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UT Arlington chemist wins American Chemical Society grant for young scientists

Friday, December 19, 2014

Media Contact: Traci Peterson

News Topics: chemistry, energy, research, science

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A University of Texas at Arlington researcher exploring the chemical catalysis that leads to synthetic chemistry discoveries useful in drug development and energy has won a new grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund.

Junha Jeon

Junha Jeon

Junha Jeon, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the UT Arlington College of Science, has been awarded a two-year, $110,000 award from the Petroleum Research Fund’s Doctoral New Investigator grant program. That program provides start-up funding for U.S. researchers during the first three years of their career. About 90 awards are made each year.

Jeon’s lab is focused on generating new catalytic reactions to make useful molecules from readily available petrochemicals, such as ethane and propane.  In the grant-funded research, he will work to understand the reaction mechanism at work in ruthenium benzylidene catalysts useful in the energy and pharmaceutical industries.

“Right now, scientists have been utilizing these catalysts for various areas. But they don’t really know how they work and are limited in their ability to make modifications,” Jeon said. “By understanding the catalytic reaction mechanism, we can expand it in so many directions. That’s the great thing about this fundamental research.”

Jeon joined UT Arlington in Fall 2011.

Rasika Dias, chair of the chemistry and biochemistry department, said researchers funded by the ACS Petroleum Research Fund must rise to the top of a competitive field.

“Junha is leading an active research group and developing very creative routes to silicon containing molecules,” Dias said. “I am very pleased to see his work being recognized and supported.”

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 40,000 students around the world and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more. Follow #UTAdna on Twitter.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.