This lectureship was established in 2008 in honor of Professor Riley Schaeffer through contributions from UNM faculty, past students of Professor Schaeffer at Indiana University and UNM and friends and external colleagues.
Professor Schaeffer began his academic career at Iowa State University in 1952 as an Assistant Professor and he became Associate Professor with tenure in 1956. In 1958 he was recruited to join the faculty at Indiana University where he became Professor in 1962. After a highly productive career at IU, including a stint as Departmental Chair, 1967-1972, he accepted the position of Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Wyoming in 1976. He was recruited from that position to UNM where he served as Department of Chemistry Chair from 1981-1987 and he retired from UNM in 1992. Under his able leadership as Chair, Prof. Schaeffer guided the hiring and mentoring of a number of new faculty who have gone on to highly productive careers. Professor Schaeffer has also had a distinguished research record that includes critical discoveries in the synthesis, reactivity and structure analysis, via x-ray diffraction and NMR methods, of boron hydrides and carboranes. Professor Schaeffer received numerous honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship; he is an AAAS Fellow and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Britain.
Thomas J. Meyer rejoined the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as Arey Professor of Chemistry on July 1, 2005. He is Director of the UNC Energy Frontier Research Center on Solar Fuels. In 2000 he was named Associate Director for Strategic Research at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. In that position, he oversaw research in support of nuclear weapons, threat reduction, and energy and environmental programs and was the LANL lead for economic development, intellectual property, and DOE programs in Science, Energy Efficiency and Renewables, and Nuclear Energy. He also served as the LANL liaison in these areas to the US Department of Energy and to the US Congress. From 1994 to 1999, he was Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research at UNC-CH where he oversaw a graduate and professional student program of over 8000 students and a research portfolio of > $300 million. He led planning efforts that resulted in campus wide initiatives in genomics and bioinformatics, Arts Carolina, The Center for the Study of the American South, and others. As a UNC liaison with the North Carolina Legislature he initiated efforts that led to $12 M in enhanced graduate tuition student support, return of overhead to the campuses from the NC General Fund, and initiated planning for construction that ultimately led to a bond issue passed by the citizens of North Carolina in 2000.
After receiving a BS from Ohio University in 1963 Meyer received a Ph.D. from Stanford in 1966 with Henry Taube, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1983, as his research mentor. He was a NATO postdoctoral fellow at University College, London in 1967 with Sir Ronald Nyholm, joined the faculty at UNC in 1968, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1972, Full Professor in 1975, Smith Professor in 1982 and Kenan Professor in 1987. He was the Head of Chemistry from 1985 to 1990, Chair of the Curriculum in Applied Sciences from 1991 to 1994 and Vice Chancellor/Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Research from 1994 to 1999. He served on the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology, the Executive Committees of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Research Triangle Institute, the Triangle University Center for Advanced Study Inc., and on the Board of Associated Universities Inc. He has served on the Boards of the Mind Institute, the International Informatics Society, the National Center for Genome Research, the Coronado Ventures Forum, the Science and Technology External Advisory Committee for Sandia National Laboratory and the Commission on Higher Education for the State of New Mexico and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion (Colorado). He was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for service to the State of North Carolina in 1999, the Porter Medal in 2012, the Honda-Fujishima Lectureship Award in 2013, and most recently the 2014 Samson Prime Minister's Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels for Transportation.
Meyer is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has won many prizes for chemical research. His research has been notable for pioneering, innovative discoveries in chemical reactivity and applications to important problems in chemistry and energy conversion. This includes the first examples of: excited state electron transfer with implications for energy conversion (with D.G. Whitten, 1974), excited state electron transfer in a chromophore-quencher assembly (1978), polypyridyl Ru oxo complexes (1978), discovery of proton coupled electron transfer (PCET, 1981), vinyl polymerization of metal complexes (with R.W. Murray, 1981) molecular catalyst for water oxidation (1982), application of the energy gap law to metal complex excited states (1982), chemical approaches to artificial photosynthesis (1989), first interfacial catalyst for CO2 reduction (1989), Dye Sensitized Photoelectrosyntheis Cells (DSPEC, 1999), experimental elucidation of the localized-to-delocalized transition in mixed-valence molecules (2001), Modular Approach to Artificial Photosynthesis (2005), first characterized solution and interfacial single-site catalysts for water oxidation (2008-2010), and a working DSPEC for solar water splitting (2013). He has published over 700 papers, holds five patents, and is one of the most highly cited chemists in the world.
Professor Marcetta Y. Darensbourg is a native of Kentucky, USA, with a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Following academic posts at Vassar College and Tulane University, she joined the faculty at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, in 1982. She holds the title ofDistinguished Professor of Chemistry. Trained as an organometallic chemist and with earlier research programs in low valent transition metal hydrides, the possibility of metal hydrides in nature, specifically as intermediates in hydrogenase metalloenzymes lured her into the new field of bioorganometallic chemistry. She has been a leader in the development of synthetic analogues of the diiron hydrogenase active site and the insight they bring to the catalytic mechanism of these natural fuel cell catalysts.
The inaugural R. Schaeffer Lecture was presented by Professor Carlos J. Bustamante of the Departments of Chemistry, Physics and Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley on October 31, 2008. Professor Bustamante was the first Assistant Professor hired by Professor Schaeffer when he joined the UNM Chemistry Department as Chairperson in 1981. The title of Professor Bustamante's lecture was "Grabbing the Cat by the Tail: Following the Packaging of DNA by a Tailored Phage, One Virus at a Time." A colorful pictorial representation of the process is shown here.
Carlos Bustamante received a B.S. degree from Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, Peru, a Masters in Biochemistry from San Marcos University, and a Ph.D. in Biophysics in 1981 from the University of California, Berkeley. His first academic appointment was as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of New Mexico beginning August, 1982.
He was awarded a Searle-Scholarship in 1984 and he received an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in 1985. He was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 1986. In 1986 he was appointed as a UNM Presidential Lecturer, and in 1989 he was named a State of New Mexico Eminent Scholar and promoted to the rank of Professor. In 1991 he joined the faculty at the University of Oregon as Professor of Chemistry. Since 1994, Dr. Bustamante has held an appointment as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. In 1998, he became the director for the Advanced Microscopies Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a Professor of Physics, Chemistry, and Molecular & Cell Biology at UC Berkeley.
His research interests include single molecule manipulation methods and their application for the investigation of various biochemical processes: torque measurements on single DNA molecules, reversible folding of single RNA and protein molecules by force, and the mechanochemistry of nucleic-acid binding molecular motors.
He was nominated as America's Best in Time magazine (2001), received the Biological Physics Prize of the American Physical Society (2002), and accepted the Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics from the National Academy of Science (2004). He also received the Hans Neurath Prize of the Protein Society (2004), the Richtmyer Memorial Lecture Award by the American Association of Physics Teachers (2005), and an Honorary Doctorate (Honoris Causa) from the University of Chicago (2005).
Dr. Bustamante has given well over 400 presentations and lectures and has published over 200 papers in several journals such as PNAS, Nature, Science, and Cell. He has served as a member of the Science Advisory Board of the Searle Scholars Program and he is currently a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has also served in the Science Advisory Committee of the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, and is on their Board of Directors. Dr. Bustamante holds several other advisory roles within the University of California, Berkeley and the larger scientific community.