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Paul Abbyad Receives Top Teaching-Scholar Award in Chemistry

Santa Clara University Professor Paul Abbyad was named a 2019 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, expanding the number of Henry Dreyfus faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to five.

SANTA CLARA, Ca., Aug. 15, 2019—Paul Abbyad, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received the 2019 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in support of his research on Sorting Cancer Cells Based on Metabolism Using Droplet Microfluidics. Awarded by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, it is the most prestigious award for early career faculty in the field of chemistry at a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI) in the United States.

Presented to only eight recipients this year, the award provides an unrestricted research grant of $75,000 to young faculty in the chemical sciences at PUIs who are accomplished researchers and committed educators. Six of the other professors hail from the Eastern United States, while the seventh is employed down the road from SCU at San Jose State University.

“This award speaks of the great environment at Santa Clara,” says Abbyad. “We can at the same time emphasize quality teaching while performing solid research with undergraduate students. The grant will allow us to make strides in our research to sort individual cells. Our goal is to develop a new technology that can have an impact on human health.”

In addition to purchasing equipment to advance his research, Abbyad will use the grant to provide more research opportunities for SCU students. “Undergraduate research provides a great learning experience for students,” he says. “It provides problem solving and communication skills that are crucial after graduating from SCU.”

Incorporating undergraduate student researchers has been key to Abbyad’s work at Santa Clara. “Simply put, students are the ones running the experiments in the lab,” he says. “Their contribution, both technical and intellectual, is essential to the work.”

Terri Peretti, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, called it an exceptional achievement. “To be one of only eight chemists chosen in the entire country for this prestigious award is a tribute to Paul’s extraordinary research accomplishments and deep dedication to teaching,” Peretti says. “I am proud to be able to count our faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry among the best in the nation.”

Abbyad is the fifth SCU recipient of the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, making the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry one of the most decorated in the country. Other recipients include Korin Wheeler (2018), Amelia Fuller (2017), Eric Tillman (2009) and Mike Carrasco (2004). “We are in quite an elite group, and certainly among the top PUI chemistry departments in terms of our faculty’s recent track record,” remarks Tillman, department chair.

Abbyad adds, “This trend is likely to continue with the strength of our junior faculty.”

This is Abbyad’s third national recognition in two years. In 2018, he received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation for his project, Label-Free Sorting Based on Single-Cell Metabolism, and a Research Enhancement Award (R15) from the National Institute of Health.

 

About the Foundation
The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation is a leading non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of the chemical sciences. It was established in 1946 by chemist, inventor, and businessman Camille Dreyfus, who directed that the foundation's purpose be "to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances around the world." For more information, see dreyfus.org.

About the College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara University
The College of Arts and Sciences is the heart of Santa Clara University. Our faculty integrate transformative teaching and innovative scholarship to engage students in the processes of learning, discovery and reflection as members of a community of scholars. For more information, visit scu.edu/cas.

 

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(L-R) Claudia Zielke (postdoctoral Research Scholar), Adriana Gutierrez (Chemistry), Karla Raigoza (Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering), Cameron Feit (Biology), Chandler Dobson (Biochemistry), and Paul Abbyad.