Dr. Gyula Vigh, professor of chemistry and holder of the Gradipore Chair of Separation Science at Texas A&M University, has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Hungarian Society for Separation Sciences (HSSS) Halasz Medal Award recognizing research excellence in the separation sciences.

Named in honor of the memory of Istvan Halasz, a leading scientist in gas chromatography and a pioneer in liquid chromatography, the award was created in 1997 to commend researchers for outstanding achievements in or contributions to the study of separation science, or techniques used to separate different types of substances and to purify, quantify and identify the individual components.

Vigh will be presented with the medal and be recognized for his contributions to the understanding of high-performance separation science throughout Hungary and the rest of the world at a ceremony during the 36th International Symposium on High Performance Liquid Phase Separations and Related Techniques, set for June 19-23 at the Budapest Congress and World Trade Center in Budapest, Hungary.

"I was very surprised, as I didn't even know I had been nominated," Vigh said. "It's very humbling and very pleasurable to receive the same award as some of the guys who helped establish our science."

The list of previous Halasz winners represents a veritable "who's who" of internationally renowned researchers responsible for a variety of separation techniques that have helped shape and refine the science during the past decades. Vigh joins rare and honorable air that includes such acclaimed past recipients as Yale University's Dr. Csaba Horvath, the inaugural recipient and star pupil of Istvan Halasz himself, and the University of Tennessee's Dr. Georges Guiochon, both of whom were pioneers of high-performance liquid chromatography which has revolutionized separations in fields ranging from agriculture to health care.

Dr. David H. Russell, Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex Professor of Mass Spectrometry in Chemistry at Texas A&M and head of the Department of Chemistry, notes that Vigh's extensive work is well-respected in the scientific community and has solidified his status as one of the forerunners of separation science technology.

"Professor Vigh is overly modest," Russell added. "Vigh is one of the guys that established separations as a scientific discipline. He is known the world over for his contributions to development of materials used for analytical separations as well as advancing applications of state-of-the-art separations techniques."

A member of the Texas A&M faculty since 1985, Vigh's research focuses on analytical chemistry -- specifically electrophoresis, the movement of charged particles in a fluid or gel under the influence of an electric field. His lab is currently investigating isoelectric trapping of ampholytic (able to react as a base or an acid) substances within a device to achieve separation -- a vital tool in the purification process for a wide variety of substances, from medications to proteins, in a host of applications.

"We try to come up with fundamentals that describe what a particular capture tool can do," Vigh said. "We create models, look for a problem and then confront the problem with a model. We try to design separations, as opposed to stumbling upon them."

In addition to being presented with the award during the symposium, Vigh is scheduled to present a plenary lecture explaining his lab's technique entitled, "A New Preparative-Scale Isoelectrophoretic Trapping Device: Design, Construction and First Characterization."

The HSSS was founded in 1996 to advance the development and knowledge of the various fields of separation sciences -- analytical separations, large-scale preparative chromatography, electrophoresis, extraction, centrifuging, ion-exchange, membrane separations and sample preparation. Likewise, the HSSS is a forum for scientific discussion amongst its members with the specific goal of promoting separation science worldwide. Today, the society has more than 400 active members.

Click here for more information on the Halasz Medal Award and to see a complete list of past recipients.

To learn more about Vigh and his research, visit http://www.chem.tamu.edu/faculty/vigh.


Contact: Chris Jarvis, (979) 845-7246 or cjarvis@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Gyula Vigh, (979) 845-2456 or vigh@chem.tamu.edu

Jarvis Chris

  • Dr. Gyula Vigh

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