Inside Rensselaer

Professors Breneman, Crivello, and Moore Named ACS Fellows

* Curt Breneman James Crivello James Moore
Curt Breneman James Crivello
James Moore
Three Rensselaer professors of chemistry and chemical biology have been named 2011 fellows of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Professors Curt Breneman, James Crivello, and James Moore have been recognized by the ACS for their “outstanding achievements in and contributions to Science, the Profession, and the Society.”

“All three of these scientists have brought a lasting legacy of achievement in chemistry, materials science, and polymer synthesis. Combined, they have taught and studied at Rensselaer for well over three-quarters of a century,” said Rensselaer Provost Robert Palazzo. “We are exceptionally proud of their achievements and look forward to their continued advances ineverything from drug discovery to sustainable new materials.”

The 2011 ACS fellows were honored at a special ceremony during the ACS National Meeting in Denver on Aug. 29.

Curt Breneman is currently the acting department head of chemistry and chemical biology. He is also the director of the Rensselaer Exploratory Center for Cheminformatics Research (RECCR) and a member of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. His research focuses on understanding and predicting the behavior of molecules in a variety of environments. One of his most important contributions to the field is the development of an entirely new kind of molecular modeling called the Transferable Atom Equivalent, or TAE, method. The method allows quick and accurate reconstruction of molecules, including those used for new drug discovery. The process enables large databases of potential drug or new material molecules to be scanned for important properties such as reactivity with the body or undesirable side effects.

Breneman joined Rensselaer in 1989. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

James Crivello has been issued or has pending more than 23 patents since joining the Rensselaer faculty in 1988. Crivello is widely recognized for inventing some of the world’s most advanced polymers. Polymers that Crivello has synthesized have implications for energy conservation, coatings, microelectronic circuits, composites, and membrane separations. His major areas of research encompass novel polymer development, polymer initiators, block polymers, and metal-catalyzed ring-opening polymerizations. He is a member of the New York State Center for Polymer Synthesis at Rensselaer.

He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Aquinas College and doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Notre Dame. He joined Rensselaer after a 22-year career at the General Electric Global Research Center.

James Moore seeks to develop new materials that advance discovery in biotechnology and microelectronics. His work also strives to develop greener and more energy-efficient materials by using waste products to develop new polymers. His major areas of research include the creation of polymers through vapor deposition, the development of new macromolecules called dendrimer polyelectrolytes that efficiently separate proteins for research, and the development of new polymers that use materials such as waste cellulose, starch, and feed stocks as their raw materials. His research earned him the Presidential Green Chemistry Award in 1999 for his work using paper sludge waste products to build new materials.

Moore joined Rensselaer in 1969. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. John’s University and his doctorate in organic polymer chemistry from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. He is also a member of the Center for Polymer Synthesis and the RECCR.

Additional information about ACS fellows is available at

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 13, September 9, 2011
©2011 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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