Four UT Dallas Scientists Win Grants Totaling $600,000

Four researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas received grants totaling $600,000 from the Houston-based Welch Foundation, which annually funds basic research by Texas chemists.

The four scientists – three from the Chemistry Department, the other from the Molecular and Cell Biology Department – each received grants of $150,000. The grants bring to $640,000 the total funding UTD researchers have received from the Welch Foundation so far in 2001. Currently, 10 scientists at the university are being funded by the foundation.

The grants were part of nearly $22.5 million in new and renewal grants by the foundation to 135 scientists at 27 Texas institutions.

“The Welch Foundation has always been a key factor in our success in chemistry at UTD,” said Dr. Richard A. Caldwell, dean of UTD’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and a professor of chemistry. “We are grateful for the latest round of funding, which affirms the continuing importance of the chemistry research being conducted by our faculty and staff. This funding will enable our research efforts to continue to be conducted at a high level.”

Following are the UTD Welch Foundation grant recipients and the titles of their respective research:

  • Kenneth J. Balkus, Jr., professor or chemistry, “Zeolite Encapsulated Metal Complexes.”
  • Michael C. Biewer, assistant professor of chemistry, “Preparation of SAMs with Organic Phtocromic Component.
  • Donald M. Gray, professor of molecular and cell biology, “CD of DNA Structures Having High Affinity for Ff Gene 5 Protein.”
  • John W. Sibert, assistant professor of chemistry, “Ortho­ and Meta­ ‘Wurster’s Crowns:’ Synthesis and Study of Phenylenediamine-Based Redox-Active Macrocycles.”

Gray said he was grateful for the Welch Foundation support, “because it allows the freedom to undertake basic research, unlike federal grants that are often targeted to specific research projects.” He indicated that the $150,000 grant will permit him to fund the services of a post-doctoral student and “to pursue research that would otherwise not be possible.”

Sibert, who has been at UTD just seven months, said the availability of Welch Foundation grants to Texas chemists played a role in his decision to relocate here from North Carolina.

The Welch Foundation was established in 1954 by the estate of Robert A. Welch, an oil and minerals entrepreneur. In addition to funding basic chemistry research at Texas colleges and universities, the foundation also sponsors a wide array of conferences, lectures and scholarly programs to further chemistry education and research at the junior high school, high school and college levels in Texas.

Since its inception, the foundation has made grants to researchers at U.T. Dallas totaling $7.1 million.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls approximately 6,500 undergraduate and 4,500 graduate students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit its web site at

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].