Utah State University professor Lance Seefeldt will head the university’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, announced Science Dean Maura Hagan April 15. Seefeldt assumes his new post July 1.
Seefeldt succeeds Professor Alvan Hengge, who has served as department head for the past 10 years. Hengge recently received a Fulbright Award to conduct research at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, a public research university in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He travels to South America in early 2020.
“We are grateful to Alvan for his outstanding service during the past decade,” Hagan says. “Among other impacts, Alvan’s legacy includes the hires of an extremely talented cohort of early-career research faculty and the invaluable teaching contributions of new lecturers.”
She also praised Hengge’s administrative achievements in efficiently and effectively serving undergraduates, graduate students and faculty throughout the university. The department boasts a robust graduate program and provides foundational chemistry courses in Logan, at regional campuses and online to scholars pursuing multiple majors within many of the university’s colleges.
Hengge, whose research focuses on the critical biological process of enzyme-catalyzed phosphoryl transfer, received USU’s top research honor, the D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award, in 2015. He is the recipient of three annual awards for outstanding researcher, outstanding teacher and outstanding undergraduate research mentor.
Seefeldt, who joined USU in 1993, is an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow and received the D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award in 2012. He was named USU’s 2019 Graduate Research Mentor of the Year.
A long-time expert in nitrogen fixation research, Seefeldt, whose efforts are supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, is pioneering studies toward a clean and renewable light-driven process for converting nitrogen to ammonia, a primary component of fertilizer.
“Lance’s skills, institutional insight and long-standing record of accomplishments make him well-suited for his new position,” Hagan says. “We’ve very fortunate to have his expertise, as we collectively advance the mission of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, along with the College of Science, at Utah State University.”