Martin honored with 2018 Faculty Mentor Awar

Published 7:13 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Special to The News

Christopher Martin, associate professor of organic chemistry, was tapped for the Faculty Mentor Award at the 5th Annual Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities Expo at Lamar University.

Martin has mentored 40 undergraduate students in research, presented this work at five national meetings and published with undergraduate co-authors in peer-reviewed journals seven times. His research students demonstrate great success both at Lamar and after graduation and include Beck Fellows, McNair Scholars, medical physicians, doctoral chemists and biologists.

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“Each year the Office of Undergraduate Research recognizes one outstanding faculty mentor for his or her success in mentoring undergraduate students in research and creative activities,” said Kumer Das, interim associate provost for research and director, Lamar University Office of Undergraduate Research.

“This year the OUR advisory committee has chosen Dr. Martin to be the awardee because of his many qualities as an effective mentor,” Das said. “He has experience working with traditional chemistry majors, biochemistry majors, biology majors and chemical engineering majors.”

The Office of Undergraduate Research is dedicated to promoting and supporting student success through faculty-mentored undergraduate research, creative inquiry, and other scholarly experiences.

Originally from Van Wert, Ohio, Martin, began his academic career at Malone College in Canton, Ohio when he was awarded a Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. This research experience was so transformative that he immediately transferred to UK, where he then performed additional research in organic synthesis and physical organic eventually publishing two first-author papers in high-ranking, peer-reviewed journals.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UK in 1999, he continued his education at The Ohio State University. There, Martin elected to broaden his training and experience by earning his master’s degree in chemistry by using computer simulations (computational chemistry) on short-lived photochemical reactions.

He then shifted to using microbiological studies to quantify the photochemical effects of a new technology on the inactivation of pathogens in donated blood in collaboration with Navigant Biotechnologies. This work not only earned Martin his doctorate in 2004, but also landed his name on a US patent based on his work.

Immediately after earning his docorate Martin began teaching at Lamar University as an assistant professor in organic chemistry where he has continued his multi-disciplinary efforts with a targeted focus on undergraduate research experiences.

His current research interests at Lamar include studying the unusual molecular rearrangements that a small class of molecules called furanones undergo upon exposure to light that may have implications for the pharmaceutical industry.