Texas A&M University chemistry graduate Dr. Lane A. Baker, former James F. Jackson Professor of Chemistry at Indiana University, has been appointed as a full professor in the Texas A&M Department of Chemistry and as the inaugural holder of the Dr. Carl D. McAfee ’90 Endowed Chair in Analytical Chemistry, effective March 2022.
Baker, who is renowned as one of the world’s preeminent analytical chemists, relocated in January along with members of his research group to Texas A&M, where he previously earned his Ph.D. in chemistry in 2001 working with former Texas A&M chemist Dr. Richard M. Crooks. Baker’s research focuses on nanoscale electrochemical methods for analysis and imaging, with specific emphasis on new routes to high-throughput electrochemical analysis useful in studying phenomena at biological interfaces as well as both materials and environmental science.
“Analytical chemistry plays a foundational role in the Department of Chemistry’s vision for the future by aligning potential departmental strengths with dynamic opportunities in the field,” said Dr. Simon W. North, professor and head of Texas A&M Chemistry. “Dr. Lane Baker is a transformational leader in both analytical chemistry and measurement science who will serve as an anchor for our aspirations in developing enabling technologies and emerging cross-cutting toolsets that expand our vision of chemical processes.”
Baker received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Missouri State University in 1996. After earning his doctorate at Texas A&M, he completed two postdoctoral appointments — a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associateship studying scanned probe microscopies with Lloyd J. Whitman at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC (2001-2004), followed by a subsequent appointment studying nanopore membranes and single nanopore platforms with Charles R. Martin at the University of Florida (2004-2006) — prior to beginning his independent academic career at Indiana in 2006. He has been the James F. Jackson Professor of Chemistry in the Indiana Department of Chemistry since 2014.
The $1 million McAfee Chair in Analytical Chemistry was created through the Texas A&M Foundation in November 2021 by combining a lead gift from Debbie and Dr. Carl D. McAfee ’90 of Kennedale, Texas, with supplemental funds from the Thomas W. Powell ’62 Endowment Fund. Dr. McAfee, who earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at Texas A&M under the mentorship of longtime Texas A&M chemist and former department head Dr. Emile A. Schweikert, is founder and president of McAfee Consulting LLC, a Fort Worth-based firm that specializes in recycled plastics and sustainable polymers. Before starting his own business, McAfee worked as a technical director at Chase Elastomer Corporation and as a project leader at The Dow Chemical Company.
“A key component of recruiting distinguished faculty to Texas A&M is resources to support their research programs,” said Dr. Valen E. Johnson, dean of the College of Science and a distinguished professor of statistics. “We are extremely grateful to the McAfees for their generous investment in Texas A&M Science, which ensures both now and into the future that we have the ability to attract leading scientists like Dr. Lane Baker, who will directly result in the elevation of our standing as a first-class chemistry program and have maximum impact on current and future Aggies.”
Already in his relatively young academic career, Baker has been recognized with a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2009), a Cottrell Scholar Award (2009), a Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry Young Investigator Award (2012), election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2012), and most recently the highly prestigious American Chemical Society Division of Analytical Chemistry Award in Electrochemistry (2021) and election as an ACS Fellow (2021).
“I am very excited to come back to Texas A&M, and the chance to be associated with Dr. McAfee is both an honor and an opportunity that was key to coming home,” Baker said. “Carl’s real-world problem-solving skills in industrial chemistry settings are something we hope to enhance in our student training in measurement science and analytical chemistry at Texas A&M. I’m very bullish on what we can accomplish in the near future and long term.”
To learn more about Baker and his research, visit https://bakergrp.org/.