Chemical Society Honors Sharpless

Department of Chemistry Chair Charlie Sharpless mentored former students
July Laszakovits ’16 and Orlando Stewart Jr. ’15 in
two research projects. Norm Shafer photo.

Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry Charlie Sharpless received the Distinguished Research Award from the Virginia section of the American Chemical Society at a March ceremony in Richmond.

The award recognizes Sharpless’ two decades of research in environmental aquatic photochemistry, exploring the chemical reactions that happen when sunlight is absorbed by dissolved organic matter in lakes, rivers, and coastal marine systems.

Among other things, he’s studied the effects of sunlight on pharmaceutical compounds in a river downstream from a wastewater plant and on oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Sharpless frequently involves his students in the research, providing mentorship and practical experience.

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