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   2017 CASSS Scientific Award Winner Robert Kennedy


Robert (Bob) Kennedy, distinguished Professor and Chair of Chemistry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA has been named the 2017 recipient of the CASSS Award for Outstanding Achievements in Separation Science.

CASSS gives this prestigious honor annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to separation science and technology, with particular consideration given to developments of new methods and techniques.

Kennedy earned a B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Florida intending to go on to veterinary school. However, during his undergraduate, he found research to be his chief interest and chose to pursue a PhD in chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He continued on as a post-doctoral fellow at North Carolina and returned to the University of Florida as a professor of chemistry for 11 years before moving to Michigan. 

Dr. Kennedy's interests are analytical chemistry and its application to neuroscience, endocrinology, and biotechnology, and his publications have been cited over 10,000 times, having an h-index of 59 (web of science), with 22 publications cited more than 100 times each.

He has made seminal contributions to many forms of capillary separations, micro- and nano- sampling, ultrafast separations, and single cell measurements. His developments are numerous, including:

• hyphenated techniques such as microseparations and electrochemistry coupled to fluorescence microscopy, microdialysis, mass spectrometry, and other approaches 
•improved capillary separation / mass spectrometric approaches for peptide characterization (peptidomics), small molecules (metabolomics), and used these approaches to define cell-cell signaling in the brain
•innovative microfabricated devices for efficiently collecting cellular releasates and separating and assaying them

In placing Kennedy in nomination for the award, a colleague wrote, "As head of his own research group, Bob Kennedy continues to influence the field of chemistry, especially analytical separations and neurochemistry. He has also mentored young faculty at the University of Michigan and is pushing the analytical division there into one of the best in the world."

The Kennedy Group has tended to focus on problems that demand the development of new analytical methods. Therefore, the group has developed instrumentation that couples sampling probes to capillary electrophoresis, capillary chromatography, mass spectrometry, and microfluidic assays for monitoring neurotransmitters in vivo, along with use of rapid electrophoretic and mass spectrometric assays as novel approaches to high-throughput screening. Kennedy says, "When you get an idea for a question, ideally it's one where the instrumentation is not yet available or fully developed so you can start to think about developing a solution."  These methods have been used for studying changes in neurotransmitter concentrations associated with behavior and diseases. The group has also developed sensors and microfluidic devices for monitoring insulin secretion from pancreatic b-cells.  These methods are coupled with metabolomics to understand the biochemical mechanism of insulin secretion and perturbations associated with diabetes. 

Kennedy's work has been recognized by several awards including, but not limited to two MERIT Awards from the NIH, Rackham Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, McKnight Award for Technical innovations in Neuroscience, Eastern Analytical Symposium Award for Separation Science, Marcel Golay Award for Lifetime Achievement in Capillary Chromatography, Ralph Adams Award in Bioanalytical Chemistry and ACS Chromatography Award.

In spite of these accomplishments and recognition, Dr. Kennedy is still most proud when his students graduate with a nice dissertation and the start of a new career...and being named on the Power List.





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