CSU chemistry professor receives prestigious Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award

For the first time in 20 years, a Colorado State University professor is the recipient of one of the nation’s top teaching and research prizes in chemical sciences, which includes a $100,000 research grant.

Garret Miyake, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awardee

Garret Miyake, an associate professor of chemistry, is the first individual in two decades at CSU to be named a 2019 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. Miyake was recognized for his work “Harnessing the Power of Light: Light-Driven Syntheses and Reflective Materials.”

The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation award this honor to faculty, within the first five years of their academic careers, who are committed to education and have created an outstanding independent body of scholarship. Awardees are selected based on independent contributions to research in chemical sciences, engineering and education.

Miyake joins 12 other individuals from institutions such as New York University, Princeton University, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, among others, as Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars. Each awardee will receive an unrestricted research grant of $100,000.

“It’s humbling to receive this recognition because many of my chemistry role models such as my postdoctoral adviser, Robert Grubbs, and mentor, Richard Finke, have previously won this award,” Miyake said. “I’m also proud to receive an award that recognizes teaching. Both of my parents were teachers, and I’ve spent my whole life believing that teaching is the most important job in the world.”

Miyake, who earned his Ph.D. from CSU, joined the faculty of his alma mater in the fall of 2017, leading the Miyake Group’s polymer chemistry research. Miyake completed his postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology and spent three years as an assistant professor at the University of Colorado.

Miyake’s research group is finding ways to use and control light to drive chemical transformations; a process that traditionally uses heat. As the title of his work suggests, reflective materials have been a focus for Miyake, who started a new company called Cypris Materials last semester for heat reflective window paint. The visually transparent paint can be put on the inside of a window to prevent heat from coming into the building.

Last semester, Miyake also launched a company called New Iridium, which makes organic photocatalysts — molecules that can absorb light and use that light energy to drive chemical transformations.

“Having these funds is really enabling because they are unrestricted, which will allow us to work on new problems, specifically geared toward sustainable energy,” he said.

Each year, universities can nominate one person from their college for this honor. Previous Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar awardees from CSU include Yian Shi in 1999, Ellen Fisher in 1998, Peter Dorhout in 1997, and Branka Ladanyi in 1983.

Established in 1946 by chemist Camille Dreyfus, this award honors his brother, Henry. The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation is a nonprofit organization devoted to the advancement of chemistry, chemical engineering and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances around the world. Learn more at https://www.dreyfus.org/2019-camille-dreyfus-teacher-scholar-awards/.