Name: Bettye LS Maddux
Area of Study / Position Title: Managing Director, Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (CSMC)
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): I’ve always been interested in math and science. It was easier for me than English or History. I didn’t realize just how much, until my high school physics class conflicted with band. So, I dropped band to study science. Initially, I focused on marine science, so my B.S. is in zoology and physiology. After graduating, I moved to Texas and worked as a technician in a cancer research lab for a few years. I respected my boss and his work, so when I decided to go to graduate school, I stayed in his lab and got a Ph.D. in chemical carcinogenesis. Thus, began my transition from marine science to biophysics / biochemistry.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? I manage a large Center for Chemical Innovation grant funded by the National Science Foundation. The CSMC explores new solution-based methods for producing very high-quality thin films and patterns as building blocks for these next-generation devices. Check us out here: http://csmc.us I work closely with our business center and NSF on the Center’s budget; organize group meetings, conferences, workshops and help coordinate outreach events. I basically try to keep things running smoothly. It’s a very busy Center. I also collaborate with faculty in Chemical and Biological Engineering on a research project in my spare time. We have a grant to study diatoms. Diatoms are marine or freshwater algae that have silicon (glass) shells. The goal of our project is to harness the biosynthetic capacities of algae to make unique and valuable co-products in addition to advanced biofuels in scalable photobioreactor systems. So, I guess you could say that I’ve come back around to marine science.
One thing you truly love about your job? I love being part of cutting-edge research that advances technology without harming the planet.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I also worked as a forensic scientist. I was a firearms and tool-mark examiner.