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New Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Chair

Jaron Hansen.jpg

Dean Grant Jensen of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences is pleased to announce that BYU has appointed Dr. Jaron C. Hansen as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry starting July 1, 2022. Hansen will replace David V. Dearden, who has served as department chair since 2016.

“Jaron is an extraordinarily talented teacher, researcher, mentor, and innovator," said Jensen. "He is loved and respected by everyone in his department: students, junior faculty, senior faculty, and staff.”

Jensen continued: “I appreciate the personal sacrifice Professor Hansen has agreed to make to help the department and college move forward in becoming an 'Everest of Education.'1 We aspire to provide the best undergraduate education in chemistry and biochemistry in the world—I'm confident that Jaron will be a strong force moving us in that direction.”

Hansen's research involves improving the understanding of atmospheric and environmental chemical processes through focused laboratory, field, and computational studies. His lab also works to improve anaerobic digestion methods for enhanced production of biogas and the degradation of environmental pollutants. Additionally, he is a co-founder of Verde, a company that specializes in optimizing renewable energy.

"The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is well-run and has a strong track record of success," said Hansen. "I look forward to building on the strengths of our department."

Hansen joined the BYU faculty in July 2005. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Utah State University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Purdue University. He was a postdoctoral scholar at California Institute of Technology in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Hansen received the BYU Class of 1949 Young Faculty Award in 2015, the BYU Technology Transfer Award in 2017, and the BYU Karl G. Maeser Excellence in Teaching Award in 2018. He also was a winner in the Emerging Venture Competition sponsored by the Energy Commercialization Center in 2013.

As part of the transition, Jensen acknowledged the great leadership and effort of outgoing chair, David Dearden. "Being a department chair is a selfless gift to colleagues, BYU, and the Lord," he said. "We deeply appreciate the enormous service David has given over the past six years."

1 Spencer W. Kimball, “The Second Century of Brigham Young University,” devotional given at Brigham Young University, October 10, 1975. Available at