Department of Chemistry News

June 30, 2020

Munira Khalil named next Chair of the Department of Chemistry

We are delighted to announce Professor Munira Khalil as the new chair of the Department of Chemistry, as of July 1, 2020.

The College of Arts & Sciences identified Professor Khalil through a standard process, in which three senior faculty members—one from Chemistry and two from other Natural Sciences units—were charged with conducting a review and making a recommendation as to the best candidates for the role. The committee met with numerous Chemistry faculty and personnel during the winter in order to assemble and provide their recommendation to the Dean and the Divisional Dean for Natural Sciences. Professor Khalil came highly recommended for this administrative role, and the Department and the College are grateful that she agreed to serve in this capacity.

Professor Khalil launched her independent program at the University of Washington in 2007, after earning her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and conducting postdoctoral research as a Miller Research Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Professor Khalil is an experimental physical chemist who uses advanced spectroscopic techniques to investigate the structural dynamics of molecules and materials on the femtosecond (10-15 s) timescale. The fundamental understanding of coupled vibrational and electronic motions revealed by experiments performed by the Khalil research group holds implications for the design of new materials and molecular devices. To learn more about Professor Khalil and her research program, please visit her faculty page and her research group website.

Professor Khalil’s scholarship and professional accomplishments have been broadly recognized by the scientific community through honors such as a Dreyfus New Faculty Award, Packard Fellowship in Science & Engineering, NSF CAREER Award, Sloan Research Fellowship, and as a Camille-Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. A previous Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, she delivered the 2014 ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry Lectureship, and she became a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2017. As of July 1, 2020, she is the Chair of the Department of Chemistry as well as the Leon C. Johnson Professor of Chemistry.

The Department would like to thank D. Michael Heinekey for his service as Professor and Chair over the last five years. Professor Heinekey joined the University of Washington in 1992, and  previously served as Associate Chair for Undergraduate Education and Associate Chair for Graduate Education. He became Emeritus Professor of Chemistry effective July 1, and we are confident that he will enjoy the comparably lower administrative burden of retirement while living with his family in Victoria, British Columbia.