University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

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14th Annual Chemistry Graduate Student

Research Symposium

June 2, 2015

University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota


Timothy W. Abraham, Ph.D.
Senior Principal Scientist, Cargill Inc.

Timothy "Tim" Abraham, Ph.D., received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka, and he pursued graduate studies in organic chemistry at the University of Minnesota. His doctorate adviser was the late Professor Edward Leete, whose research focused on the biosynthesis of natural products. Subsequently, Abraham was a post-doctorate researcher with Professor Rick Wagner in the Medicinal Chemistry Department, working on the synthesis of haptens for catalytic antibodies targeting antiviral and anticancer drugs.

In 1996, Abraham joined Ambion Inc. in Texas as a senior scientist, where he worked on developing kits for the isolation and analysis of RNA. He moved back to Minnesota in 2000, and joined the Process Solutions Technology Development Center at Cargill Inc. as a senior scientist. He has risen through the ranks and is now a senior principal scientist.

Abraham's research at Cargill has spanned applications from food and animal feed to industrial chemicals from renewable resources. He has more than 20 issued patents and more than 20 pending patent applications. In 2014, Cargill awarded Abraham the Bassy Award for Outstanding Technical Leadership, which "recognizes and honors individuals at all levels of the organization who consistently exemplify the attributes of the Cargill Leadership Model and have over their career provided significant contributions to the Research and Development Job Family."

Daniel LeCloux, Ph.D.
Global Technology Manager, DuPont Microcircuit Materials

Daniel LeCloux, Ph.D., is responsible for worldwide research and development investment for DuPont Microcircuit Materials (MCM), a leading developer and manufacturer of specialized thick film compositions, including DuPont™ Solamet® photovoltaic metallization pastes that help improve the power output of solar cells and panels. He directs project selection, and the execution and management of technical resources. He has 10 years of research management experience creating and leading large, multidisciplinary project teams in corporate and business groups, and has more than 50 issued patents within the chemical and electronic markets.

He began his career with DuPont in 1998 as a research chemist, and held a variety of technical and leadership positions in research and product development within DuPont Displays. In 2011, he worked as an associate researcher and development director for Dow Chemical in Core R&D (homogeneous catalysis). He rejoined DuPont in 2014 in his current role.

LeCloux received his doctoral degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota. He is based in Research Triangle Park, NC.

Terry B. Smith, Ph.D.
Technical Director, Corporate Research Materials Laboratory

Terrance "Terry" P. Smith, Ph.D., has worked in industry for more than 30 years. He began his career at 3M in the Graphic Research Laboratory, developing products for the emerging digital imaging markets. Since this time, Smith has held a variety of technical and management positions in 3M and a 3M Spin-off, Imation Corporation. Most of his career has been spent managing the development of materials, processes and products for the imaging, display, health, energy and electronics fields. His work has resulted in more than 20 publications and more than 30 U.S. patents.

Smith's most recent assignment has been as technical director of the Corporate Research Materials Laboratory (CRML). The CRML is approximately a 260-person lab with locations in the United States (Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Austin, Texas), Japan, China and Germany. The mission of the CRML is to develop new technologies that provide a sustainable competitive advantage for all of 3M's business units. The CRML has strong programs in adhesion science, renewable materials, nanotechnology, ceramics, catalysis, nanofabrication, fluorochemical materials and energy materials.

Smith received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1977, and earned his doctorate from the California Institute of Technology in 1982 under the tutelage of Professor Harry Gray. He also spent two years as a post-doctoral affiliate at Stanford University in the laboratory of Professor Henry Taube.

Janet L. Zuffa, Ph.D.
R&D Director, Polymer and Analytical Sciences, Masonite Corporation, Masonite Innovation Center

Janet L. Zuffa, Ph.D., is research and development (R&D) director for the Polymer and Analytical Sciences Group at Masonite Corporation. She leads the research programs in the development and application of polymer technologies including foams, coatings, adhesives and composites for the development of new doors and door products. She is also responsible for the analytical sciences research area, which provides analytical expertise to solve manufacturing issues and develop new technologies.

Prior to this, Zuffa was R&D director for Bisco, Inc., leading a group of chemists and engineers in the development of new dental adhesives, composites, etchants, and cements. She was responsible for revamping the design control, risk management and biocompatibility evaluation procedures, and for providing guidance in the implementation of all three. Zuffa's career began at the Amoco Chemical Company, where she worked in the area of new product development as both a scientist and on the business development side. Her focus was on innovation and the "fuzzy front end" of product development. She implemented several programs geared toward collaboration and idea generation. After the merger with BP, she worked in the alpha olefins group and on an initiative for recycling oxygen scavenger-containing polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Zuffa earned her doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota, and a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Evaluation Forms

  • Judges Evaluation Form (PDF)
  • Audience Evaluation Form (PDF)