Elite Science

Nature as a test tube: Associate Professor Paul Abbyad uses water droplets to get a better insight into cells.

Elite Science
Associate Professor Paul Abbyad with the tools of his trade / Images by Jim Gensheimer

Here is some of what SCU research does: Track nanoparticles in the environment, develop sensors to penetrate cell walls, and use water droplets as tiny test tubes to run multiple tests on a single cell.

As of summer 2019, the University can boast five winners of the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. That’s when Paul Abbyad, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, became one of a handful of chemists earning the honor.

The award includes a $75,000 grant that will go to Abbyad’s research using microfluidics to sort cancer cells based on their metabolism, which could ultimately help better target therapies. It is research that at Santa Clara is powered by students.

“This award speaks of the great environment at Santa Clara,” says Abbyad. “We can, at the same time, emphasize quality teaching while performing solid research with undergraduate students.”

Previous recipients of the Teacher-Scholar at SCU award include Korin Wheeler in 2018, Amelia Fuller in 2017, Eric Tillman in 2009, and Mike Carrasco in 2004.

It is an exceptional achievement, says Terri Peretti, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences: “I am proud to be able to count our faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry among the best in the nation.”

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