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Pittcon Awards 2007

Researchers were honored for achievements in analytical chemistry and spectroscopy

by Linda Wang
March 19, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 12

AN IMPORTANT FUNCTION of the annual Pittsburgh Conference & Exhibition on Analytical Chemistry & Applied Spectroscopy, held this year on Feb. 25-March 2, is to honor scientists who have made outstanding contributions to the fields. The following awards were presented at an awards ceremony in Chicago.

The Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh presented the 2007 Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award to Robert M. Corn, professor of chemistry at the University of California, Irvine, for his leadership in the field of interfacial spectroscopy.

Corn was among the first to apply surface plasmon resonance imaging to the study of biomolecular assembly, protein and DNA interactions, and biomolecule sensing. His group also has made seminal contributions to second harmonic generation and the use of polarization modulation Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to elucidate surface and interfacial structures and to study interfacial electron transfer. His recent work includes DNA self-assembly and DNA computing on carefully tailored surfaces.

Corn received a B.S. in chemistry from UC San Diego in 1978 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1983.

The Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh presented the 2007 Pittsburgh Analytical Chemistry Award to Jonathan V. Sweedler, William H. & Janet Lycan Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, for his work in bioanalytical chemistry. His work focuses on developing new methods for assaying small-volume samples and applying these methods to study novel neurochemistry.

Sweedler received a B.S. in chemistry in 1983 from UC Davis and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Arizona in 1988.

He and his group are developing new sampling methods interfaced to capillary-scale separations, nanoliter-volume nuclear magnetic resonance, single-cell mass spectrometry, information-rich spectroscopic detectors for capillary-scale separations, and hybrid nanofluidic/microfluidic devices for neuronal sampling. He is investigating the roles that peptide hormones, neurotransmitters, and neuromodulatory agents play in behavior, learning, and memory.

D. Bruce Chase, a senior research fellow in the Corporate Center for Analytical Sciences at DuPont, received the 2007 Maurice F. Hasler Award from the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh for his contributions to the field of vibrational spectroscopy.

Chase was one of the developers of near-infrared Fourier transform Raman spectroscopy and is an authority in the use of FT vibrational spectroscopy in industrial analytical applications. His work in applying complex vibrational spectroscopies to polymer dynamics and materials science remains a gold standard in the field. His current research is on near-field Raman spectroscopy and the development of focal-plane array detectors for mid-IR spectrometers.

Chase received B.A. degrees in mathematics and chemistry from Williams College in 1970 and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Princeton University in 1975.

Christopher T. Culbertson, assistant professor of chemistry at Kansas State University, received the 2007 Analytical Chemistry Award for Young Investigators in Separation Science.

His research has focused on improving separations performed on polydimethylsiloxane-based microfluidic devices by using a variety of sol-gel techniques. He has used these techniques to coat channels and to form structures capable of preconcentrating analytes. Recently, he has been tackling the problems associated with sampling, separating, and identifying a variety of proteins produced by or secreted in small amounts by parasitic insects.

Culbertson received a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1996 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He joined the department of chemistry at Kansas State in 2002.

The 2007 Bomem-Michelson Award, presented by the Coblentz Society, went to David F. Bocian, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Riverside.

Bocian's research focuses on spectroscopic (vibrational, electronic, and magnetic) and electrochemical studies of tetrapyrrolic systems with applications toward biological and materials chemistry. He also is conducting research on heme and photosynthetic proteins; synthetic light-harvesting arrays; molecular photonic devices; electrically addressable molecular-based memories; and light-mediated diagnostics, imaging, and therapy.

He received a B.S. in chemistry from North Carolina State University in 1972 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1976.

Bocian cofounded three start-up companies: ZettaCore, SolarAmp, and NIRvana Pharmaceuticals.

George S. Wilson, Higuchi Distinguished Professor of Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Kansas, received the 2007 Charles N. Reilley Award in Electroanalytical Chemistry from the Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry.

Wilson is internationally recognized for his pioneering work in bioelectroanalytical chemistry; he has made significant contributions to the theory, instrumentation, and applications of electroanalysis. He developed a sensitive electrochemical immunoassay and enzyme-based sensors, as well as having pioneered much of the work on in vivo subcutaneous sensors for monitoring glucose in blood. His current research includes redox biochemistry, in vivo measurements with biosensors, analysis of chromosome structure, and development of analytical reagents based on biological recognition.

Wilson received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1961 and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1965.

The Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry presented the 2007 Young Investigator Award to Mary Elizabeth (Beth) Williams, assistant professor of chemistry at Pennsylvania State University. Williams' research interests include the study of artificial oligopeptide scaffolds linked by metal ions; the metal binding of artificial oligopeptides for designer bioaffinity and reactivity; synthesis of chemically functional inorganic nanoparticles whose transport may be manipulated and controlled via their magnetic properties; and visualizing, patterning, and directing motor proteins with nanoparticles.

She received a B.A. in chemistry from St. John Fisher College, in Rochester, N.Y., in 1994 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1999. She joined Penn State in 2002.

John W. Dolan, a partner in LC Resources, a company founded to train chromatographers around the world, received the 2007 Dal Nogare Award from the Chromatography Forum of Delaware Valley for his dedication to the research and teaching of liquid chromatography; Dolan has instructed more than 10,000 students in LC.

Dolan received a Ph.D. from UC Davis in 1976. He established LC Resources in 1984 with partner Lloyd Snyder to develop software, services, and training for high-performance LC method development and implementation. In 1988, Dolan helped establish a laboratory that specializes in the development, validation, and use of LC-MS or MS methods to determine pharmaceutical compounds in biological matrices.

Shana O. Kelley, professor of biochemistry and pharmacy at the University of Toronto, received the 2007 Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award from the Pittsburgh Conference and the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh.

Kelley received a Ph.D. in chemistry from California Institute of Technology in 1999. Her current research is on developing new nanoscale sensors for disease diagnosis. In 2001, Kelley cofounded GeneOhm Sciences, a company devoted to developing new clinical diagnostics.

The Pittsburgh Conference and the Chemical Heritage Foundation presented the 2007 Pittcon Heritage Award to David Schwartz, chairman of Bio-Rad Laboratories.

Schwartz and his wife, Alice, cofounded Bio-Rad in 1952. The company has evolved into a global enterprise, manufacturing and distributing a broad range of products for the life sciences research and clinical diagnostics markets.

Today, Bio-Rad is internationally renowned among hospitals, universities, and major research institutions, as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

Norman J. Dovichi, Endowed Professor of Chemistry at the University of Washington, Seattle, received the 2007 Ralph N. Adams Award in Bioanalytical Chemistry from the Pittsburgh Conference and Friends of Ralph N. Adams for his research and innovation in the field of bioanalytical chemistry.

Dovichi's group is developing tools to study the proteome by using two-dimensional capillary electrophoresis and laser-induced fluorescence. Their long-term goal is to study protein expression in single cells and to determine how protein expression changes across a cellular population during cancer progression and embryo development.

Dovichi received B.S. degrees in chemistry and mathematics from Northern Illinois University in 1976 and a Ph.D. in physical analytical chemistry from the University of Utah in 1980.

Gerard M. Downey, of Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture & Food Development Authority, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, received the 2007 Tomas B. Hirschfeld Award from the International Committee for Near-Infrared Spectroscopy for his application of near-IR spectroscopy to the qualitative analysis of foodstuffs.

He began his research into the application of near-IR spectroscopy 20 years ago and was responsible for introducing the technique into the Irish grain trade. He continues to be responsible for national monitoring of the technique used by grain merchants at harvest time. During the past 15 years, he has extended the use of near-IR spectroscopy to qualitative analysis of foodstuffs in general.

Downey received a D.Sc. from Queen's University Belfast in 2005.

Michael Carrabba, director of Hach Homeland Security Technologies Air Systems Division, received the 2007 Williams Wright Award from the Coblentz Society for his use of spectroscopy to detect biological hazards.

Carrabba received a B.S. in chemistry from Salem State College, in Massachusetts, in 1981 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Tufts University in 1985. He then joined EIC Laboratories, where he conducted a variety of research programs, including photoelectrochemical etching of semiconductors, fiber-optic chemical sensors, and state-of-the-art Raman spectroscopy. He also introduced the use of holographic filters for Raman spectroscopy and developed numerous types of Raman instrumentation and techniques.

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