The National Science Foundation has named Assistant Professor Severin Schneebeli the recipient of a CAREER award for Ribosome-Inspired Synthesis of Precision Polymers.

The five-year grant, which starts July 1, will give Dr. Schneebeli the opportunity to imitate the natural assembly-line approach to create well-defined polymeric materials. The artificial molecular assembly lines are created by connecting a catalyst to the polymers with rings that slide along the growing chains. The catalyst adds individual building blocks to the growing polymers one by one.

While this research focuses on enabling and understanding artificial molecular assembly lines, the well-defined polymers created may ultimately be useful materials for a variety of important applications. His research will enable new polymerization mechanisms that could ultimately result in molecular assembly lines for sequence-defined, pi-conjugated polymers.

In addition, the award will allow Dr. Schneebeli to engage K-12 students in polymer chemistry at ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington and at local high schools. He is inventing interactive dynamic models that will help students discover key aspects of polymer growth.

Dr. Schneebeli’s areas of expertise include organic synthesis, supramolecular chemistry, polymer chemistry, and theoretical/computational chemistry.

The CAREER Award is the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award in support of junior faculty. The awards are given to outstanding scientists who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research, education, and the integration of education and research.

The award comes with a federal grant for research and education activities for five consecutive years. The National Science Foundation grants the awards annually. The reviewing, award, and selection process is one of the most competitive within the NSF.

Previous recipients of the CAREER award from the UVM Chemistry Department include UVM Professor Matthias Brewer and Professor Rory Waterman.




Erica Houskeeper