Carnegie Mellon University's Eckard Münck Receives National Award from American Chemical Society-Mellon College of Science - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, September 11, 2006

Carnegie Mellon University's Eckard Münck Receives National Award from American Chemical Society

Chemist Responsible for Seminal Insights on Metal-Based Catalysts

PITTSBURGH—Eckard Münck, professor of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University, has won the 2007 Alfred Bader Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS) for "outstanding contributions to bioinorganic chemistry." He will receive the award at the ACS meeting this March in Chicago.

Münck is being recognized for his pioneering work on the biophysical properties of metalloproteins, which include important enzymes that catalyze reactions essential to life. In many cases, his results — published in more than 200 papers — represented breakthroughs in determining the structure and function of metalloproteins. Such metal-containing proteins constitute roughly one-third of the proteins in our bodies and are responsible for life-sustaining activities, including general metabolism, blood oxygenation, toxin breakdown and DNA repair.

Münck's research has also established Mössbauer spectroscopy as a potent tool for studying proteins that contain complex iron centers. Using this technique and others, Münck has unraveled the electronic structures of metal clusters in numerous iron-sulfur proteins and iron-oxo enzymes. Through this work, his laboratory has rendered highly precise molecular and electronic pictures of the active centers of enzymes in their resting and active states.

"Eckard's contributions to bioinorganic chemistry have resulted in the creation of a vibrant interdisciplinary field, one that has established permanent bridges between physics, chemistry and biology," said Chemistry Professor Richard D. McCullough, dean of the Mellon College of Science.

"Eckard's work has helped establish the Department of Chemistry's international reputation," added Hyung Kim, professor and head of the Chemistry Department.

Münck joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty in 1990. He earned his doctorate in physics at the Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany) in 1967 and has held faculty positions at the University of Illinois and the University of Minnesota. He collaborates with more than 20 groups worldwide and has mentored many graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He is a member of the ACS and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

By: Lauren Ward