TU selects Timothy Brunker as third Fisher endowed chair

Timothy Brunker, of Pikesville, Md., assistant professor of Chemistry, has been selected as the third recipient of the Jess & Mildred Fisher Endowed Chair in Biological and Physical Sciences. His three-year appointment began on August 17.

As holder of a Jess and Mildred Fisher Endowed Chair, Brunker will receive a monetary award of $15,000 for each of three years that may be used for, but is not limited to, a summer faculty stipend, professional travel, research equipment and supplies, and undergraduate student research support.

Brunker holds both the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Chemistry from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. Before arriving at Towson University in August 2008, Brunker served as lecturer in chemistry at Boston University, as a visiting assistant professor of chemistry at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Mass.) and as a postdoctoral research scholar at Dartmouth College.

Brunker’s research focuses on the synthesis of novel chiral metal complexes and their potential applications as chiroptical molecular switches. Chiral molecules are those that can exist in both left-handed and right-handed forms — they behave identically in almost every way, except they can display different chemical properties if they interact with other chiral molecules. This behavior allows the design and synthesis of chiral molecules that can be switched back and forth, making them potentially useful for the storage of digital information.

As one of the Fisher Endowed Chairs, Brunker intends to use the money to support two projects on novel chiral metal complexes he initiated since arriving at Towson. He also plans to use the money to provide undergraduate student stipends for summer research, and to purchase equipment which will expand the type of experiments and measurements that he, his students and colleagues are able to perform.

The Jess and Mildred Fisher Endowed Chair in the Biological and Physical Sciences was established in June 2005 as part of a $10.2 million gift to the College of Science and Mathematics from the Robert M. Fisher Foundation. Its purpose is to honor the memory of the Fisher family by incorporating research opportunities into the undergraduate learning experience through the support of the scholarly growth of highly promising faculty researchers in the physical and biological sciences who are in the early stages of their careers at Towson.

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