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Dasgupta awarded 2017 Talanta Medal for his outstanding contributions to field of analytical chemistry

Purnendu Dasgupta
Purnendu "Sandy" Dasgupta

Purnendu "Sandy" Dasgupta, the Hamish Small Chair of Ion Analysis in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Texas at Arlington, has been named recipient of the 2017 Talanta Medal, an international award that recognizes world leaders in the analytical chemistry field.

"This is a tremendous achievement and great recognition of the impact of Dr. Dasgupta's work and the esteem in which he is held by the professional community," UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said. "I am proud that he is a colleague and on the faculty at UTA and remain deeply thankful for the wonderful way in which he engages with our students and our faculty ensuring that the thrill of discovery permeates each of us."

The Talanta Medal was initiated in 1961 by Pergamon Press, which was later acquired by multinational publishing group Elsevier, as a prestigious award of a gold medal for outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry. Dasgupta is the fourth American academic to win the award and the first of Indian origin. A special issue of Talanta, an acclaimed international journal devoted to Analytical Chemistry, will be published to coincide with the award ceremony, to commemorate this occasion.

"This is a tremendous honor and I'm very grateful for this recognition by my peers," Dasgupta said. "By recognizing me, they are also honoring several generations of my students from all over the world, who are so involved and committed to my work and form a cornerstone of my success."

Dasgupta has won numerous awards over the course of his career. In 2016, he was awarded the Eastern Analytical Symposium's highest award, the Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Fields of Analytical Chemistry, and the Tech Titans Technology Inventors Award for his many innovations in chemical and environmental analysis.

Other honors include the 2015 American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry J. Calvin Giddings Award for Excellence in Education; the 2012 Stephen Dal Nogare Award in Chromatography; the 2012 Wilfred T. Doherty Award, DFW Section of the ACS; and the 2011 ACS Award in Chromatography. He also was named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and an honorary member of the Japan Society of Analytical Chemistry, both in 2015.

Dasgupta's high-impact research is improving public health on a global scale, a clear demonstration of advancing the University's Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact.

Among his recent research projects, Dasgupta led a team which devised a new method to measure the amount of blood present in dry blood spot analysis, providing an alternative to the current preferred approach of measuring sodium levels. Dry blood spot analysis is simple, inexpensive, and is routinely used to screen newborns for metabolic disorders. It also has proven effective in diagnosing HIV infection in infants, especially in developing countries where health budgets are limited.

Another of Dasgupta's recent projects is the development of a prototype for an implantable in-line shunt flow monitoring system for hydrocephalus patients, which could lead to better treatment, especially in infants and children who account for a large percentage of shunt operations every year.

In another project, Dasgupta is using a $1.2 million grant from NASA to further the search for amino acids, the so-called building blocks of life, by extending a platform he developed to detect and separate ions.

Dasgupta's active research areas also include methods for environmentally friendly analysis of arsenic in drinking water; rapid analysis of trace heavy metals in the atmosphere; iodine nutrition in women and infants and the role of the chemical perchlorate; and the development of a NASA-funded ion chromatograph for testing extraterrestrial soil, such as that found on Mars.

Dasgupta received a bachelor's degree with honors in Chemistry from Bankura Christian College in 1968 and a master's degree in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Burdwan in 1970, both located in West Bengal, India. He came to the United States in 1973 and earned his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry under Philip W. West, with a minor in electrical engineering, from Louisiana State University in 1977. He has published more than 400 papers and holds 29 patents.