Four Texas A&M University chemists have been named American Chemical Society (ACS) Fellows in recognition of their excellence in chemistry and service to the society.

Dr. David E. Bergbreiter, professor of chemistry and Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence; Dr. Kim R. Dunbar, distinguished professor of chemistry and Davidson Professor of Science; Dr. François P. Gabbaï, professor of chemistry and Davidson Professor of Science; and Dr. Sherry J. Yennello, Regents Professor of Chemistry, are among the 213 international chemists announced as 2011 ACS Fellows in the August 8 issue of Chemical & Engineering News. They will be honored next week at the society's fall national meeting in Denver, where each will receive a lapel pin and a certificate.

"ACS is especially proud to honor these chemists during the 2011 International Year of Chemistry," said ACS President Nancy B. Jackson in announcing the 2011 class of ACS Fellows. "The work they are doing will improve all of our lives as they unleash the power of chemistry to solve global challenges like providing clean water, sufficient food, new energy sources, and cures for disease. But that's not all," she noted. "They're also organizing scientific conferences for their peers, doing outreach with scouts and schools, and being mentors to the next generation of scientists."

With four honorees, Texas A&M ranks second only to the University of Washington (5) among the international institutions of higher education represented in the list. Five others -- the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); the University of Notre Dame and The Ohio State University -- also merited four selections apiece.

Statewide, Texas A&M accounts for one-third of the dozen Texas chemists recognized. The University of Texas at Austin and the University of North Texas each boast two, while four other Lone Star State institutions have one honoree apiece: Rice University; the University of Texas at Dallas; the University of Texas at El Paso; and Texas Southern University.

"Texas A&M is known for having faculty members who are among the world's top experts in their fields and who are passionate about teaching our students," said Texas A&M President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin. "This well-deserved recognition underscores our reputation for having one of the best chemistry programs in the nation."

The fellows program was established in 2009 as a way to recognize and honor ACS members from academia, industry and government for outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession and the ACS.

Texas A&M's current honorees join six Department of Chemistry colleagues previously recognized by the society as fellows: Dr. Paul S. Cremer, Dr. Marcetta Y. Darensbourg, Dr. John P. Fackler Jr., Dr. John A. Gladysz and Dr. D. Wayne Goodman as members of the inaugural class in 2009 and Dr. Joseph B. Natowitz in 2010. Dr. Melanie J. Lesko, professor of marine sciences at Texas A&M University at Galveston, also earned selection in 2010.

"This award is given to individual faculty in recognition of their service to the American Chemical Society as well as their achievements in teaching and research," said Dr. David H. Russell, Applied Biosystems/MDS Sciex Professor of Mass Spectrometry in Chemistry and head of the Department of Chemistry. "Such awards also serve as further evidence of the quality of faculty that have chosen to invest their careers in Texas A&M University and the students and public that this university serves."

With more than 163,000 members, the American Chemical Society (ACS) is the world's largest scientific society and one of the world's leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit organization chartered by the United States Congress, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related professions around the globe.

For more information on the ACS Fellows program and a complete list of 2011 honorees, visit http://pubs.acs.org/cen/acsnews/89/8932acs2.html.

Brief biographies for the four Texas A&M ACS Fellows are included below:

David E. Bergbreiter
Bergbreiter, an expert in organic chemistry and polymer science, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1974 after receiving his Ph.D. that same year from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a joint appointment in materials science and engineering, and his research in catalysis and synthesis has been extensively published in multiple peer-reviewed, scholarly and professional venues. Renowned both for his teaching and research prowess, Bergbreiter is one of three College of Science faculty to earn the lifetime distinction of Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence, Texas A&M's highest award for classroom achievement. In addition, he has received university-level Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Awards in Teaching (2005) and Research (2008), as well as the Exxon Education Foundation Award, the ARMCO Mentorship Award and the Wells Fargo Honors Faculty Mentor Award. In 2008 he was recognized with the American Chemical Society Southwest Regional Award for his extensive research and career achievement in polymer chemistry. In his 36 years at Texas A&M, Bergbreiter has directed the research of more than 100 co-authors of his 240 peer-reviewed publications, has been selected as a Fish Camp namesake, and has "had the pleasure of introducing thousands of sophomores to the enchantment of Ochem [organic chemistry]."

Kim R. Dunbar
Dunbar, whose research in synthetic and physical inorganic chemistry is focused on the study of soft magnetic and conducting materials and applications of metal complexes in medicine, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1999 after serving on the faculty at Michigan State University. In 2004 she was named a Davidson Professor of Science and a joint holder of the Davidson Chair in Science, meriting particular distinction as the first female chair holder in the College of Science. In 2007 she was named a distinguished professor of chemistry, Texas A&M's highest academic rank for faculty. Dunbar's use of structure and bonding relationships to explain physical and chemical phenomena in several important areas -- inorganic/organic hybrid materials, molecular magnetism and the use of dirhodium compounds as new anti-cancer drugs, to name a few -- have redirected and focused the work of other researchers all over the world. Her major professional honors include an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, fellowships in both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Chemists, and the inaugural Texas A&M Association of Former Students Graduate Mentoring Award in 2006. An associate editor of the journal Inorganic Chemistry since 2002, she also has served as secretary and chair of the American Chemical Society's Division of Inorganic Chemistry. In 2010 she featured with an Author Profile in Angewandte Chemie and honored as one of six female chemists to publish 10 or more manuscripts in the journal during the first decade of the 21st century.

François P. Gabbaï
Gabbaï, an expert in inorganic chemistry, synthesis and supramolecular chemistry, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1998 after earning his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994 and completing postdoctoral work at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) under concurrent Alexander von Humboldt and Marie Curie Fellowships. Prior to coming to Texas, he studied at the University of Bordeaux, France, earning his master's of science degree in chemistry in 1990. In 2008 he was named a Davidson Professor of Science and a joint holder of the Davidson Chair in Science. Gabbaï research interests revolve around the chemistry of p-block and late-transition-metal elements with applications in both materials chemistry and molecular recognition. A prolific researcher and author, his work has been recognized with several prestigious awards, most notably a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award in 2001 and the North American Dalton Lectureship in 2009. He currently serves as chair of the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry and as an associate editor for the journal Organometallics.

Sherry J. Yennello
Yennello, Regents Professor of Chemistry and associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Science, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1993 after serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Michigan State University (1991-92) and earning her Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1990. An internationally renowned nuclear chemist, she is a member of Texas A&M's world-class Cyclotron Institute as well as a University Faculty Fellow and current chair of the college's diversity committee. Her research on the nuclear equation-of-state impacts such fundamental questions as, "What is the origin of the elements?" and "How are neutron-rich and heavy nuclei synthesized in the core of a star during stellar evolution?" Yennello serves as principal investigator for four major National Science Foundation grants -- including Texas A&M's $3.5 million ADVANCE Center for Women Faculty established last October -- totaling more than $5.5 million in funding to benefit STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education and outreach. She also is architect and co-chair of an NSF-funded Gender Equity Conversation project. A fellow of the American Physical Society since 2005, Yennello is a member of the American Chemical Society, Sigma Xi and Phi Lambda Upsilon. Her many awards include the ACS's Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal (2011), the Texas A&M Women's Faculty Network Outstanding Mentor Award (2010), the Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement College-Level Award in Teaching (2008), the Sigma Xi National Young Investigator Award (2000), the NSF Young Investigator Award (1994), the Oak Ridge Junior Faculty Enhancement Award (1993) and the General Electric Faculty for the Future Award (1993).


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

Hutchins Shana

  • David E. Bergbreiter

  • Kim R. Dunbar

  • Francois P. Gabbai

  • Sherry J. Yennello

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