Henderson Named Next Chair of Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Kenneth Henderson, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, will become chair of the department on July 1, 2009. Henderson, who came to Notre Dame in 2002, will oversee growth in the department’s faculty, research productivity and collaboration within the college and across the University at a time when, he says, the focus of the field is increasingly moving towards challenges requiring interdisciplinary solutions.

His own research is in the field of organometallic and materials chemistry. This work includes developing new chemical reagents for improving the efficiency of molecular transformations, and designing novel materials from the atomic level up for uses such as filtering pollutants from effluent streams and storage of hydrogen or other small molecules. “We create new matter with new specific properties,” he says. “Once you make them, you can apply them.”

Henderson, a native of Scotland and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of Strathclyde.  Before coming to Notre Dame, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University. In the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Notre Dame, he has served as director of graduate admissions from 2003-2006, director of graduate studies from 2006-2008 and associate department chair for the past academic year.