Paul E. Laibinis, assistant professor of chemical engineering, has been awarded the 1996 Doherty Professorship in Ocean Utilization from the MIT Sea Grant College Program.
Every year, the program selects one new faculty member for a supplemental award of $25,000 per year for two years.
Dr. Laibinis' research focuses on chemical synthesis, the design of new chemicals and chemical structures. His teaching goals include the creation of a core graduate subject focused on issues of molecular reactivity and physicochemical response. Under the Doherty fellowship, Dr. Laibinis will work to develop an organic, hydrophobic coating for metals that will reduce corrosion and leaching. In marine environments, such a coating would greatly increase the lifetimes of metals and decrease the rates at which metal ions are leached into waterways and oceans.
In 1995, Heidi Nepf, assistant professor of civil engineering, was named to the two-year chair for her proposal to study the role of marsh systems in regulating the flux of land-source pollutants and nutrients to coastal waters.
The Doherty Fellowship, endowed by the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation, encourages promising, non-tenured professors to undertake marine-related research that will further innovative uses of the ocean's resources. The area of research may address any aspect of marine use and/or management, whether social, political, environmental or technological.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 6, 1996.