Wilfredo Colón Named Associate Dean
Wilfredo (Freddy) Colón, professor of chemistry and chemical biology, has been named associate dean for research in Rensselaer’s School of Science.
In this new position, Colón will oversee all School of Science-based research efforts, including the development of new interdisciplinary research programs. He also will direct the school’s accelerated B.S./Ph.D. program and its graduate programs in multidisciplinary science and applied science.
“School of Science research programs are a cornerstone of our contribution to changing the world for the better. Research also strongly impacts our educational mission, giving our students career-shaping, hands-on experience with cutting-edge discovery and innovation.”— Laurie Leshin
“School of Science research programs are a cornerstone of our contribution to changing the world for the better,” said Laurie Leshin, dean of the School of Science. “Research also strongly impacts our educational mission, giving our students career-shaping, hands-on experience with cutting-edge discovery and innovation. Freddy Colón has earned national recognition for his contributions to research and his commitment to mentoring students and encouraging them to pursue careers in science. That, in combination with his experience as a program director at the National Science Foundation, made him the logical choice to enable research-related activities within the school.”
Colón joined the Rensselaer faculty in 1997. His research focuses on understanding the biological and pathological roles of protein hyperstability, as well as understanding how protein misfolding and aggregation lead to inflammation-related diseases. Many diseases—including Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and prion diseases—are linked to abnormal protein folding and aggregation.
His work has earned him numerous awards, including the 2010 American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences, the Rensselaer Early Career Award, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, an NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award, a Research Corporation Innovation Award, an American Heart Association Scientist Development Award, and a New Faculty Award from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.
Colón is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2008 and 2009, he served as a program director at NSF, where his responsibilities included serving as director of the Chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates Program, facilitating the review and funding of proposals at the chemistry-biology interface, and the creation of a new chemistry program—Chemistry of Life Processes. He has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Texas A&M University.