Justin Walensky, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
University of Missouri-Columbia
Dr. Justin Walensky joined MU’s faculty in 2011 and has already been granted early tenure for his accomplishments. In addition to teaching introductory and advanced chemistry classes, he has revived a dormant line of research at the MU Research Reactor using actinides, studying how electrons are bonded between two atoms. The research may lead to new breakthroughs in how to recycle spent nuclear fuel.
“Justin has helped revive Missouri’s long tradition in actinide chemistry that goes back to at least the early 1960s,” Professor Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt of Florida State University wrote. “His program significantly strengthens Missouri’s world-recognized program in radiochemistry and nuclear medicine. It is clear that Justin’s productivity in the research laboratory is difficult to match.”
In his area of expertise, he is known for a strong publication record with more than 30 publications in high-impact journals, constant recognition for his research with more than $3 million in external funding, a commitment to teaching and mentoring and a solid service record serving on several campus committees and as associate chair for undergraduate studies.
“Justin brings a unique combination of synthetic and computational tools to bear on important problems in his field, and does both with equal rigor. His methods are very creative and allow him to solve problems with actinides in ways that no one else in his field can,” wrote Professor and Department of Chemistry Chair Timothy Glass in a nomination letter. “Based on his many accomplishments in such a short period of time, his significant funding and his novel ongoing work, we expect that Justin will continue to have great impact on his field.”