University of Rochester

Chemist Wins $200,000 Award for Promising Research

February 19, 2003

Todd Krauss, assistant professor of chemistry, has been named a recipient of a $200,000 James D. Watson Investigator Award, which honors New York State biotechnology researchers who show great promise early in their careers. Krauss joined the University of Rochester in 2000 after gaining his doctorate from Cornell University in 1998.

"Todd deserves this award because he's a great scientist and his achievements reflect well on the department," says William Jones, C. F. Houghton Professor of Chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry.

One of Krauss' research interests is in using pieces of semiconductor only a few molecules in diameter for medical purposes. For instance, such semiconductor units, called quantum dots, could be used to sense pathogens like the bacterium E. Coli, or for teasing out the exact structure of strands of DNA. "I am very honored to have been selected as a Watson Young Investigator," says Krauss. "With support from this award I hope to further the understanding of semiconductor quantum dots as well as their use as novel biological sensors."

The James D. Watson Investigator initiative is part of the $225 million Generating Employment through New York State Science (Gen*NY*sis) program, which supports life sciences research being conducted at New York's public, not-for-profit, and private academic research institutions. The awards are designed to recognize outstanding early career life scientists with leadership potential in making scientific discoveries that could lead to economic development.

Krauss, along with nine other recipients, received their awards in a formal ceremony on Feb. 10, in Albany, where James D. Watson gave a 10-minute address after receiving a special commendation for scientific accomplishments. Watson is a Nobel Prize laureate for the discovery of the structure of DNA.

"This support for our finest young biotechnology scientists and engineers will help to further secure New York's role as an international leader in high-tech and biotechnology research and economic development," Governor Pataki said. "These grants will support the world-class research being performed by some of the best young minds at New York's colleges and universities."

Russell W. Bessette, M.D., Executive Director of the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR), said, "These groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind awards, will encourage these early career biotechnology scientists to stay and conduct their critically important research here in New York State. In doing so, these scientists will be positioned to make the important advancements in biotechnology that will lead to the State's future economic growth."

Grants from the James D. Watson Investigator Program are being made to scientists who are performing their research in the life sciences, biomedical sciences or in other life science-enabling disciplines such as engineering, material science, chemistry, computer science, electronics, physics, bioinformatics, nanotechnologies and applications of microelectronics and micro-electromechanical devices.