The Northeast Region ACS Award for Achievements in the Chemical Sciences

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Prof. Maria Hepel

The Northeast Region established this award in 2008 to recognize notably outstanding achievements by a chemist in the Northeast Region. The award is conferred annually on a scientist who has made meritorious research contributions leading to the advancement of pure or applied chemistry. The work on which the nomination is based must have been carried out during a period of residence in the area encompassing the Local Sections that comprise the Northeast Region. A nominee must also be a member of the ACS and currently reside in the Region.


Maria Hepel
SUNY College at Potsdam
Chemistry Department
44 Pierrepont Avenue
Potsdam, NY 13676


Maria Hepel received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, a University with over 650 year history and famous alumni such as Nicolaus Copernicus. In 1980, she was invited to do postdoctoral research at SUNY Buffalo in Professor Robert Osteryoung’s research group. She then spent two years at Brooklyn College in the Physics Department with Professor Micha Tomkiewicz and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department.

She joined the Chemistry Faculty at the State University of New York at Potsdam in 1985 and is now a Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry. She published 144 papers including 13 invited papers to various Special Journal Issues, 30 book chapters and 1 book. Her papers received more than 1720 citations. In addition, she has served as an editor of two ACS Symposium Series books “Oxidative Stress: Diagnostics, Prevention and Therapy” and “Functional Nanoparticles for Bioanalysis, Nanomedicine and Bioelectronic Devices”. She made 367 presentations including 70 invited talks at professional meetings and Universities around the world. She organized/chaired many symposia at the American Chemical Society, Electrochemical Society and the International Society of Electrochemistry Meetings and was the Program Chair of the 2010 Northeast Regional Meeting of the ACS (NERM2010). In addition, she serves as a reviewer to more than 30 different journals and as reviewer of proposals to different funding agencies. She regularly reviews proposals submitted to NSF and has recently served on an NSF panel to review CCLI proposals. She is also a member of the editorial board of 5 international journals. Research interest: Her research interests are multidisciplinary and include nanotechnology, piezosensors and biosensors, effect of toxicants on DNA damage, oxidative stress, materials science, environmental remediation, electrochemistry and catalysis.

Teaching interests: She has taught Instrumental Analysis, Quantitative Analysis, Forensic Science, Advanced Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry labs and Advanced Honors Chemistry courses. In the past 25 years, she has supervised 240 research projects as CHEM 497 Research Problems and had on average 5-6 research students per semester. This activity was not counted towards her teaching load at SUNY Potsdam. Frequently, she takes her research students to professional meetings. Her research students gave 200 presentations at professional meetings or at local Learning & Research Fair conferences and co-authored 70 publications with her in peer-reviewed journals.

Under her leadership, the Chemistry Department received a Curriculum Development Grant to incorporate a research component into a regular class work under Title III Grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

Recent grants: During the last 3 years, she brought more than $800,000 in funding to SUNY Potsdam. She had a 3 year DoD grant to study oxidative stress and has been twice a recipient of the NSF-CCLI and NSF-TUES grants to purchase Raman Spectroscopy and AFM/STM equipment.

She has generously devoted many hours to popularize nanotechnology to students and faculty. She lectured AFM/STM and Raman spectroscopy to other science departments, trained other faculty and students and performed demonstrations of these advanced nanotechnology techniques to other classes in the Chemistry Department and for non-major classes and high school students.

In addition, her students had the opportunity to learn how to use the Electrochemical Quartz Crystal Nanobalance equipment and the Scanning Electron Microscopy. Through her grant activities, she has made the chemistry department a unique place to study chemistry.

Her research students: Three of her former research students have faculty positions (Dr. Cynthia Rice York at Tennessee Technological University, Dr. Matthew Skeels at St. Lawrence University, and Dr. Laura Foster-Heinworth at Emory & Henry College). Her other former research students have positions at national lab centers, analytical, pharmaceutical or forensic science labs, and as medical doctors or high school teachers.

Personal Information: Maria Hepel is married, her husband was forced to retire due to disability caused by kidney failure. She has two sons Miroslaw (computer-electronic engineer) and Jaroslaw (medical doctor with a specialization in radiation oncology) and four grandchildren.


2008   Dr. Abraham Clearfield - Texas A&M University

2009   Dr. Steven L. Suib - University of Connecticut - Storrs, CT

2010   Dr. M. Stan Whittingham - SUNY at Binghamton - Binghamton, NY