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Karin Ruhlandt-Senge named Distinguished Professor in College of Arts and Sciences

November 02, 2009

Judy Holmes
(315) 443-8085

Karin Ruhlandt-Senge, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, was appointed Distinguished Professor by Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina. Distinguished Professor is one of the University’s highest honors for faculty whose exemplary leadership in teaching and research has advanced the University’s scholarly mission.

Ruhlandt-Senge is a pioneering researcher in the area of alkaline earth metal chemistry and a highly respected teacher and mentor to undergraduate and graduate students. She is co-director of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) at SU, an organization that enhances and supports the professional development and persistence of women faculty and students in the sciences and engineering. She has mentored 15 doctoral candidates in her laboratory, the majority of them women, several postdoctoral fellows and a number of master’s and undergraduate students.

Ten years ago, Ruhlandt-Senge helped establish at SU what has become one of the largest National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs in the country. Four years later, she oversaw the program’s expansion to include an International REU program in collaboration with Graz Technical University in Germany.

As a scientist, Ruhlandt-Senge has made significant contributions to the emerging field of alkaline earth metal chemistry, an area of research that is exploring ways to use highly reactive metals (calcium, strontium and barium) to create new materials for the biomedical and high-tech industries. These metals are extremely difficult to work with in the laboratory because they cannot be exposed to air or water. Ruhlandt-Senge’s research group is among a select group of university-based researchers worldwide who have laid the experimental foundation that now enables scientists to study these metals in ways that were not possible a little more than a decade ago.

In 1997, Ruhlandt-Senge received an NSF CAREER Award for her pioneering research, which has since been continually funded. More recently, she received a prestigious NSF Special Creativity Award, which enables creative investigators an extended opportunity to attack adventurous, high-risk research opportunities.

Ruhlandt-Senge is using funding from her creativity award on a collaborative project with Julie Hasenwinkel, associate professor in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, to develop a more effective bone cement to secure implants used in joint replacement surgery and to treat severe fractures. She is also continuing her work to find more efficient ways to make computer chips and superconductive materials using alkaline earth metals.

Ruhlandt-Senge is the author or co-author of more than 100 scholarly publications, has presented lectures and papers at conferences and universities worldwide, is a reviewer for national and international granting agencies and numerous scientific journals, and has participated on a number of University committees and panels.

A native of Germany, Ruhlandt-Senge holds a Ph.D. from Philipps-Universität-Marburg and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis, which is where she conducted most of the experimental work for her doctorate. In 2003, she was a visiting professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and at Monash University, Australia.

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