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Chemistry, Psychology Professors Recognized for Accomplishments

Accolades is an occasional News Center feature that highlights recent accomplishments of The University of Texas at Dallas faculty and students. To submit items for consideration, contact your school’s communication manager. 

Dodani Earns Prize for Chemistry Research

Dr. Sheel Dodani BS’07, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, is the recipient of the 2020 Sessler Early Career Researcher Prize from the editors of the journal Supramolecular Chemistry.

The annual award honors an outstanding early career investigator in a full-time academic or government laboratory position who is within 10 years of receiving their PhD and who wrote an article in Supramolecular Chemistry in the previous year’s volume.

Dodani, who earned her doctorate in chemistry in 2013 from the University of California, Berkeley, was cited for her research on how anions, which are negatively charged particles, interact with polymers.

“Polymers — molecules that contain repeating units — can be naturally occurring, like proteins, or synthetic, such as rubber,” Dodani said. “We are discovering and engineering polymers that bind anions in water to generate an optical change, which can then be used for imaging, diagnostic and remediation applications.”

In the study recognized by the Supramolecular Chemistry editors, Dodani and her colleagues used optical emission spectroscopy and computer modeling to characterize the anion binding properties of the synthetic polymer polyvinylpyrrolidone, or PVP.

“These fundamental insights have not only shaped our research directions, but could be far-reaching because PVP is used in a wide range of products — from cosmetics to adhesives — that could be altered by its ability to interact with anions,” she said.

Santrock Ranked Among Most-Read Textbook Authors

Longtime faculty member Dr. John Santrock has been ranked fourth among the most-assigned authors in psychology curricula worldwide by the Open Syllabus Project (OSP).

A professor of psychology in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Santrock has written more than 100 textbooks in various areas of psychology since arriving at the University in 1976.

The OSP has collected and analyzed 7 million syllabi from more than 80 nations.

“It has been very gratifying to be able to connect with so many professors and students by writing about a variety of topics across a number of decades,” Santrock said. “I love writing about the entire human lifespan from conception to death and communicating about the latest research and contemporary topics in new editions.”

Santrock, the OSP’s top listed author from the field of developmental psychology, has eight texts that appear in more than 100 syllabi listed for 864 separate courses. The various editions of his Life-Span Development are the most used among his titles.

“Keeping these books up-to-date in new editions clearly benefits my teaching in developmental psychology courses,” he said. “And the new editions, two of which are in their 18th editions and two others in their 15th editions, continue to expose UT Dallas to many professors and students in the United States and other countries.”

Dr. Shayla Holub, associate professor and area head of psychological sciences, praised Santrock’s wisdom, reputation in the field and excellence in teaching.

“Dr. Santrock is a prolific textbook writer whose texts have guided the curriculum for numerous psychology courses at universities across the globe, including our own,” Holub said. “He leads the fields of child development and adolescence by making developmental science accessible and interesting to students and budding scholars.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].