Heemstra installed as Charles Allen Thomas Professor in Chemistry

Jennifer Heemstra
Jennifer Heemstra, the Charles Allen Thomas Professor in Chemistry, delivered an address at her installation ceremony titled “Biomolecules do amazing things and I work with amazing people.” (Photo: Rebecca Clark/Washington University)

Jennifer Heemstra was installed as the Charles Allen Thomas Professor in Chemistry in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis during a ceremony April 10 at the Whittemore House. Her installation lecture was titled “Biomolecules do amazing things and I work with amazing people.”

Heemstra joined Washington University in 2022 and is currently chair of the Department of Chemistry. Her lab is focused on harnessing the capabilities of proteins and nucleic acids to address unmet needs in biomedicine and the environment. Research in the Heemstra lab is highly interdisciplinary, drawing upon techniques from molecular and cellular biology, organic synthesis, analytical chemistry and materials science.

Heemstra is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, one of the most distinct honors in the scientific community. She has been the recipient of the Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, the National Science Foundation CAREER award, the Cottrell Scholar Award and the American Chemical Society Women Chemists Committee Rising Star Award.

She is also a passionate advocate for mentoring and diversity, equity and inclusion. Heemstra engages the broader academic community around these topics via her social media presence and professional development seminars and workshops.

Charles Allen Thomas, an internationally known industrial chemist who spent the majority of his career with Monsanto Co., established this professorship in Arts & Sciences in 1976. Thomas’ career achievements include contributions in synthetic resins, polystyrenes, synthetic rubber and rocket propellants. Thomas served as chair of Washington University’s Board of Trustees from 1966 to 1980 and died in 1982.

Read more on the Ampersand website.

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