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Humic Science and Technology Conference in Boston Dedicated to ODU's Hatcher

Patrick Hatcher, the Batten Endowed Chair in Physical Sciences at Old Dominion University, will receive one of the top honors bestowed by the Humic Science and Technology XII Conference March 18-20 at Northeastern University in Boston.

The full conference is dedicated to Hatcher with thanks for his groundbreaking work in organic and environmental geochemistry. Past dedicatees include researchers from universities, industries and government agencies throughout the world.

Michael Perdue, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Tech, is the conference's honorary chair.

The ODU scientist is known for his innovations in the chemical analysis of hard-to-analyze compounds. His research applies to some of our biggest 21st-century economic, environmental and health challenges, including water quality, global warming, origins of disease and the search for sources of energy.

Organic molecules-those originating with living organisms, as well as those that are synthesized-are typically very large and complicated in the relative scheme of chemical compounds, and their structures have been difficult to elucidate. But Hatcher's creative analytical strategies have given science a much better understanding of coal, petroleum and natural polymers, of the ways sediment and soil interact with pollutants at the molecular level, and of how natural organic material can thwart the treatment of drinking water. His work also has advanced biochemical studies of proteins and other biological compounds.

He directs the ODU College of Sciences Major Instrumentation Cluster (COSMIC) Laboratory, which includes nearly $3 million worth of instruments such as a 12-Tesla Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometer and 400 MHz solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer with the latest High Resolution Magic Angle Spin (HRMAS) capability.

Hatcher, who is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, also is executive director of the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium (VCERC) and leads the organization's initiative to create a commercial source of biodiesel fuel from algae.

This article was posted on: March 13, 2009

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