Yale University and George Washington University Students Win 2016 Breen Memorial Fellowship

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The Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship is awarded to undergraduates through early career scientists who demonstrate outstanding research or educational interest in green chemistry. The 2016 Breen winners are Sarah Kwan, Yale University, and John-Hanson Machado, George Washington University.

Each year, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI) awards one or more Dr. Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowships. The award sponsors the participation of a young international green chemistry scholar in a green chemistry technical meeting, conference or training program. The ACS established award through the ACS International Endowment Fund in 2000. This fund commemorates Dr. Joe Breen’s commitment and accomplishments for the advancement of green chemistry.

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Sarah Kwan’s research is to determine how cleaning influenced the bacterial and fungal microbial communities on desk surfaces in schools. “My research merges biotechnology, engineering, and public health," says Kwan. "By investigating ways of mitigating adverse health effects associated with indoors environments, namely asthma and allergies, applying a rational engineering approach to my findings, and applying the principles green engineering I hope to design inherently safe, culturally sensitive, economically feasible, and sustainable solutions for healthy indoor microbial environments to live and work in."

Kwan stated, “For me this is an invaluable opportunity to share my knowledge with and learn from a cross section of disciplines in the green chemistry/engineering field. This fellowship and conference also provide me the opportunity to form potential collaborations that would otherwise be unobtainable”.

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John-Hanson Machado's research involves computational modeling of skin permeability. "We are designing a completely systematic approach to address the issue of data quality in building predictive models for skin permeation on more reliable training sets”, according to Machado. He started working on carbon sequestration in his sophomore year, “I realized that “green chemistry” is more than a field, but a practice every chemist can and should adopt as part of their training. Even now that I am developing my professional skills theoretically in computational chemistry, the highlight is still focused around this central theme - I can limit my chemical utilization in the lab using in silico approaches to direct my future research, reduce waste, and contribute to a greener lab space.”

Machado stated, “The Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship gives me exposure to others in the field advancing my professional “street-cred.” Even though I am the same chemist without this award, the external validation allows me to speak with a sense of authority among colleagues in the green chemistry community despite my age as a young scholar”.

Both Kwan and Machado will be attending the 20th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, June 14-16, 2016 in Portland, Oregon, where they will be presented with their award.

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