Michael Prushan, Ph.D., ’96, launched his first scientific experiments as a child with a homemade chemistry set. Since joining La Salle’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2002, Prushan has sparked scientific curiosity in his students and has helped many to present their research at American Chemical Society conferences nationwide.
“I have seen firsthand that exposing students to research is where learning really takes place,” Prushan said. “It is when the student becomes a scientist.”
An inorganic chemist, Prushan has focused on two research areas. The first explores the role of metals in biology and how those metals participate in life. The second component, which builds on the first, investigates how complex systems assemble themselves. According to Prushan, simple materials create an ordered structure on their own, like the “building blocks of life.” These self-assembled, organized structures contain countless metal ions that create a molecule-sized magnet with possible storage applications.
“We’re exploring two questions with one research line and looking at a process,” he said.
In 2009, Prushan received the University’s first Palopoli Professorship, a three-year award to support Prushan’s research-related costs, such as travel to conferences, lab supplies, student stipends, and equipment. Tom Keagy, Ph.D., Dean of La Salle’s School of Arts and Sciences, said Prushan was chosen for the inaugural professorship for “his strong record of involving students in his research, together with his excellent teaching and service contributions.”