Dr. Shengqian Ma Recieves 2024 TAMEST O'Donnell Award | College of Science
January 10, 2024

Dr. Shengqian Ma Recieves 2024 TAMEST O'Donnell Award

A worldwide leader in nanoporous materials research, Shengqian Ma, Ph.D., Professor and Welch Chair in Chemistry, the University of North Texas, is the recipient of the 2024 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award in Physical Sciences from TAMEST. He was chosen for his innovative work in the field of decontamination.

In a time of growing concern for the Earth and humanity's ecosystem, Dr. Ma's work could have an incredibly important impact on environmental and energy sustainability. His research was primarily inspired by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April of 2010, which caused extreme ecological disaster, piquing his interests in water-related research. He began to search for solutions to remove oil from the ocean, aiming first to understand this very complicated environment.

Dr. Ma's most significant contributions come in his team's development of porous organic polymer (POP)-based nanotraps. These nanotraps can be used for a variety of applications that more effectively and efficiently clean up after an oil spill, removing mercury from water and treating nuclear waste. Further, the materials can also be used to store gas molecules, like methane, hydrogen or carbon dioxide.

His materials not only trap the toxic things in water but can be used to trap useful things as well, like extracting uranium from seawater and lithium from brine water and utilizing them for energy. According to Dr. Ma, the uranium in the ocean alone could be used to provide electricity for human beings for over 20,000 years.

"Dr. Ma's research is concentrated on figuring out how we can get the things we don't want to be exposed to out of the environment," said nominator Pamela Padilla, Ph.D., Vice President for Research and Innovation, University of North Texas. "I think he is creative and he's a great mentor for his students. Dr. Ma's work exudes enthusiasm and delivers results. He is highly regarded internationally within his field and there aren't enough positive words for Dr. Ma and his work."

Dr. Ma is one of five Texas-based researchers receiving the TAMEST 2024 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Awards. Each are chosen for their individual contributions addressing the essential role that science and technology play in society, and whose work meets the highest standards of exemplary professional performance, creativity and resourcefulness.

Dr. Ma will be recognized at the 2024 Edith and Peter O'Donnell Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, and will give a presentation on his research preceding the award ceremony at the TAMEST 2024 Annual Conference: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Austin, Texas, at the AT&T Hotel and Conference Center.

All are encouraged to attend the ceremony and the TAMEST Conference.

Watch the video about Dr. Ma's research here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmyCJXfoezE&t=105s

Via the Texas Academy of Medicine, Engineering, Science, and Technology