2017 George R. Pack Award for Most Outstanding Chemistry Ph.D. Dissertation

In Dec. 2017, Department of Chemistry held a ceremony to honor two recent graduates with the George R. Pack Award. The award is named after a former department chair.
2017 George R. Pack Award for Most Outstanding Chemistry Ph.D. Dissertation

2017 George R Pack Award

In Dec. 2017, Department of Chemistry held a ceremony to honor two recent graduates with the George R. Pack Award. The award is named after a former department chair. First awarded in 2014, The George R. Pack Award was established by colleagues, family and friends in his memory to recognize Dr. Pack’s achievements in building the research program of both Chemistry and the University and his appreciation of the key role of graduate students in the research process.

This Year's Award Recipients

Andrew Haddad, PhD

Andrew Haddad, PhD
An IRTI-Rosenfeld postdoctoral fell in the Energy and Technology division of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab working under the supervision of Ashok Gadgil. As a member of the Gadgil lab, Andrew has been developing low cost, highly porous materials for the removal of fluoride from groundwater. Previously, he worked in the laboratory of Craig A. Grapperhaus, PhD and Robert M. Buchanan, PhD at the University of Louisville, receiving his PhD in inorganic chemistry in May 2017. Andrew's graduate work focused on development and mechanistic investigation of inorganic electrocatalysts for hydro evolution and hydrogen oxidation. Upon graduation he received the John Richard Binford Memoral award for outstanding scholarship and leadership. Andrew is a first author on four papers, and a co-inventor of three provisional patents. Prior to graduate school, he obtained his B.A. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from the University of Louisville. Andrew is the sone of Zahi and Deborah Haddad, and hails from Georgetown, Kentucky.

Shenzong Liang, PhD

Shenzong Liang, PhD
Shengzong Liang obtained his B.S in Shanxi University in China in 2006. He obtained his M.S in Hunan University in China in 2009. Then he worked in Pharmaron company in China on pre-drug synthesis from 2009-2011. In 2012, he joined professor G.B.Hammond's group, working on gold nanoparticle catalyzed organic transformation. In May 2017, he obtained his Ph.D and continued his research as postdoc researcher in professor G.B.Hammond's group. He is working now on halogenation of organic molecules.

Previous Award Recipients


Rafael Masitas, PhD
Mentor: Francis Zamborini, PhD
Thesis Title: The Unique Electrochemical Reactivity of Small Metal Nanoparticles
Current activities: Postdoctoral research with Dr. Zachary D. Schultz of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame. Research focus: experiments and data analysis related to analyte identification in flowing solutions using surface-enhanced Raman scattering.


Ralph Knipp, PhD
Mentor: Michael H. Nantz, PhD
Thesis title: Triggered Release of Small Molecules from Solid Supports Using Heat or an Applied Magnetic Field
Current activities: Postdoctoral Research Associate at Syngenta Crop Protection, Process Studies Group, under the guidance of Dr. Linhua Wang.


Deepika Malhotra, PhD
Mentor: G. B. Hammond, PhD
Thesis title: Expanding the Frontier of Gold Catalyzed Cyclizations and Rational Ligand Design
Current activities: Postdoctoral Research Associate at PNNL, Energy and Environment Directorate, Advanced Synthetic Chemistry Group, focused on developing transformational solvents for CO2 separations.

About Dr. George R. Pack (1946-2013)

Dr. Pack received his PhD from State University of New York at Buffalo in 1973. He spent his postdoctoral career at University of Rochester, New York University Medical Center, and Stanford University. In 1978, he began his career as Professor of Biophysics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

Dr. Pack joined the University of Louisville Chemistry Department in August 1998 as Professor (tenured) and Chair. Dr. Pack's dedication to research and establishing a robust graduate program is evidenced with a few statistics. Nineteen faculty were hired between 1999 and 2010; those hires now make up 57% of the Department's current faculty membership. During the years 2004 to 2014, the department conferred 58 doctoral degrees. These represent students that would have entered the program during Dr. Pack's tenure as Chair.

In 2007, he was appointed Associate Vice President of Research under the Executive Vice President of Research & Innovation. Dr. Pack fulfilled this dual role of AVP of Research and Department Chair until 2010, when he stepped down as Chair to continue as Associate Vice President of Research full-time until his passing in 2013.

The George R. Pack Award for Most Outstanding Chemistry PhD Dissertation was established by colleagues, family, and friends to recognize in perpetuity Dr. Pack's role in growing a vigorous departmental research program, his contributions to the University's research environment, and his appreciation of the key role that graduate students provide in the research process.

The George R. Pack Award Endowment is funded by gifts from Family, Friends, and Colleagues

Dr. Richard Baldwin • Ms. Linda Baumann • Mrs. Margaret Brown • Dr. Florence Brunel • Drs. Robert & Rhonda Buchanan • Ms. Lydia Burkett • Ms. Cathy Carter • Chemistry Graduate Student Association • Dr. Lionel Cheruzel • Ms. Holly Clark • Dr. Christopher R. Cunninham • Mr. & Mrs. Joseph (Diane) Dailing • Dr. Donald B. Dupre & Dr. M. Cecelia Yappert • Mr. Brent Fryear • Dr. G.B. Hammond & Ms. Mari Mujica • Ms. Sabrina Haug • Mrs. Rebecca Higgins • Ms. Carla Hilse • Mr. David King, JD • Mr. & Mrs. Richard (Rita) Liebheit • Mr. Charles Maisch • Dr. Muriel Maurer • Dr. Michael H. Nantz & Ms. Jody Renner-Nantz • Dr. Eugene Mueller • Mr. and Mrs. Thomas (Geri) Pack • Dr. Sasha D. Pack & Ms. Emilie Pack • Ms. Lydia Pack • Ms. Patty Pack • Dr. William M. Pierce, Jr. • Mr. Daniel Reynolds • Dr. Christine Rich • Dr. & Mrs. K. Grant (Carla) Taylor • Dr. David Taylor • Dr. Helge Toufar • Dr. Charles Trapp • Upstate Internal Medicine and Pediatrics • Dr. Russell J. Vandenbroucke • Mrs. Linda K. Ward • Drs. Richard & Barbara (McLaughlin) Wittebort • Dr. & Mrs. James (Mitzie) Wittliff • Dr. Xiang Zhang & Ms. Xinmin Yin