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Texas Tech Professor Receives NSF Career Grant

Professor Michael Mayer's research focuses on developing new, more flexible plastic materials.

Written by Leslie Cranford

Michael Mayer is an assistant professor of organic chemistry at Texas Tech University.

Michael Mayer is an assistant professor of organic chemistry at Texas Tech University. View his expert profile in our Online Experts Guide.

A Texas Tech University professor has been awarded a Career Grant from the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation.

Michael Mayer, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will receive $546,784 for his project “Preparation of Materials Composed of Mechanically Interlocked Nanoscale Species.” The five-year grant begins Aug. 1.

Research goals of the project involve the production and study of materials that are held together, at the molecular level, by well-defined molecular entanglements.

“Just as an animal on a leash can be expected to be limited in its behavior, so too with molecules – the fundamentally minimal building blocks of organic materials, when they are entangled,” Mayer said. “In this project we are developing new and better ways to literally tie together both small molecules and even large polymers, looking for outcomes like new flexibility, viscosity and elasticity.”

Bob Smith, Texas Tech’s provost, said Career Awards, especially from the NSF, are extremely competitive and prestigious.

“Such awards also have the potential to affect an individual’s career in an extremely positive way,” Smith said. “Thus, we are so delighted by Dr. Mayer’s success. And, we know that his success will also reflect very favorably on Texas Tech.”

The well-known and relatively high-profile award lends a certain level of credibility to his research program, Mayer said, and can be used to leverage his individual research program as well the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s program to qualify for additional resources.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences.  The department offers 6 degree programs including a masters and doctorate in chemistry.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences offers six degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
  • Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry
  • Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry
  • Master of Science in Chemistry
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry

Students seeking graduate degrees may specialize in the traditional fields of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as many interdisciplinary areas including analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, or theoretical chemistry; chemical education; chemical physics; or biochemistry.