University of Pittsburgh
January 29, 2003

Pitt Chemistry Professor Honored by Local Chemical Society

Contact:  412-624-4147

January 30, 2003

PITTSBURGH—Pitt Chemistry Professor Sanford A. Asher received the 2002 Pittsburgh Award from the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Established in 1932, the award honors distinguished service to chemistry in the Pittsburgh community through contributions to increasing chemical knowledge, promoting industry, benefiting humanity, or advancing the Pittsburgh section. The award was presented Jan. 27 to Asher at the Pittsburgh section's banquet at the Sheraton Station Square, Pittsburgh.

Asher's research at Pitt has involved developing new materials and new spectroscopic techniques. He and his colleagues developed ultraviolet (UV) resonance Raman spectroscopy as a technique for studying molecules in complex matrices. They are using UV resonance Raman spectroscopy to examine the first stages in protein folding.

Asher's research group recently pioneered the development of photonic crystal materials, which allow such optical devices as optical switches and filters and novel chemical sensing materials to be developed. One of the applications of this work is using these photonic crystal chemical sensing devices to measure glucose levels in tear fluid. The glucose sensor is part of a contact lens, and diabetic patients could determine their glucose concentration by looking in a mirror to see the color of the sensor.

In addition to making scientific contributions, Asher has participated in Pittsburgh professional societies such as the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh, the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh, and the ACS Polymer Group.

He also served as chair of the XVth International Conference on Raman Spectroscopy, held in Pittsburgh in 1996. Asher also served as codirector of Pitt's Materials Research Center.