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IU chemist Amar Flood receives Waterman Professorship

April 3, 2015

Indiana University chemist Amar Flood has been selected to hold the second Luther Dana Waterman Professorship at IU Bloomington. Flood is currently James F. Jackson Associate Professor of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry.

The Luther Dana Waterman Professorship originated 100 years ago, in 1915, when Dr. Luther Dana Waterman, a professor emeritus at the IU School of Medicine, decided to bequeath a large gift from his estate to Indiana University to sustain fundamental scientific research. Arthur L. Foley, professor of physics at IU Bloomington, was the first Waterman Professor, appointed in 1917.

Richard Shiffrin, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at IU Bloomington, currently holds the original Luther Dana Waterman Professorship, and this new, second professorship based on the Waterman endowment has been established specifically to encourage early-career scientists who have recently received tenure.

Over the decades, researchers supported by the Waterman endowment have come from varied disciplines, including mathematics, botany, geology and zoology. Their research has included the climate and topography of Indiana, the origin and morphology of maize, celestial mechanics, the life cycle of gall wasps and the physical properties of radium.

Making strategic investments in promising researchers such as Flood is crucial to advancing the campus’s research strengths, said Rick Van Kooten, interim vice provost for research at IU Bloomington.

“Professor Flood has an outstanding research record as well as international recognition for his work,” Van Kooten says. “I have no doubt that he will put his time as a Luther Dana Waterman Professor to excellent use as he builds collaborations to explore new areas of research.”

Flood specializes in the area of supramolecular chemistry and has become known for his discoveries of many classes of macrocycles — cyclic and symmetrical molecules developed by Flood’s IU research team that have an unprecedented ability to bind with negatively charged anions, ranging from chloride to perchlorate. Flood’s research with these macrocycles has potential value for the sensing and removal of anions in environmental and medical applications.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Waterman Professorship because it recognizes the activities of my entire group,” Flood says. “The research we conduct is the result of collaboration between graduate students, postdoctoral co-workers and myself. I am also appreciative because it allows me to actively explore new research directions concerning the role of chloride in human biology with partners here on the Bloomington campus.”

The new Waterman Professorship, offered through the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at IU Bloomington, provides Flood with $25,000 per year over the next five years. In 2009 while at IU, Flood received the National Science Foundation’s highest honor for junior faculty members, the Faculty Early Career Development Program award. In 2011-12 he received an IU Collaborative Research Grant with IU School of Medicine’s Brittany-Shea Herbert for work on novel anti-cancer agents.

“Amar Flood is among IU Bloomington’s premier researchers,” says Lauren Robel, provost and executive vice president on the Bloomington campus. “His research group has made ground-breaking discoveries, while also providing invaluable hands-on experience in the laboratory for graduate and undergraduate students on our campus. We look forward to seeing the exciting places that the Waterman legacy will take Professor Flood and his group over the next five years.”