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Chemist Theis Wins International Research Award

Thomas Theis, assistant professor of chemistry

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has selected Thomas Theis, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, to receive a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award. 

Each year, the German foundation presents 20 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Awards to international academics in recognition of their research accomplishments. Recipients are awarded €45,000 and a sponsorship to complete a research project of their choice at a German institution, in collaboration with the institution’s specialist colleagues. The award is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 

Theis plans to complete his research stay at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany. He will work alongside Klaus Scheffler, who nominated him for the award. Scheffler is the Max Planck Fellow at the institute’s Department of High-field Magnetic Resonance and the director of the Department of Biomedical Magnetic Resonance at the University of Tübingen. 

Theis’ research combines traditional disciplines in chemistry, physics and engineering to overcome the sensitivity limitations of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by using so-called hyperpolarization techniques rather than strong magnetic fields. His “hyperpolarization chemistry” enhances NMR and MRI signals by up to six orders of magnitude and enables magnetic resonance technology to become portable and cost-effective.

Theis earned his doctorate in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012.

This post was originally published in College of Sciences News.