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Hatcher Delivers Keynote Address at International Humic Substances Meeting


Patrick Hatcher, the Old Dominion University Batten Endowed Professor in Physical Sciences, delivered the opening keynote address June 28 at the15th Meeting of the International Humic Substances Society on Tenerife, Canary Islands.

The conference, which continues through July 2, has brought together 250 of the world's top experts in humic substances, which are the primary organic components of soil and coal.

Hatcher, who is also director of ODU's College of Sciences Major Instrument Cluster (COSMIC) Laboratory, spoke on "Advances in the Non-Invasive Molecular Characterization of Humic Substances by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance (FT-ICR) Mass Spectrometry: A Revolution in Molecular Understanding."

Last year, the Humic Science and Technology XII Conference in Boston was dedicated to Hatcher for his groundbreaking work in organic and environmental geochemistry.

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.

The COSMIC Laboratory includes $3 million worth of instruments such as a 12-Tesla FT-ICR mass spectrometer and 400 MHz solid-state NMR spectrometer with the latest High Resolution Magic Angle Spin 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.

For more about the conference on Tenerife, visit http://www.ihss2010.org/.

This article was posted on: June 29, 2010

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