Christine Thomas to receive Strage Award

Assistant chemistry professor calls her work 21st-century alchemy


Photo/Mike Lovett

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Christine Thomas will receive the 14th-annual Alberta Gotthardt and Henry Strage Award for Aspiring Young Science Faculty.

The Award lecture and ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, in Gerstenzang 123 on the Brandeis campus. Thomas’ lecture is entitled  "21st Century Alchemy: Design of bimetallic systems to access novel synthetic transformations."

Thomas is a transition metal chemist, studying the fundamental design of catalysts for chemical transformations with applications in a wide range of fields including green chemistry, sustainable energy and environmental remediation.

She describes her lab’s work as 21st-century alchemy, using multi-electron processes to transform molecules that are naturally abundant in the environment into cleaner more sustainable fuels. One example is carbon dioxide, which is produced by humans and fossil fuel consumption, and which might be a source of sustainable energy.

“Nature has figured out how to do these basic transformations very efficiently. We are trying to figure out how to replicate them through chemistry to solve a wide variety of problems,” she says.

Thomas joined the Brandeis faculty in 2008 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Texas A&M University. She earned her Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology. Thomas is also a 2011 Alfred B. Sloan Fellow and a 2012 National Science Foundation CAREER awardee. She also received the 2012 Michael L. Walzer ’56 Award for Excellence in Teaching at Brandeis.

The Strage Award is presented annually to a distinguished junior faculty member. Brandeis alumna Alberta Gotthardt ‘56 and Henry Strage of London, England, created the award for researchers who have not yet received tenure but have made outstanding scientific contributions in the early stages of their independent research programs.

Categories: Research, Science and Technology

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