Dean Breneman

A Message from the Dean

Our society has a tendency to view science through the lens of technology - the wondrous capabilities of a smart phone, the marvel of GPS navigation, or the thundering ascent of a rocket. In fact, when the phrase "Rocket Scientist" entered our lexicon in the heyday of the NASA Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions it appeared to be a misnomer; "Rocket Engineer" might have seemed more accurate. But when you look more closely, the original term is appropriate because the innovations that enabled each of these technologies (and many others) were built on a long history of fundamental scientific discoveries. As you can see from these examples, there is an inseparable relationship between science and engineering, just as there is between necessity and invention - one in which science creates new opportunities for engineering, and engineering innovation stimulates the extension of scientific discovery.

At Rensselaer, we recognize that inseparable relationship, and we have a long-standing culture of collaboration between all schools and a unified vision of "Applying Science to the Common Purposes of Life". In the School of Science, that interdisciplinary tradition has positioned us to tackle today's global challenges in the areas of nanotechnology, energy and the environment, biotechnology, and computation and information technology. We prepare you to succeed on the frontiers of science under the instruction of our world-class faculty and through our innovative research centers and facilities. Whether it is through the use of IBM's Watson for Big Data research, solving the mysteries of Alzheimer's disease, or creating a new model for predictive preservation of Lake George, the School of Science at Rensselaer leads the way in advanced research and provides opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate student participation. It is an exciting time to be a part of the School of Science at Rensselaer.

Join us and change the world.

Curt Breneman
Dean of Science
Professor of Chemistry & Chemical Biology

About the Dean

Dr. Curt Breneman, a tenured full professor in the School of Science, joined Rensselaer in 1989 and served as Acting Head of the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology Department from 2010-2012, and then Head of the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology from 2012 until June 2014. Dr. Breneman's research is in the field computational chemistry and predictive cheminformatics, with emphasis on both computational drug discovery methodology and materials informatics methods. His materials informatics work led to his being an advisor to the White House OSTP/NIST Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) program. Dr. Breneman is founder and Director (2005 - present) of the interdisciplinary School of Science-based Rensselaer Exploratory Center for Cheminformatics Research (RECCR).

Dr. Breneman has published more than 100 journal articles, 16 book chapters, numerous refereed conference proceedings, and holds a patent on his molecular property descriptor technology ("PEST") which has been licensed by several major pharmaceutical companies. His "RS-Predictor" drug metabolism method is currently in use across the drug discovery industry, and his "YAMS" materials informatics software has been supported by the ONR and licensed by a major aerospace company. Dr. Breneman's "CHELPG" atomic charge algorithm was used to parameterize several major molecular force-fields is an integral part of the Gaussian series of quantum mechanical software which is used by thousands of universities and companies worldwide. His 1990 CHELPG paper has been cited more than 3700 times. Dr. Breneman has graduated 22 Ph.D. students during his academic career at Rensselaer.

Dr. Breneman is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and served the ACS Division of Computers in Chemistry as both Treasurer/Fundraiser for ten years, and then as Chair of the Division in 2010.

Dr. Breneman received his B.S. in Chemistry from UCLA and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara for his work in Physical Organic Chemistry. Immediately prior to joining Rensselaer, Dr. Breneman performed postdoctoral research at Yale University in the field of theoretical and computational chemistry.