Professor Christy Haynes named new head of the Department of Chemistry

Haynes brings experience in research, education, and outreach to the position

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (04/05/2023)—University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering Dean Andrew Alleyne has named Distinguished McKnight University Professor Christy Haynes as the new head of the Department of Chemistry. She will begin her new duties on July 1, 2023. 

Haynes currently is the associate department head for the Department of Chemistry, associate director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, and an associate editor for the American Chemical Society journal Analytical Chemistry. She is also a fellow of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. Haynes is the first woman named head of the Department of Chemistry in its 119-year history. 

Haynes, who came to the University of Minnesota in 2005, is an internationally recognized leader within the scientific community, and is one of the nation’s most talented analytical chemists. Her training combines laser spectroscopy and nanomaterials characterization with electrochemistry and immunology. She has built a unique research program that addresses questions at the interface of analytical, biological, and nanomaterials chemistry. 

Her research group studies pressing fundamental and applied problems in nanoscience, environmental science, and immunology using a diverse set of analytical and materials techniques. They also design and synthesize nanomaterials to study and exploit size-dependent phenomena, with applications ranging from drug delivery to in vivo and environmental sensors. 

Additionally, the Haynes group combines knowledge of nanoparticles and biological cells to investigate the potential biological and ecological impacts of nanoparticles relevant in consumer products. Finally, the group applies single cell measurement techniques to probe changes in cell function due to nanomaterial exposure or disease.

Haynes’ many previous honors and awards include a Distinguished McKnight University Professorship, Theophilus Redwood Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry, Craver Award from the Coblentz Society, a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, selection as a three-time finalist for the Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists, an NIH New Innovator Award, a University of Minnesota's Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award and Outstanding Post-Doctoral Mentor Award, and the College of Science & Engineering’s Taylor Award for Distinguished Research. 

In addition to her outstanding research, Haynes is known for her passion and commitment to building a diverse scientific community, which includes being a mentor to the next generation of chemists. Her research group currently includes 10 graduate students, one post-doctoral fellow, one post-baccalaureate fellow, and two undergraduate students. More than 60 undergraduate researchers have worked in the Haynes lab at UMN, and 28 doctoral students have completed their thesis work under her advisement.

Haynes is also committed to outreach with and into the community, including working with graduate students to engage young people in science demonstrations and experiments at a local community center, and being one of the lead presenters for the department’s Energy and U program. Energy and U brings more than 10,000 third grade through sixth grade students to campus each year, with many of those students coming from schools with high percentages of students living in poverty and from underrepresented groups in the sciences.

Haynes completed her undergraduate work at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., with a major in chemistry and minors in mathematics and Spanish. She completed her master’s and Ph.D. at Northwestern University in Illinois and did her postdoctoral research at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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