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Haynes receives 2014 Taylor Award for Distinguished Research

Professor Christy Haynes has been honored with the 2014 College of Science & Engineering's George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research. This award honors younger faculty members-within 15 years of earning their doctorates-who have shown outstanding research ability.

Haynes joined the University of Minnesota in 2005, and was granted early tenure in 2010 in the Department of Chemistry and the College of Science & Engineering. She currently holds the appointment of associate professor and is being considered for promotion to full professor. She received her doctorate from Northwestern University and was a post-doctoral associate at the University of North Carolina. As a graduate student and post-doctoral associate, she was recognized by two national American Chemical Society awards: the 2005 Victor K. LaMer Award for graduate research in colloid and surface chemistry and the 2004 Nobel Laureate Signature Award for graduate education in chemistry, which is given annually to the top graduate student in the country.

Her graduate work on nanoparticle optics led to important understanding about the underlying physics of the optical properties of nanoparticles, including: a systematic study of noble metal nanoparticle optical properties fabricated using various approaches; an investigation of the role that these tunable optical properties play in the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) phenomenon; and, the demonstration of the use of SERS as a small molecule biosensor. Haynes' post-doctoral work used microelectrochemistry to probe exocytosis from single cells. The release of chemical messengers from a cell and the interactions of these chemical messengers in the extracellular environment are the foundation of many essential biological functions such as neurotransmission and immune response.

Her research training, which combines laser spectroscopy and nanomaterials characterization with electrochemistry and immunology, has enabled her to build a unique research program that addresses questions at the interface of immunology, toxicology, materials science, and chemistry. Her research group is working on a diverse range of problems. In one project, Haynes and her students are developing novel assays to assess nanoparticle toxicity in both physiological and ecological systems. The overarching goal of this work is to formulate a set of predictive design rules to guide the chemists and materials scientists who synthesize nanoparticles to create sustainable nanomaterials. Other projects in her laboratory include single-cell human blood platelet measurements, design and synthesis of multifunctional drug delivery and sensor nanoparticles, and microfluidic assessment of immune cell to immune cell communication.

"She is smart, energetic, creative, independent and not afraid to take risks," wrote Professor Paul Bohn from the University of Notre Dame. "In fact, it is this intellectual adventurousness, along with her ability to exploit observations and approaches from one field of science in another, that sets her apart from her contemporaries and, indeed, from most of her elders."

Haynes' critical role in the emerging field of nanotoxicology was recently recognized by her being named the first ever Kavli Emerging Leader in Chemistry, and given the opportunity to deliver a plenary lecture to an audience of more than 1,000 chemists at the spring 2013 National American Chemical Society meeting. She has been awarded a 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, a Kinship Foundation Searle Fellowship, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a University of Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Assistant Professorship, a National Institutes of Health New Innovator Award, a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry Young Investigator Award, the Findeis Award for Achievements by a Young Analytical Scientist, a Sloan Fellowship, the Joseph Black Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award. Her group has published more than 72 manuscripts.

She has a strong interest in teaching, mentoring, advising, and outreach. She has developed nanoscience educational outreach materials for high school teachers and students, which emphasize the scientific diversity necessary to study nanoscale science and the great potential of nanoscale technology. She has developed an innovative exercise for the students in the general chemistry course, introduced guided inquiry workshops into the process analytical course, and has taught several freshmen seminars that focus on the role of science in dystopian literature. Her graduate level course in analytical spectroscopy has a strong emphasis on encouraging students to engage with the scientific literature and to generate creative scientific proposals. She voluntarily developed a fellowship writing workshop for all incoming chemistry graduate students, focusing on scientific idea development and applying for National Science Foundation graduate fellowships. Haynes is also a featured performer in the department's "Energy and U" show that brings 10,000 elementary-aged students to the university each year to learn about the first law of thermodynamics through a high energy demonstration show. She organizes her group's annual "Chemistry Day" for the West 7th Community Center in Minneapolis.

"Christy Haynes clearly demonstrates focus, drive, and creativity," said William Tolman, chair of the Department of Chemistry. "Her passion and enthusiasm for students and science shows that she is a research leader in her field and in the classroom."

The George W. Taylor Awards are endowed within the College of Science and Engineering in memory of George W. Taylor, a 1934 graduate of the department of Mechanical Engineering. This award consists of an award citation and an honorarium of $2,000. Eight researchers in the Department of Chemistry have earned this award, including current professors Christopher Cramer, Marc Hillmyer, Timothy Lodge, and William Tolman.