Governor Announces Research Funding for SUNY Potsdam Distinguished Professor Dr. Maria Hepel


SUNY Potsdam Distinguished Professor Dr. Maria Hepel has been awarded funding from the SUNY Research Collaboration Fund along with a colleague at Binghamton University.

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that a research project involving an esteemed SUNY Potsdam faculty member would receive up to $100,000 in grant funding from the SUNY Research Collaboration Fund, which supports research collaborations among campuses as part of the SUNY system's strategic plan, The Power of SUNY.

The 2013 recipients included SUNY Potsdam Distinguished Professor Dr. Maria Hepel and Binghamton University Professor Dr. Chuan-Jian Zhong. The chemistry professor aims to develop a fundamental understanding of functional nanoprobes for detection of DNAs to aid in diagnostics and healthcare through their collaboration.

Dr. Hepel was congratulated for her achievement at the SUNY Potsdam College Council meeting last week. She is one of only two faculty members from SUNY comprehensive colleges to receive funding through the program.

"Not only does the SUNY system provide quality, affordable higher education opportunities to New Yorkers – but it is also an engine of research and development to increase innovation and grow our economy in New York State," Governor Cuomo said. "The projects receiving awards today showcase a wide range of areas being explored in campuses across the SUNY system, and they all have potential to leave a positive and lasting impact on our health, environment and society. I applaud these award recipients and look forward to seeing their projects progress."

"The scope of SUNY's scientific research is reflected in these awards and we will continue to incentivize cross-campus collaboration to promote the strength of working together as a system," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "Congratulations to the campuses, faculty, and students involved in these exciting projects."

"The scope, scale, and diversity of SUNY's research portfolio are on full display with the announcement of these awards," said Dr. Tim Killeen, president of the RF and SUNY's vice chancellor for research. "Collaborative research invites industry interest and entrepreneurial opportunity that lead to innovation, new business, jobs, and public benefit. We congratulate each of the fund recipients for their visionary work." 

The purpose of the SUNY Research Collaboration Fund is to support collaboration among researchers and students across SUNY's campuses in order to enhance the collective impact of their work and ability to advance science, innovation, and economic prosperity in New York State. This second annual round of Research Collaboration Fund awards attracted 77 proposals. Funded projects were selected through a rigorous peer-review process. Factors considered in the evaluation included: originality and significance of the research; student involvement; industry and other outreach efforts; and the ability to attract future federal, state, philanthropic, or private funding.

Last year, Dr. Hepel was the first SUNY Potsdam faculty member to be named a Distinguished Professor by the SUNY Board of Trustees, an honorary rank which is bestowed on individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within a chosen field.

Dr. Hepel has attained national and international recognition primarily for her important work on piezoelectric sensors, quantum conductance of nanowires and environmental remediation processes. At last count, she had some 148 peer-reviewed publications in leading journals in her field. Her articles have appeared in such venues as the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Electrochimica Acta, the Journal of Physical Chemistry and the Journal of the Electrochemical Society. Her record of external funding is also impressive for a campus which until recently focused principally on classroom teaching. In the last three years, she has been awarded $804,000 in grants. She has been an active presenter of her research at conferences, listing some 342 presentations and nearly 70 invited lectures. Dr. Hepel is committed to teaching through research—many accomplished alumni have started as undergraduates in her lab.

The Department of Chemistry at SUNY Potsdam offers a rigorous and well-balanced curriculum that provides a solid foundation for successful graduate study, and/or a career in chemistry or a chemistry-related field. It is known for its strong and diverse undergraduate research programs, its $1.3 million in grants to support teaching and research and students' acceptance into competitive graduate and professional schools.

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Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts. Empowered by a culture of creativity, the campus community recently launched Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, which aims to raise $27 million by the College's bicentennial in 2016.