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Charles A. Panetta

by Susan J. Ainsworth
March 4, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 9

Charles A. Panetta, 80, a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Mississippi, died on Sept. 23, 2012.

Born in Albany, N.Y., Panetta earned a B.S. in biology from Manhattan College in New York City in 1954 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1961.

He then moved to Syracuse, N.Y., to work for Bristol-Myers, where he helped develop the antibiotic drug ampicillin. After conducting postdoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1965 until 1967, he joined the University of Mississippi chemistry department as an assistant professor. Panetta rose quickly through the academic ranks and was appointed Margaret McLean Coulter Professor, a title he held until his retirement in 1999.

Panetta held three patents and was the author or coauthor of 60 publications, including a series of papers on the interactions of small peptides with aldehydes and ketones.

In his research, Panetta also focused on the synthesis of donor-σ-acceptor molecules capable of making monolayers. He built monolayers that were among the first materials shown to be capable of rectification of electricity at the molecular scale.

Panetta was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1956.

He was an avid bicyclist and gardener, and he loved classical music and opera.

Panetta is survived by his wife, Alicia; sons, Lawrence and John; and four grandchildren.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at ­ and should include an educational and professional history.


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