UW Chemistry to establish a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship thanks to $12 million commitment from professor emeritus Larry Dalton and Nicole Boand

Building upon a long legacy of supporting scientific innovation and education, professor emeritus Larry Dalton and his wife, Nicole Boand, have committed $12 million to the UW Department of Chemistry. The majority of the gift will go to establish the Dalton Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chemistry — a postdoctoral fellowship similar to those at the nation’s most prestigious research institutions like Berkeley and Harvard.

One of only a handful of similarly funded fellowships at public universities across the United States, this fellowship will support researchers in the postdoctoral phase of their training. This is a formative and productive time for early-career scientists as they work to obtain research experience and publications to qualify them for full-time, tenure-track faculty positions. These promising scientists often play a critical role in accelerating fundamental research into real-world applications, as they are able to focus 100 percent on the research challenges before them.

“This postdoctoral fellowship will enable the Department of Chemistry to attract and support the brightest early-career scientists from across the nation, ensuring that the UW is a leader in next-generation research in the chemical sciences,” said Michael Heinekey, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry. “This gift will help to elevate our department to the level of top chemistry departments around the world.”

Building on past gifts to the department, this gift will also fund two endowed chairs to help the department recruit and retain top researchers. One chair will be named for Boand’s parents and the other named for Alvin Kwiram, UW professor emeritus of chemistry and vice provost emeritus for research. Additionally, the gift will create an endowed departmental support fund to ensure the department has flexible and reliable resources to respond to opportunities as they arise.

Dalton and Boand’s most recent investment in the Department of Chemistry serves to underscore and amplify their legacy of impact at the UW. Over the years, they have established two endowed professorships in chemistry and two endowed chairs. These endowments have provided meaningful research support to the six faculty members who have held them, and to the numerous undergraduate and graduate students working alongside those faculty.

“Larry Dalton has already made a phenomenal impact at the University of Washington, and to have a faculty member add to such a legacy by demonstrating this level of dedication to his field and to future generations of students and professors in the UW’s chemistry department is truly remarkable,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said. “I am profoundly thankful for this commitment from Larry and Nicole, which will honor his work and support innovation at the UW for years to come.”

This gift follows Dalton’s decades of research in photonics and nonlinear optics. He joined the UW Department of Chemistry in 1998. In 2000, Dalton and his collaborators published a foundational paper in Science, which laid the groundwork for innovations in opto-electronics, with major implications for telecommunications, sensor technology and information technology. Dalton went on to found Lumera Corp. — now part of GigPeak — to develop and manufacture opto-electronic devices. His research was instrumental in securing a major grant from the National Science Foundation to launch the Center for Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research at the UW, which was foundational for what would become the UW Clean Energy Institute.

During his nearly 20 years in the Department of Chemistry, Dalton invested his time, energy and resources to support students and burgeoning researchers. Both he and Boand have shown through their philanthropy a deep commitment to the next generation of science and scientists. The Dalton Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chemistry, along with the newly endowed chairs and other departmental support, is a culminating expression of that commitment.

“We make this current contribution in the hope and belief that it will promote recruitment and retention of the best and brightest researchers and educators in STEM fields to the University of Washington,” said Dalton. “Nicole and I appreciate the critical impact that STEM research has made and is making to the economy and well-being of Washington and the nation, and to the importance of quality education which assures continuation of this broader impact of STEM research.”

Karen Goldberg named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Karen Goldberg, Professor and Nicole A. Boand Endowed Chair in Chemistry, joins 228 new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year. “It is an honor to welcome this new class of exceptional women and men as part of our distinguished membership,” said Don Randel, chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “Their talents and expertise will enrich the life of the Academy and strengthen our capacity to spread knowledge and understanding in service to the nation.”

Goldberg’s research focuses on designing more efficient catalysts. Better catalysts can transform industrial production methods for everything from pharmaceuticals to construction materials. Goldberg’s approach is to gather detailed data on the mechanisms by which certain chemical reactions occur and synthesize the desired products. This information is crucial to help develop catalysts that are more precise in the types of chemical products they yield, and more efficient and sustainable in terms of the amount of materials and energy used.

Goldberg also serves as director of the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis, a consortium of 20 faculty members and research labs at more than a dozen universities and research institutions that are pursuing innovative approaches to catalysis. Goldberg is a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2016 received the American Chemical Society Award in Organometallic Chemistry.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and  Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world. Current research focuses on higher education, the humanities, and the arts; science and technology policy; global security and energy; and American institutions and the public good.

Members of the 2017 class include winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Wolf Prize; MacArthur fellows; Fields medalists; Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts recipients; and Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award winners. A full list can be found here.

Michael Gelb receives the 2017 University Faculty Lecture Award

The University of Washington has selected Michael Gelb, Professor and Boris and Barbara L. Weinstein Endowed Chair in Chemistry, as the 2017 recipient of the University Faculty Lecture Award. The award will be presented at the 47th Annual Awards of Excellence ceremony on June 8 in Meany Hall.

Since 1976, the University Faculty Lecture Award has honored current or emeritus faculty whose research, scholarship, or art has been widely recognized by their peers and whose achievements have had a substantial impact on their profession, on the research or performance of others, and perhaps on society as a whole, acknowledging outstanding creativity and scholarship by University faculty.

Professor Gelb will deliver the annual University Faculty Lecture during the 2017-18 academic year, scheduled for January 23, 2018 at 7:00 pm at Kane Hall. (Further details will appear on both the University and Department websites.)

To learn more about Professor Gelb and his research, please visit his faculty page and research group website.