SUNY Oneonta News

November 15, 2010



ONEONTA, N.Y. -- Dr. Jacqueline Bennett, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at SUNY Oneonta, has been awarded the 2010 Richard Siegfried Junior Faculty Prize for Academic Excellence. Bennett will deliver the sixteenth annual Richard Siegfried Lecture, an address entitled, "The Exhilaration of Discovery and the Beauty of Organic Crystals" in the Craven Lounge of the Morris Conference Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 2. Admission to the event is complimentary, and members of the community are invited to attend the presentation and the dessert reception that precedes it.

Bennett’s talk will focus on her discovery of the "green" method for synthesizing imines, which are chemical compounds used as pharmaceuticals, corrosion inhibitors, additives to accelerate environmental degradation of plastics, and many other products. She'll also speak about potential new uses for imines. For example, along with her current research group, SUNY Oneonta students Alyson Marmet, Anyango Kamina, Michelle Linder, and Samantha Kamp, Bennett is studying whether some of their newly created compounds might be effective antibacterial agents.
"The joy of scientific discovery is a key component of my talk," says Bennett. "I hope I convey the sheer exuberance I felt once I made the discovery and understood its implication, especially the awe of being the person who 'changed the game,' so to speak, for all the industries that are based on imines in some way." Jacqueline Bennett
Beyond the practical, industrial applications of this chemistry, there's also a "cool" factor to her research and lecture, says Bennett. "Visually, the crystals are stunning. Some look like gold or silver flakes, even though nothing metallic is used at any point in the process of making them." The compounds she and her research group created also can be made to glow when exposed to black light with the addition of just a few drops of acid. "I plan to demonstrate this live during my presentation," she says.

Bennett, who joined the SUNY Oneonta faculty in 2006, holds a doctorate in chemistry from the University of California, Riverside. In 2008, she received a grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation’s Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences for a project to develop and implement green photochemistry experiments to use in labs in the college’s
organic chemistry courses. Last year, she served as principal investigator for a grant of $164,753 from the National Science Foundation to support the introduction of computational chemistry to the college’s chemistry curriculum through a graduated approach. This past January, Bennett worked with the Technology Transfer Office at the Research Foundation of SUNY to file a provisional patent application for her environmentally friendly method of preparing imines.

The Siegfried Prize, which is awarded annually, recognizes a non-tenured SUNY Oneonta faculty member for outstanding academic achievement outside the classroom. The prize was made possible by gifts from alumni to the college and by a special gift from Alice Siegfried in memory of her husband, theater Professor Richard K. Siegfried, who taught at the college from 1958 to 1995.



For more information about the College, please call the Community Relations Office at (607) 436-2748 or send e-mail to Hal Legg, Director of Communications.

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