ASU professor recognized nationally with Teacher-Scholar Award

May 7, 2020

Gary Moore, an assistant professor in Arizona State University's School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied Structural Discovery, has just been named one of 14 young faculty nationwide to be honored with a 2020 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

The Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program supports the research and teaching careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences. When choosing its teacher-scholars, the foundation seeks those who demonstrate leadership in both research and education. As a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, Moore will receive an unrestricted research grant of $100,000. Since its inception in 1970, the Teacher-Scholar program has awarded over $45 million to support emerging young leaders in the chemical sciences. Gary Moore Assistant Professor Gary Moore from the School of Molecular Sciences and the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Applied Structural Discovery. Photo by Mary Zhu Download Full Image

“Gary Moore and his group are doing truly innovative molecular science to address societally important problems in energy conversion and for the production of industrially important materials. They build multifunctional nanoscale materials that work at hard/soft matter interfaces to catalyze a wide range of useful chemical processes,” said Ian Gould, interim director of the School of Molecular Sciences, which is part of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “In recent years, the junior faculty members in the School of Molecular Sciences have had an extraordinary record of achievement, and Professor Moore is an exemplar in this regard.”

“I am honored to receive this support from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation and look forward to making continued contributions to advancing knowledge and education in the chemical sciences," Moore said.

Moore is also a Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute for Sustainability scholar and guest faculty at Berkeley Lab. He received his doctorate from ASU under Professor Ana L. Moore in 2009, then spent two years as a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Energy Fellow at Yale University working with Gary W. Brudvig and Robert H. Crabtree before starting an independent research career at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

Moore’s group uses chemistry to build nanoscale materials that are fundamentally interesting and address societal challenges. Research themes include the transduction of solar energy, the synthesis of new materials to catalyze a range of chemical transformations of industrial importance, the design and preparation of novel hard-to-soft matter interfaces, and development of a general improvement in our understanding of molecular structure and function relationships.

The materials and chemical assemblies developed in Moore’s laboratory resemble components of natural biological systems that carry out similar chemical processes. Thus, nature often provides inspiration and design considerations for the structures they build and the chemistries they develop. Conversely, the artificial constructs offer opportunities to better understand the detailed mechanisms of their biological counterparts.

Moore has a passion for chemistry that is evident from the very first classes students take with him. He lectures on technical concepts in a logical and effective manner, and also addresses scientific topics in a context that brings students a level of cultural relevance to the subject matter that is rarely found in chemistry classes.

Since joining ASU, Moore has developed and taught a new course titled Solar Energy Conversion. The course covers topics in photoelectrochemical processes and techniques. Integrating core chemistry concepts with societal applications provides motivation for active learning.

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation is a leading nonprofit organization devoted to the advancement of the chemical sciences. It was established in 1946 by chemist, inventor and businessman Camille Dreyfus in honor of his brother, Henry. The foundation seeks to support the advancement of chemistry, chemical engineering and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances around the world.

Jenny Green

Clinical associate professor, School of Molecular Sciences


Juggling parenting, caregiving and work in the face of changing times

ASU professor rebrands what it means to be in midlife

May 7, 2020

People in midlife can be parents, grandparents, caregivers for aging parents and breadwinners — all at the same time. Yet even though they make up a large percentage of the population and workforce, these adults are the least studied by psychologists.

Arizona State University’s Frank Infurna is working to change that and, in the process, to overturn common misconceptions about midlife. He wrote an op-ed for The Conversation and collaborated with psychologists from Humboldt University Berlin and Brandeis University to publish a summary of midlife in the May 7 issue of American Psychologist.  Associate Professor Frank Infurna. Image by Robert Ewing Download Full Image

“We are working to rebrand midlife to be defined by the many roles people play, the life transitions they are going through and the opportunities and challenges they face,” said Infurna, who is an associate professor of psychology. “This period of the lifespan is the least studied by developmental psychologists. That needs to change.”

Instead of an age range like 40 to 65 years, the researchers suggest that midlife needs to be defined based on how people juggle jobs and caregiving roles while aging themselves. Midlife is also often associated with how some might go through a midlife crisis — marked by a red sports car, elective cosmetic surgery or marriage to someone younger. But only 10%-20% of people in midlife make such abrupt changes to their lifestyle. 

“The midlife crisis is popular in our cultural narrative, but it is basically a myth,” Infurna said.

Video by the ASU Department of Psychology

Much of the support for the importance of the midlife crisis comes from studies that have assessed the well-being of people at just one point in time, instead of following them for a period of time. When psychologists have assessed the well-being of people in midlife over a period of time, they find well-being is high and stable.

At a time when people in midlife juggle the roles of parent, grandparent, caregiver and breadwinner, they can also begin to experience chronic disease or cognitive decline because of their age. The research team wrote about how convergence of these responsibilities and aging requires the development of interventions to promote social engagement and physical and mental health and to reduce caregiving stress. They also described policy changes — like paid family leave and the expansion of health care coverage and reduction in its costs — that are needed to ease the burdens of midlife.

Midlife is not all stress and aging though; it is the period of life when many are in leadership positions and experience their peak earnings. 

“It is imperative that people in midlife are well taken care of — these people play very important roles in society and in the family,” Infurna said.

Science writer, Psychology Department