September 2, 2014  

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Heinhorst Named Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Chair

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Dr. Sabine Heinhorst

Dr. Sabine Heinhorst, a faculty member at The University of Southern Mississippi since 1987, has been named chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. 

Heinhorst came to Southern Miss as a research associate professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1998. In 2005, she was named the Thomas Waring Bennett Distinguished Professor in the Sciences.

“I am very appreciative of the support I have received from faculty and staff of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry,” said Heinhorst. “I look forward to leading the department toward establishing itself as a model in the region for the quality and diversity of its faculty and student body, and for its success in preparing its undergraduate and graduate students for the demands of an ever evolving job market.” 

Prior to her appointment at Southern Miss, Heinhorst worked at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology as a postdoctoral fellow from 1982 to 1987.  Prior to Roche, she earned her diploma in biology and pre-diplomas in biology and chemistry from the Universität Hamburg in Germany.

Heinhorst is actively engaged in biochemistry research focusing on the biochemistry of organelles in autotrophic organisms. Together with long-term collaborator Dr. Gordon Cannon, she has pursued research on DNA metabolism and maintenance in chloroplasts of higher plants and, more recently, is focusing on the biochemistry and genetics of bacterial CO2 fixation.

While at Southern Miss, she has co-authored 43 peer-reviewed publications and has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on approximately $20 million in externally funded research grants.  Currently, her research is supported by two grants from the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Joe B. Whitehead, Jr., dean of the college of science and technology said Heinhorst has distinguished herself as a researcher and educator at USM while supporting pre-college, undergraduate and graduate students in her research.  “Dr. Heinhorst has been an outstanding faculty member,” said Whitehead.  “I look forward to working with her to further develop research and educational opportunities in the chemical sciences at Southern Miss.”   

Heinhorst’s scientific doctoral work was published in the prestigious journal “Nature.”  Since 1992, she has held continuous three-year appointments to the editorial board of the scientific journal “Analytical Biochemistry.” 

For more information about the Southern Miss Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, visit www.usm.edu/chem/