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Innovation & Startups

Pittsburgh's Terry Collins wins $100,000 Heinz Award for groundbreaking green research

Green chemistry pioneer Terry Collins of Carnegie Mellon University has received a prestigious Heinz Award, placing him in the company of rock stars from around the world recognized for their work in addressing serious threats to the environment.

A scientist, professor and researcher, Collins was thinking green long before it was fashionable. He was the first educator in the country to teach "green chemistry" in the early 1990s and went on to develop a sustainable chemistry curriculum through the Institute for Green Science (IGS), training scientists to think holistically in the development of compounds that detoxify hazardous chemicals.

An outspoken critic of industrial practices that cycle endocrine disruptors into the environment, Collins is creating catalysts that will destroy everyday pollutants that disrupt normal cellular development. The CMU startup company, GreenOx Catalysts, Inc. is working to commercialize the catalysts, called TAML activators, developed at IGS.

"Dr. Collins has pioneered efforts to detoxify extremely hazardous substances, like anthrax and widely used pesticides," says Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation. "His efforts to eliminate pollution and train the next generation of scientists will leave a lasting impact on the planet for years to come."

The honor comes with a $100,000 award for unrestricted use. Collins joins nine others who will be honored in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 15 including James Balog, whose Extreme Ice Survey has documented through photographs the devastation of global warming, and Frederick vom Saal, the man who uncovered health problems linked to the chemical BPA.

"The Heinz Award for the Environment is the most wonderful acknowledgement that I could imagine of my work in developing new ways to purify water and to advance green chemistry," says Collins. "I will treasure this honor for the rest of my life."

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Writer: Debra Diamond Smit
Source: Teresa Heinz, The Heinz Family Foundation

Picture of Terry Collins copyright Jonathan Greene

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