Students Win Green Chemistry Award | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: July 9, 2007

Students Win Green Chemistry Award

Hancock Award goes to Arani Chanda and Jennifer Haghpanah
Department: ACS News | Collection: Green Chemistry
Haghpanah (left) and Chanda receive their awards.
Credit: Steve Ritter/C&EN
Haghpanah (left) and Chanda receive their awards.
Credit: Steve Ritter/C&EN

Two Ph.D. students received the 2007 Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Student Award in Green Chemistry on June 26 during the 12th annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

The winners are Arani Chanda, who recently received a Ph.D in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and will begin a research associate position at Scripps Research Institute under the direction of K. Barry Sharpless and Valery Fokin, and Jennifer S. Haghpanah, who graduated from Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Conn., with a bachelor???s degree in both chemistry and math and is now a first-year Ph.D. student in the lab of Jin Kim Montclare at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn.

Chanda was selected for his work on the applications and mechanisms of action of iron tetraamido macrocyclic ligand (Fe-TAML) activators of peroxides. Fe-TAMLs are highly effective small-molecule mimics of the peroxidase enzymes that activate peroxides and dioxygen. They offer cleaner and safer methods for a number of industrial processes, including wastewater treatment, chemical decontamination, pulp and paper bleaching, disinfection, and laundry applications.

Chanda, who says he has been attending the green chemistry conference for the past five years, says that winning the award has been a "dream come true." The American Chemical Society Division of Environmental Chemistry, as well as the National Institute of Standards & Technology, sponsors the Hancock Award.

Haghpanah was selected for her proposal to investigate deacetylation of polyvinyl acetate using cutinase enzymes. Cutinases are hydrolytic enzymes produced by pathogenic fungi. Deacetylation can be used to remove adhesives from textiles and paper, forming water-soluble copolymers that are biodegradable. The aim of Haghpanah???s proposed research is to understand the structure-activity relationship of cutinases for new applications in polymer technology.

"This award recognizes excellence in green chemistry by undergraduate and graduate students," said Madeleine Jacobs, executive director and CEO of ACS, during the program. "Green chemistry education is critical to the adoption of cleaner products and processes, and faculty members and research advisers play a central role by instilling an environmental ethic in their students."

The Hancock Award honors the outstanding contributions of the late Kenneth G. Hancock, who was a pioneer in green chemistry. As director of the Chemistry Division at the National Science Foundation, Hancock emphasized the role of chemists and chemistry in avoiding environmental problems through the adoption of benign chemical synthesis and processing.

Hancock also developed the Environmentally Benign Chemical Synthesis & Processing Initiative, aimed at reducing chemical pollution at its source. And in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency???s Green Chemistry program, he established a joint research program that has been funding green chemistry research for a decade.

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