The American Chemical Society
has named UT Arlington chemistry and biochemistry professor Daniel Armstrong to
its 2013 Class of Fellows, recognizing his innovative achievements in the lab as
well as his effective, engaging outreach projects.
Armstrong, UT Arlington’s Robert
A. Welch Chair in Chemistry, has authored more than 550 publications, including
29 book chapters and one book, and holds 20 U.S. patents. His development of new methods
for separating chemical mixtures in solution or as gas has led to advances in
realms of science essential to pharmaceutical drug development and disease
identification and treatment. For example, he is considered the “father” of
pseudophase separations, a type of liquid chromatography that provides higher
selectivity for substances with lower cost and less volatility and toxicity
than previous analytical methods.
In naming him a fellow, the Society
also noted Armstrong’s contribution to the community-at-large. Those include
the founding of a syndicated National Public Radio show on science and his
mentoring of more than 100 graduate students, many of whom were the first in
their families to pursue college degrees.
“Dr. Armstrong’s incredible body
of work represents the epitome of the research excellence and trailblazing
dedication we encourage our students and professors to aspire to,” said UT
Arlington President Vistasp Karbhari. “His recognition as a fellow is
The American Chemical Society is
the world’s largest scientific society with more than 163,000 members.
Armstrong was among 96 members named to its 2013 Class of Fellows, the Society
recently announced. They will be honored at an induction ceremony at the 246th
ACS National Meeting in September in Indianapolis.
In addition to his introduction of the pseudophase
concept, the ACS award citation for Armstrong also noted his “central role in
the enantiomeric separations/chiral recognition revolution” and his achievement
in characterizing and synthesizing ionic liquids. Enantiomeric separation is a
way of differentiating chiral molecules - those with
“left-handed” and “right-handed” sides. Their differentiation is important in drug development, because, for
example, only the left-handed molecule may have the desired effect, while the
right-handed molecule may be inactive or even have toxic side
effects. Ionic liquids consist of a mixture of negatively and
positively charged species. They are often safer than neutral
liquids because they are less volatile and certain syntheses can only be done
in ionic liquids
E. Thomas Strom, adjunct
professor of chemistry at UT Arlington and a 2009 ACS Fellow, nominated
Armstrong for the honor. Along with Armstrong’s myriad professional scientific
accomplishments, Strom also praised Armstrong’s ability to communicate both
through the written word and orally.
“Chemists who focus on achieving
a high status research program often forget their obligations to grow and
nurture the profession. Dan has not
forgotten his debt to chemistry,” Strom said. “He exemplifies the type of
person who ought to be an ACS Fellow.”
Armstrong’s efforts to spread
the word about chemistry applications have been continuous throughout his
career, including numerous courses at scientific conferences and outreach
efforts like ACS radio spots. He developed the “We’re Science” radio show while
working at the University of Missouri –Rolla, along with a local NPR affiliate.
Known for its humorous, but well-researched style, the show was broadcast on 140
NPR stations and the U.S. Armed Forces Radio Network.
Recently, Armstrong made
headlines nationwide in publications such as The Wall Street Journal with his examination of popular workout
boosters containing a substance known as DMAA, a product that some worried was
having dangerous side effects. By applying sophisticated lab tests, he found
that it was unlikely that the DMAA came from natural sources, as many companies
Many companies voluntarily
stopped using DMAA soon after, but in April 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration sent an enforcement letter to holdouts who were still defending
the now controversial substance. The letter quoted the work of Armstrong and
Armstrong also is a past winner of the Chirality Gold
Medal, the ACS Award in Chromatography, The Chromatographic Society’s
Martin Medal, the ACS Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach and
numerous other honors.
Daniel Armstrong is an example of the outstanding
faculty at The University of Texas
at Arlington, a comprehensive research institution of about 33,800 students and
more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas. It is the
second largest institution in The University of Texas System. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.