DENTON (UNT), Texas — Shengqian Ma will add to the University of North Texas’ reputation as an innovative, leading research university, where he will lead an internationally recognized research program focusing on functional nanoporous materials in the UNT Department of Chemistry, as the new Welch Chair.
Ma brings numerous honors to UNT, having won the 2014 National Science Foundation CAREER Award and been named as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher every year from 2014 to 2020. The American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Inorganic Chemistry gave him its Young Investigator Award in 2008, and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry awarded him the 2009 IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists.
"We are honored and excited to have a scientist and scholar of Dr. Ma's magnitude joining us as our new Welch Chair," said Legrande Slaughter, chair of the UNT Chemistry Department. "During his 10-year independent career at the University of South Florida prior to joining UNT, Dr. Ma established himself as a world-renowned expert in the chemistry of porous materials. Some of his discoveries have potential applications in environmental remediation, energy production and storage, and drug delivery, among other important technologies."
Ma earned his bachelor’s degree from Jilin University in China in 2003 and his doctorate from Miami University in Ohio in 2008, then completed a director’s postdoctoral fellowship at Argonne National Laboratory in the U.S. Department of Energy. He then taught at USF, where he won the 2015 USF Faculty Outstanding Research Achievement Award and the 2018 Outstanding Faculty Award.
His mission at UNT is to lead the synthetic materials chemistry lab on the development of functional nanoporous materials, including metal-organic frameworks, covalent organic frameworks and porous organic polymers for energy, biological and environmental-related applications.
At the UNT College of Science, Ma will use the university’s high-performance computing infrastructure and a suite of staffed and well-maintained major instrumentation, including NMR, single-crystal XRD and mass spectrometry.
"We are expecting Dr. Ma will help lead us to even greater heights as we seek to solidify our national reputation as an outstanding department for chemistry research," said Slaughter.
The UNT Welch Chair in Chemistry was established nearly 20 years ago with a $2 million endowment from the Welch Foundation and private donors. Ma is the second researcher to hold this position.