Sanford A. Asher, BA 1971 has been selected as one of five UM-St. Louis alumni to receive a 2004 Distinguished Alumni Award. The award will be presented at the 13th Annual Founders' Dinner on Thursday, September 23, at the Ritz-Carleton St. Louis. Sandy is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburg and Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University, and has been very successful in his almost 25-year career there. Sandy received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award at the University of Pittsburgh in 1996, the Bomen Michelson Award of the Coblenz Society in 1998 and the American Chemical Society Pittsburgh Award in 2003. He was the UM-St. Louis Department of Chemistry's inaugural Distinguished Alumni Lecturer in 1988.
He received a BA in chemistry through the Evening College and did all of his work at UM-St. Louis while he worked full time at Petrolite, Inc. in St. Louis. He was a favorite of former dean Joy Whitener and Joy used to look forward to Sandy's coming to the office to chat before class. Sandy received a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1977 and served as research fellow in applied physics at Harvard between 1977 and 1980, prior to joining the University of Pittsburg. During his career he has published almost 200 articles in refereed journals and is regularly invited to lecture at other universities and at national and international conferences.
A feature on MSNBC in 2003 described work done in Sandy's lab on the measurement of glucose levels by contact lens. Sandy and his students are trying to create a chemical sensor at the edge of the lens that can be worn by everyone, even those who don't need vision correction, and will be useful for the detection of diabetes. Sandy and his research group have developed the sensor material for the lens, secured the patent on the technology and have investors lined up for a startup company. Some of the developmental work is described in Anal. Chem. 2003, 75, 2316-2323 and J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 3322-3329