Dr. James D. Batteas, D. Wayne Goodman Professor of Chemistry at Texas A&M University, has been designated a Regents Professor for 2020-2021 by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
Batteas, an expert in materials chemistry of surfaces and interfaces, is one of 12 A&M System faculty members who were nominated for the prestigious appointment, announced Thursday (Dec. 9) after being approved during the A&M System Board of Regents’ November 18 meeting held on the Texas A&M campus. Seven agency service, extension or research professionals within the A&M System also were recognized with the Regents Fellows Service Award.
The Board established the Regents Professor Award program in 1996 to recognize employees who have made exemplary contributions to their university or agency and to the people of Texas. To date, 280 faculty members have been named Regents Professors. Batteas ranks as only the eighth within the College of Science (Dr. Robert Clark, physics, 1998; Dr. Sherry J. Yennello, chemistry, 2007; Dr. Michael J. Benedik, biology, 2012; Dr. Harold Boas, mathematics, 2014; Dr. David Bergbreiter, chemistry, 2016; Dr. Nicholas B. Suntzeff, 2017; Dr. Clifford H. Spiegelman, 2019) to merit the honor. A ninth — Dr. Ryland Young, biochemistry and biophysics, 2016 — is a joint professor of biology.
Nominees must be full-time professors or senior-level professionals who have held that rank in the A&M System for at least five years and have produced a distinguished record of teaching, research and/or service. The selection process begins with a call for nominations from the chancellor, after which an internal selection committee is formed within each institution or agency. Final nominations are put forth to the chief executive officer of each respective entity and then subjected to a System-level review consisting of academic vice chancellors and past recipients of the awards. Finally, nominations are forwarded to the chancellor and the board for final approval.
Along with the perpetual Regents Professor title for the duration of their A&M System service, recipients are recognized with a commemorative medallion that is presented along with an inscribed nameplate and certificate encased in a hand-crafted wooden shadow box as part of a special ceremony, to be held in conjunction with an upcoming Board of Regents meeting.
“James Batteas has been an exceptional asset to Texas A&M University,” said Dr. Simon W. North, professor and head of the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry. “He has maintained a top-notch research program and contributed to the success of fellow Aggies at all levels, embodying the spirit of selfless service that underpins our way of life here. He is a teacher, a scholar and a dedicated faculty member in the service of our university, Texas and the world.”
Batteas joined the Texas A&M Chemistry faculty in 2005 and was appointed to the D. Wayne Goodman Professorship in 2019. In addition to being an affiliated faculty member in the Texas A&M Department of Materials Science and Engineering, he is director of the National Science Foundation Center for the Mechanical Control of Chemistry. He previously served as director of the Materials Characterization Facility (2013-2017) and associate dean for research in the Texas A&M College of Science (2017-2020).
Batteas earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1995 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University (1995-1996) before starting his independent academic career as a chemistry faculty member at The City University of New York (1996-2002). He then spent three years as a research chemist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (2002-2005) prior to coming to Texas A&M, where he leads an exceptional research program concentrating on the fields of surface chemistry and tribology — the study of friction and wear — that focuses on the bridge between chemistry and mechanics.
As a leader in exploring, understanding and controlling electron and energy transport in nanomaterials, Batteas and his research group specialize in designing new materials for nanoparticle catalysis and organic electronics, based on their understanding and ability to control friction on the atomic scale as part of their broader goal to address one of society’s most daunting challenges — energy conservation. Related projects span a broad range of fundamental surface and interfacial phenomena, including studies of charge transport in organic molecular assemblies on surfaces that are measured by scanning tunneling microscopy and modeled by density functional theory, nanoparticle catalysis, plasmonics, tribology, “smart” surfaces and self-organizing nanoscale materials for device applications in optoelectronics and chemical sensing. His more recent research in tribology has led his group to conduct atomic force microscopy studies of atomic scale friction and wear of oxides and 2D nanomaterials along with fundamental studies of mechanochemistry — the science of using mechanical force to initiate a chemical reaction.
A fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) since 2012 and a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Batteas has authored 113 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and reviews with nearly 6,600 citations to date and a current h-index of 45. He holds one patent and has delivered numerous invited and contributed oral presentations on his research, which has been continually funded since 2006 by grants from the National Science Foundation, The Welch Foundation and the Department of Energy.
Batteas’ past honors include the Society for Plastics Engineers Polymer Analysis Division’s Netzsch Instruments Frank Giblin Memorial Award in Polymer Analysis (2001), the CUNY Academy of Arts and Sciences Feliks Gross Endowment Award (2001) and the Research Corporation Research Innovation Award (1998). Equally accomplished in teaching and service, he has received the Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching at both the university (2017) and college levels (2013). A past chair of the local Texas A&M/ACS section, Batteas is an editorial board member for RSC Advances, the RSC’s first interdisciplinary research journal in the chemical sciences that he helped to develop and launch in 2011 and also sits on the editorial advisory board for ACS Central Science, the premier open-access journal of the ACS.
Since 2012, Batteas also has served as a faculty advisor for Texas A&M’s National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) chapter, earning a 2015 NOBCChE President’s Award for his service to the STEM community. Each summer since 2016, he has taught sessions on nanotechnology, tribology or both subjects as part of Texas A&M’s Youth Adventure Program, a series of one-week summer courses designed to encourage career exploration in fields of interest for gifted and talented high school students.
Find additional information on the Regents Professor Award and a list of past recipients.
# # # # # # # # # #
About The Texas A&M University System: The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $9.6 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 153,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy. To learn more, visit https://www.tamus.edu/.
Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or [email protected]