Long Luo was recently named Wayne State University’s first Carl R. Johnson Early Career Assistant Professor.
The endowed professorship was created to help the Department of Chemistry retain talented junior faculty. It was made possible by a gift from Johnson, who is a former chair of chemistry at Wayne State.
“I feel extremely honored and proud,” Luo said. “It is vital for Wayne State to have endowments like this because they help retain faculty and recruit outstanding external faculty. Faculty is essential to the success of our university.
“I had very brief interactions with Carl,” Luo continued. “He is wise and very friendly. We are truly fortunate to have a strong supporter like him.”
Johnson and Chair and Professor of Chemistry Matthew Allen first discussed the endowed professorship when Hien Nguyen was named WSU’s Carl Johnson/Pfizer Professor of Chemistry.
“I spoke with Matt Allen concerning my vision that the next endowed professorship project for the Department of Chemistry should be for the assistant/associate professor level,” Johnson said. “The goals would be to recognize outstanding early-career performance, to foster further significant achievements and to inspire the holder to remain at WSU.”
Allen agreed that faculty retention is critical.
“We want to make junior faculty feel appreciated at Wayne State and keep our very talented people here,” he said.
The award is for three years and includes funding for research.
“It comes with unrestricted research funds,” Allen said. “That’s some of the most difficult money to find. You can get grants to support research, but they’re usually for very specific items. Sometimes you need to send a student to a conference or get printer cartridges or spend money on things that you can’t buy on federal grants. Having this source of unrestricted funds is very valuable to a faculty member.”
Luo is a dedicated researcher and is focused on exploring new frontiers in electrocatalytic and electroanalytical sciences.
“This professorship provides flexible research funds that allow our laboratory to pursue new high-risk, high-reward research ideas,” Luo said. “Our group is interested in addressing the grand environmental, energy and health challenges of our time. We are currently focused on developing new electrochemical methods to synthesize functional materials and molecules, and building new electroanalytical tools for sensing, catalysis and pharmaceutical applications.
“My top goal is to develop our research program to be world-renowned in three years,” Luo added.
Allen observed that Luo is well respected in the chemistry department and a valuable member of the team.
“He’s an outstanding colleague everywhere it counts for a faculty member,” Allen said. “He’s a high-caliber researcher. He’s a great teacher. He’s a team player. He participates in the department and does service to the department and the university.
“He’s got tons of great ideas and a real energy for working with students and collaborating with other people in the department and outside the department,” Allen continued. “He’s great to work with and is very enthusiastic about research. Long’s very deserving and qualified.”