Sean M. Decatur
American Museum of Natural History
Leadership, Policy, and Communications
Educational and Academic Leadership
Decatur trained in biophysical chemistry. In his independent work at Mount Holyoke, he showed that selective incorporation of stable isotopes into the amide bond in proteins could decouple the interactions among amide bond vibrations in the infrared spectrum. Known as "isotope editing", this elegant approach provides local structural information, most notably in aggregates related to fibril formation in human diseases. During this time, Decatur's career shifted towards academic administration, initially as Dean at Oberlin College, and most recently as President of Kenyon College. Decatur has emerged as an academic leader with broad influence, particularly for small liberal arts institutions.