Barnes named Packard Fellow

Jonathan Barnes, assistant professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, was among 18 leading young researchers across the United States honored Oct. 16 as a 2017 Packard Fellow.

He is the 10th faculty member at Washington University to receive this prestigious fellowship in the program’s 29-year history — and remains dazed by it all.

“There are about three or four chemists nationally each year to get named,” Barnes said. “It’s a huge honor. If you look down the list of the previous fellows, it’s actually humbling to be part of that list. There are people who have been Nobel laureates. People who will be Nobel laureates.”

“This is a well-deserved recognition of an outstanding young scientist, and I could not be more impressed and delighted,” said Barbara Schaal, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor. “It’s particularly gratifying to see this award go to a chemist as we are in the midst of an exciting investment in, and transformation of, that department.”

Schaal noted the university’s “strong track record now with this career-changing-fellowship,” with three consecutive Packard Fellows: Barnes; Gregory Bowman (2016), assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the School of Medicine; and Arpita Bose (2015), assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences.

There have been four in the past seven years, dating to David Fike (2010), director of environmental studies in Arts & Sciences and associate director of the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (InCEES). Another previous winner, Jonathan Losos (1994), currently at Harvard University, was named last month to head Washington University’s new Living Earth Collaborative. Still another, Provost Holden Thorp (1991), personally sent Barnes a congratulatory email. “That felt cool,” Barnes said.

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