how cells interact with their environment.

Biophysical studies in the Cremer group are linked through their employment of novel "lab-on-a-chip" platforms which enable high throughput/low sample volume analysis to be performed with unprecedented signal-to-noise. Many analytical techniques, such as temperature gradient microfluidics, local pH modulation for label-free biosensing, and on-chip binding constant measurements, were invented or developed in the Cremer laboratory.

Cremer's group continues to use these and other biotechnological advances to answer fundamental questions in biophysical chemistry. For example, the group has elucidated the underlying mechanism of two-dimensional rearrangements for multivalent binding at cell membrane surfaces -- critical physical insight, considering that 80 percent of all current drug targets are membrane proteins. In addition, they are credited with identifying the underlying mechanism by which fibrinogen can be displaced from nascently implantable materials in the body (e.g., hip and knee implants). This mechanism may help in designing materials which lower the rejection rate of bioimplants.

Another central focus of the Cremer laboratory has been studies on interfacial water structure and the 120-year-old puzzle about the nature of ion-macromolecule interactions (the Hofmeister Effect). Cremer's analysis shows that the effects of ions are direct, rather than through changes in bulk water structure. In related work, the Cremer laboratory has made major progress toward understanding the mechanism by which urea denatures proteins as well as elucidating the mechanisms involved in ligand-receptor binding at fluid biomembrane interfaces.

Cremer's research excellence has been recognized with a plethora of prestigious awards, including the Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award (2006), the Sigma Xi Southwest Regional Young Investigator Award (2006), the Robert A. Welch Foundation Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research (2006), a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2003), an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (2002), the Beckman Young Investigator Award (2001), a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2001), the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2000), the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award (2000), and the Research Corporation's Research Innovation Award (1999). In 2009 he was named an inaugural Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS). He currently serves as an associate editor for The Journal of the American Chemical Society, the flagship journal of the ACS, as well as on the editorial boards of Chemical Reviews, Langmuir, Surface Science and Biointerphases.

"Paul Cremer's research has had major impact on many areas of chemistry and the physical chemistry of macromolecules, and I am confident that this will continue throughout his career," said Dr. David H. Russell, Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex Professor of Mass Spectrometry in Chemistry and head of the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry. "However, his career has even broader impact on science/education in the state of Texas. He is an excellent scientist, teacher and mentor to both graduate students and undergraduate students. He plays key leadership roles in chemistry, both here at Texas A&M University and in the national/international chemical communities, including serving as an associate editor for the flagship journal our discipline, The Journal of the American Chemical Society."

TAMEST was founded in 2004 by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Nobel laureates Dr. Michael Brown and the late Dr. Richard Smalley to bring recognition to Texas' top achievers in medicine, engineering and science and its national leadership in these vital areas. Members include the state's Nobel Prize winners -- including Texas A&M's Dr. Dudley R. Herschbach and Dr. David M. Lee -- and the 200-plus Texas members of the National Academies, which include the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.


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

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. Paul S. Cremer

  • An example of a "lab-on-a-chip" (clear square) produced in the Cremer laboratory, juxtapositioned atop a traditional test tube and rack system it replaces.

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