A Message from the Chair
ur students have again arrived for fall semester, and the campus pulse quickens after a relatively calm summer of research and preparation. We always take delight in the seasonal changes that take place at ASU, but fall is special. There are fresh expectations and new relationships to form. Now at the middle of the semester, the department has hit its stride and we look forward to Homecoming and the greeting of old and new friends. To be sure, we want to brag about all of the accomplishments of the department and its members Ė but we also look forward to hearing from our alumni and friends. Please let us know either by mail or voice messages.
We would be particularly pleased if you can find time to meet us at our annual Homecoming Reception to be held on Thursday October 25th at the University Club on the ASU campus. Details are given elsewhere in this newsletter. At the Homecoming Reception, we will make special note of the major transitions of faculty, staff and alumni. We will celebrate promotions, the new arrivals, and retirements. I expect that we will also find the opportunity to roast, in a good-natured way, some of our favorite individuals.
The department continues on a very strong trajectory of growth. Undergraduate majors now number 795 reflecting a doubling in size in the last four years (393 majors in fall 2003). This is heavily driven by the huge interest in the biosciences and, in particular, to our newly established concentration in medicinal chemistry. Launched three years ago in fall 2004, our medicinal chemistry program now boasts 250 majors, confirming what we were seeing as an untapped need in our academic offerings. This fall we introduced both an accelerated B.S./M.S. and M.S. degree programs in Biochemistry with an Emphasis in Medicinal Chemistry, which we hope will find similar attraction to bright and ambitious students. In the not too distant future, we can anticipate establishing joint Ph.D./M.D. programs with the medical school that is now developing in downtown Phoenix at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix in collaboration with Arizona State University.
The departmentís other areas of excellence remain strong. These include photosynthesis and bioenergy, physical and materials chemistry, new innovations in analytical chemistry, and environmental and geo chemistry. Research expenditures are now about $10M per year, which places us 28th nationally in the National Science Foundationís latest assessment of the top 100 chemistry departments in the U.S. (2002-2005). In large part, our research strength is due to the excellence of our 148 graduate students and 25+ postdoctoral research associates.
Our faculty now number 50, which include 44 tenured/tenure track faculty, 5 lecturers and 1 clinical professor and continues to grow. Since fall 2006 we have added Drs. Anne Jones, Yan Liu, Arjan van der Vaart, Andrew Chizmeshya and Kirstin Hendrickson-Magee to the faculty, and we are looking forward to the arrival of at least one more faculty member in January.
The department finds itself central to many university-wide initiatives including the Biodesign Institute, the Global Institute of Sustainability and the School of Sustainability. The department has formed critical collaborations with the Department of Physics on nanotechnology, the School of Life Sciences on many areas of bioscience, the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the newly established School of Materials. The science and creativity to be found in chemistry and biochemistry is essential for the success of many of these enterprises, which is why most of our faculty are found in collaborations that cut across department, school and college boundaries. To be sure, we are energized by these connections and the central roles that we are playing. Please visit our web site at http://chemistry.asu.edu or contact me (480-965-4430 or WPetuskey@asu.edu) to learn about what we are doing. Better yet, please come to our Homecoming Reception on October 25th.
With best regards,
Chair and Professor
Chemistry and Biochemistry