Chemistry and chemical biology Professor Ryan Baxter recently became the campus’s 22nd recipient of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) prestigious early CAREER awards for untenured faculty.
The $647,000 he received from NSF will mostly go toward paying student research assistants and purchasing supplies to help advance his lab’s work developing new strategies for initiating radical chemical reactions to engineer mild experimental protocols.
“Many of the structures that can be accessed via radical chemistry are found in drugs, vitamins, materials and polymers, so new strategies for radical initiation might have positive effects on many scientific fields that directly benefit society,” said Baxter, who joined the School of Natural Sciences five years ago.
Baxter will use the results of the studies he and his lab conduct to develop educational materials for undergraduate organic chemistry laboratory and lecture courses that can be made available to educators across the nation.
“We focus on developing new reactions that are very user-friendly and do not require special techniques or equipment to perform,” Baxter explained. “Hopefully people in all sorts of chemical disciplines can use our chemistry to make a variety of things — including things we couldn't have thought of ourselves.”
Professor Anne Myers Kelley, chair of the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department, praised Baxter for building “a very strong and innovative research program in organic chemistry here at UC Merced.
“He is also proving to be a skillful and effective instructor. I am very pleased to see his work supported by the CAREER program, which is intended to recognize faculty who excel as both researchers and educators,” she said.
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