University of Rochester

Chemistry Graduate Student Receives $100,000 Fellowship

June 27, 2006

Pan Shanlin
Pan Shanlin, Graduate student in the Department of Chemistry
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The American Chemical Society has awarded the 2006-2008 Irving S. Sigal Postdoctoral Fellowship to Shanlin Pan, a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Rochester. The award carries a $100,000 stipend to foster his work for two years.

"Shanlin is a brilliant student, by far the best I have seen in my teaching career at Rochester," says Lewis Rothberg, professor of chemistry. "I think of him more as a colleague and teacher than an advisee." Pan has already published more than 20 papers in areas such as nano-rods and biomolecular sensors, and Rothberg has credited him with "essentially inventing the chemistry to attach DNA to aluminum oxide."

He is currently completing his doctoral research on surface plasmon-enhanced photoluminescence with Professor Lewis J. Rothberg and plans to pursue his postdoctoral studies in November at the University of Texas at Austin. Shanlin's proposed postdoctoral research will focus on enhancing the imaging resolution and detection sensitivity of the Scanning Electrochemical Microscope using time-dependent techniques and high-quality tips modified with molecular wires. Of particular interest to Pan is understanding how living cells respond to small amounts of toxic substances, and obtaining higher spatial resolution for cell activities.

While at Rochester, Pan received the Messersmith and Hooker fellowships from the University of Rochester, and Sherman-Clarke fellowships from the Department of Chemistry Graduate Studies. He also received several awards and fellowships from Lanzhou University during his undergraduate years, as well as a Chinese Academy of Science fellowship for his master's degree work in his native China.

"Shanlin is a once-in-a-career student and there is little doubt in my mind that he is the best I will ever enjoy teaching and learning from," says Rothberg. "He is a genuine inspiration to me and to my other students."

The award is named in memory of Irving S. Sigal, a chemist who died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. This postdoctoral fellowship is awarded every two years to a young scientist whose work addresses a significant problem at the interface of chemistry and biology. The award is open to scientists of all nationalities earning doctoral degrees from a graduate chemistry department in the United States.