Munira Khalil joins faculty as Assistant Professor

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Munira Khalil as a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Khalil earned her Ph.D. in 2004 from the Masssachusetts Institute of Technology under Professor Andrei Tokmakoff, a pioneer in the field of two-dimensional (2D) infrared spectroscopy. Dr. Khalil’s graduate work resulted in her receiving a Lester Wolfe Graduate Fellowship and established her as one of the best young spectroscopists in her field. She was then the recipient of a highly competitive Miller Research Fellowship to support her postdoctoral research at the University of California-Berkeley with Professor Stephen Leone.

Dr. Khalil’s research program aims to understand the ultrafast structural dynamics of light-driven chemical and biological processes in solution. For more information about her research program, please visit her faculty page or contact her directly at

Munira Khalil receives Dreyfus New Faculty Award

Assistant Professor Munira Khalil received a 2007 Dreyfus New Faculty Award from The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. The Dreyfus Foundation was created with the mission to “advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances,” and the organization has created several awards for academics in the chemical sciences. Dreyfus New Faculty Awards help to initiate the independent research programs of new faculty in Ph.D.-granting departments with an unrestricted research grant of $50,000 over five years that is generally approved before the new faculty members formally begin their first tenure-track appointments.

Khalil received her Dreyfus New Faculty Award for her project, “Mapping vibrational phase and energy relaxation during photoinduced electron transfer processes using femtosecond two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy.” Khalil joined the UW Department of Chemistry in September 2007.

For more information about the Dreyfus New Faculty Award program, please see the program website.

For information about Munira Khalil and her research program, please visit her faculty page.

Rob Synovec appointed CPAC Faculty Director

Robert Synovec, Professor and Associate Chair of the Graduate Program, has been named as the Faculty Director for the Center for Process Analytical Chemistry (CPAC). Founding Faculty Director Emeritus Professor Bruce Kowalski has called Synovec the “ideal choice” because of the quality of his research program, his commitment to CPAC, and his deep historical knowledge of the organization.

Synovec intends to maintain CPAC’s unifying vision to develop analytical strategies and tools to measure, control, and more fully understand chemical processes in order to foster environmental and economic sustainability. He proposes an increased focus on bio-related arenas including biotechnology (proteomics, metabolomics, bioprocesses), biofuels, and medical technology. The interdisciplinary nature of CPAC, a key facet of the organization in the past, will continue to be emphasized. As Faculty Director, Synovec will work closely with CPAC Executive Director Mel Koch to create a bright future for the organization.

For more information about Rob Synovec and his research, please visit his faculty page or research group website.

For more information about the Center for Process Analytical Chemistry (CPAC), please visit the CPAC website.

Rob Synovec succeeds Heinekey as Associate Chair for Graduate Studies

After a decade of exemplary service first in the role of Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies and subsequently as Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, Professor D. Michael Heinekey has chosen to step down from the latter position. Professor Robert Synovec has been named as the new Associate Chair for Graduate Studies.

Our educational programs in Chemistry have flourished under the leadership of Heinekey, and the Department is extremely grateful for all of his hard work. Heinekey, whose research focuses on transition metal organometallic chemistry, now plans to focus all of his energy on his work as a primary investigator for the new Center for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis (CENTC).

Synovec has been a faculty member in the Department for over twenty years, whose research is in the area of separation science. Synovec brings substantial experience in both mentoring graduate student thesis projects and in the management of our graduate program. We are fortunate that he has agreed to take on this important role, and greatly appreciate his commitment to our educational mission.

For more information about our graduate program, please visit our page on general graduate student information, or our page specifically for prospective graduate students.

For more information about Mike Heinekey and his research, please visit his faculty page.

For more information about Rob Synovec and his research, please visit his faculty page or research group website.

Daniel Chiu receives Life Sciences Discovery Fund Grant

Professor Daniel Chiu received a 2007 Life Sciences Discovery Fund Grant. The Life Sciences Discovery Fund was established in 2005 to support “innovative research in Washington State to promote life sciences competitiveness, enhance economic vitality, and improve health and health care.”

Chiu was one of six to receive the first-ever grants awarded by the LSDF. His $760,000 grant will be used to continue his project, “monitoring breast cancer metastasis and treatment efficacy.” Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in Washington. The research in this study is aimed at monitoring circulating tumor cells and tumor DNA in patient blood using a chip-based device, with the goal of developing a low-cost method for monitoring breast cancer prognosis, treatment efficacy, and early diagnosis.

For more information about Daniel Chiu and his research, please visit his faculty page or his research group website.