Smith selected as Emerging Faculty Leader

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Emily Smith, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, has been selected as a recipient of the Dean’s Emerging Faculty Leader Award.

The award is a new donor-funded opportunity to support promising early to mid-career faculty during critical stages in their professional growth.

The fund will help support creative, entrepreneurial leaders who are shaping policy, defining future research directions and attracting bright students and colleagues to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For example, funds awarded can be leveraged to attract other grant opportunities, hire lab managers or graduate assistants or purchase critical equipment.

“Professor Smith and her group have been extremely successful by any measure,” said William Jenks, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry.  “I am particularly excited that she will receive this award which will give her the opportunity to strike out in some new directions. Smith is an absolutely central and rising figure in our analytical chemistry program, which has quite a history of being recognized as one of the nation’s best.”

Smith’s accomplishments in research have been recognized at the highest levels, including by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Smith and her research group develop new instruments and take measurements to understand how proteins move around in the cell membrane, which is an important aspect of how membrane proteins function. Membrane proteins are the target of numerous pharmaceutical compounds, so developing a full understanding of how they function is critical.

Smith and her team are also engaged in developing new methods to measure the composition of plants. This could enable plant material to be better utilized in applications such as biofuels. Currently, Smith is collaborating with other research groups at Iowa State to study materials that may be used in next generation solar cells.

Smith was awarded the prestigious NSF CAREER Award in 2009. Smith joined the faculty at Iowa State University in 2006. Prior to her appointment, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Delaware and the University of Arizona. Smith earned her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 2003.