URI’s Levine awarded Sessler Early Career Researcher Prize

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – In recognition of an article published in 2016, University of Rhode Island associate professor of chemistry Mindy Levine was named the inaugural recipient of the Sessler Early Career Researcher Prize, which she received in July.

The article, “Sensitive and selective detection of alcohols via fluorescence modulations,” was published in the Supramolecular Chemistry journal. The award, which is presented by editors of the journal, is sponsored by international publisher Taylor and Francis and named for chemistry pioneer Jonathan Sessler, a longtime editor of the journal and member of its editorial board.

Bruce Gibbs, U.S. editor-in-chief of Supramolecular Chemistry, said there was no question Levine was the correct choice for the new award.

“The panel was unanimous in its belief that Mindy’s paper described excellent, cutting-edge research of considerable interest to the supramolecular community,” he said in a statement.

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Levine’s article focused on detecting alcohols, many of which are known or suspected toxicants, and could benefit the fields of public health and the environment. According to a news release, Levine was inspired to conduct said research from “everyday life,” as in detecting whether or not milk has gone bad or if food is still edible if the plastic container it has been heated in the microwave in has melted.

Levine hopes to develop a sensor that identifies classes of toxicants to aid first responders to environmental accidents.

As part of the prize, Levine presented her research at the July conference of the annual International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry in Quebec City. Levine, who is in her eighth year at URI, was also named to the Supramolecular Chemistry journal’s editorial board.

Winner of a national Rising Star Award from the American Chemical Society in 2015, the Sessler prize is the first international recognition for Levine.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email, gowdey-backus@pbn.com.