A UTEP professor has been elected to the highest leadership position of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific organization.
Luis Echegoyen, Ph.D., a research professor and the Robert A. Welch Chair in The University of Texas at El Paso’s chemistry department, will begin a three-year term during which he will be responsible for the development of a set of goals with corresponding tasks and events while serving as the society’s primary representative.
“I am really honored by this election and look forward to implementing many new and ambitious programs to benefit the ACS and its many members,” Echegoyen said.
Echegoyen said he is elated at the opportunity to influence and improve the lives and careers of his fellow ACS members. He lists several priorities he hopes to work on while in the organization’s top role, including the promotion of inter- and multi-disciplinary education and research. Echegoyen also hopes to advocate for increases in research funding and establish closer ties between industry and academia. In addition, he hopes to increase international partnerships and collaborations.
Echegoyen arrived at UTEP in 2010 after a four-year stint as director of the chemistry division at the National Science Foundation. He was previously the director of UTEP’s Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) program. UTEP’s partner in the endeavor is the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). In 2017, the collaboration was recognized among the active PREMs in the United States with a Creativity Extension Award of $666,000 from the NSF.
Echegoyen was also instrumental in bringing Sir Fraser Stoddart, a Nobel laureate and professor of chemistry, to present a public lecture in February 2018 as part of the campus’ Centennial Lecture Series.
In addition, Echegoyen — along with Skye Fortier, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry — was recently awarded a $600,000 grant from the NSF to continue groundbreaking work with endohedral fullerene structures.
The pair’s fundamental research on using Buckminsterfullerenes, or buckyballs — cage-like fused-ring structures of carbon molecules that resemble soccer balls — to house single uranium atoms and uranium clusters, represents the opening salvo of knowledge acquisition in a curiosity driven area of science.
Along with his time at UTEP and the NSF, Echegoyen has more than 40 years of experience in academic institutions, three years in industry and five in government, including stops at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus, Clemson University and the University of Miami.