Lawrence K. Duffy, PhD

Lawrence K. Duffy, PhD | Professor | The University of Alaska Fairbanks

An accomplished educator, administrator, leader, and impactful mentor for many generations of students, Lawrence K. Duffy, PhD has dedicated more than 50 years to shaping and strengthening young minds across institutes of higher learning—primarily the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he has excelled as a professor of chemistry and biochemistry since 1992. Prior to this appointment, he served as an instructor of general and organic chemistry at Roxbury Community College from 1984 to 1987, an advanced biochemistry instructor at Harvard Medical School from 1983 to 1987, and a research assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch from 1980 to 1982. He launched his illustrious career at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1969, serving as a teaching assistant in the Department of Chemistry for three years before serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 1971 to 1973 and then returning to be a research assistant for the university’s Institute for Arctic Biology from 1974 to 1977.

In addition to his current role, Dr. Duffy has excelled in various capacities at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, demonstrating his expertise as head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry from 1994 to 1999, associate dean for Graduate Studies and Outreach within the College of Natural Science and Mathematics from 2000 to 2006, and interim dean of its Graduate School and Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007 to 2012, during which time he was also active as co-leader of the Graduate Studies Area at the University of the Arctic. Between 2013 and 2020, he served as director of the institution’s Resilience & Adaptation Program. Attributing his success to his own mentors throughout his life, Dr. Duffy has found it most rewarding within his career to be able to mentor others, especially encouraging disadvantaged students into chemical science careers; it’s something he plans on continuing to do in the future and for as long as possible.

Outside of his primary endeavors, Dr. Duffy has been affiliated with several organizations, lending his efforts as the coordinator of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for Summer Undergraduate Research Program from 1987 to 1996, president of the Faculty Senate at the university from 2000 to 2001, member of the Curriculum Advisory Board for Fairbanks North Star Borough School District from 2002 to 2004, director of the Alaska Basic Neuroscience Programs from 2000 to 2012, member of the curriculum advisory board for Ilisaguik College from 2014 to 2020, and member of the advisory board for the Air Pollution Control Commission from 2004 to 2022. A member of the Knights of Columbus since 2003, his many past memberships include the American Society of Circumpolar Health and American Institute of Chemists—serving as president for both—American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, and New York Academy of Sciences. Aside from education, he has also contributed as a member of the Institutional Review Board at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and the science advisory board at the American Federation for Aging Research, and for the Alzheimer’s Disease Association of Alaska, he served as its president for a year and a member of its board of directors for eight years. In addition, Dr. Duffy has contributed on the editorial boards for Science of Total Environment and Advanced in Clinical Toxicology.

As a testament to his achievements in the field, Dr. Duffy has amassed several accolades over the course of his career, including an Analytical Chemistry Award from the American Chemical Society in 1969; a Faculty Scholar Award from the Alzheimer’s Association in 1987; a Mentoring Certificate of Merit from the National Institute for Deadness & Commission Disorders within the National Institutes of Health in 1996; a Service Award from the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District in 1998; and an Alumni Achievement Award and a Chancellors Diversity Award from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1999 and 2011, respectively. His work has also granted him a Carol Fiest Outstanding Adviser Award in 1994, 1997, and 2005, a Sven Neuroscience Service Award in 2007, an Excellence Interdisciplinary Science Award from the Western Alabama Interdisciplinary Science Conference in 2012, an Irish Educator Award from Irish Voice in 2013, and a Bullock Award from the University of Alaska, among others.

Dr. Duffy prepared for his professional journey by earning a Bachelor of Science from Fordham University in 1969 and subsequently obtained a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1972 and 1977, respectively. With degrees in hand, he continued his education as a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University and the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, and then completed postdoctoral coursework at the University of Texas Medical Branch and Harvard Medical School.

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