Two FSU chemists receive prestigious academic honor

Joseph Schlenoff and Michael Chapman

Two professors in FSU’s department of chemistry and biochemistry—Michael S. Chapman and Joseph B. Schlenoff—have been elevated to the rank of Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

In bestowing the honor, which was announced in the Oct. 28 issue of Science, the AAAS recognized Chapman "for fundamental studies of the structural biochemistry of large biomolecular complexes, relating to enzyme mechanism, and viral-host interactions relevant to vectors for gene therapy."

Schlenoff was cited "for significant contributions to the field of absorbed polymers and polymer thin films, particularly those made from multilayers of polyelectrolytes."

Naresh Dalal, chairman of FSU’s chemistry and biochemistry department, praised both professors as top researchers in their respective areas.

"Michael Chapman is one of the world leaders in the field of structure and function of large and complex biological systems such as those of viruses," Dalal said. "He is a rare example of someone with exceptionally good insight into both the theoretical and experimental aspects of structural biology."

Schlenoff, meanwhile, "has created a new field in polymer and nanochemistry: the design, chemical synthesis and molecular engineering of multilayered films of organic polymers," Dalal said. "He has clearly emerged as a world leader in both the fundamental as well as applied areas of polymer chemistry."

Schlenoff stated that he was honored to be recognized by the AAAS, but said some of the credit goes to others. "Actually, this is a reflection of the extremely high caliber of graduate students with whom I have been privileged to work over the past few years," he said.

With the addition of Chapman and Schlenoff, FSU now has 22 current and emeritus faculty members who are AAAS Fellows.

"One measure of the quality of a university is the number of professors who are acknowledged by their peers as being among the best in their field," said Kirby Kemper, FSU’s vice president for Research. "To have so many AAAS Fellows on our faculty speaks volumes about what FSU has achieved, and will continue to achieve, in the area of scientific research."

The AAAS ( is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, which, with an estimated total readership of 1 million, has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world.