UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering Professor Michael Tsapatsis Wins Major Award

AMHERST, Mass. - Michael Tsapatsis, an assistant professor in the chemical engineering department at the University of Massachusetts, has been awarded a 1998 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. The $60,000 award was presented to just 20 young chemistry or chemical engineering faculty across the country this year. He was also recently awarded the College of Engineering Outstanding Junior Faculty Award.

Tsapatsis’s main research interest is in minerals called zeolites, which work as sieves at the molecular level. These sieves have been used as catalysts and filters in industry for several decades, primarily in the petrochemical industry, in the form of powders. Tsapatsis is studying ways of synthesizing zeolites in the form of ultra-thin ceramic films. These films would be used in the petrochemical and microelectronics industries.

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation established the teacher-scholar awards program to strengthen the teaching and research careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences. Based on nominations from colleges and universities, the program was designed to provide discretionary funding to faculty at early stages in their careers. Criteria for selection included a commitment to education and an independent body of scholarship that signaled the promise of continuing outstanding contributions to both research and teaching. The award stipulates that $5,000 be earmarked for undergraduate education.

Tsapatsis has previously won a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and designation as a Packard Fellow in science and engineering. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Patras in his native Greece. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the California Institute of Technology before joining the UMass faculty in 1993.