Frank Leibfarth, an assistant professor of Chemistry, has recently been selected to receive the Young Investigator Prize, YIP, from the Army Research Office. YIP awards are one of the most prestigious honors bestowed by the Army on outstanding scientists beginning their independent careers. The objective of the YIP is to attract outstanding young university faculty members to pursue fundamental research in areas relevant to the Army, to support their research in these areas, and to encourage their teaching and research careers.
The Army Research Office bestowed Professor Leibfarth this award for his work making plastics with emergent properties from readily available building blocks. To accomplish this task, the Leibfarth group is seeking to use concepts derived from the stereoselective synthesis of small-molecule pharmaceuticals and apply them to the production of next-generation plastics. The three-year award will provide $360,000 to fund research on developing new synthetic methods toward these materials and testing their properties for applications in high-value composites, blends, adhesives, and more.
In addition to the Army Research Office YIP, Professor Leibfarth has also received the Air Force Office of Scientific Research YIP and the 3M non-tenured faculty award in his nascent career. His laboratory in the Chemistry Department in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences focuses on developing synthetic approaches toward next-generation soft materials and studying their emergent properties.