Emilio Bunel named new head of Argonne's Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division

By Jared SagoffNovember 25, 2008

ARGONNE, Ill. — Emilio Bunel has been named director of the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division at U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory.

"I decided to give myself four weeks to get to know my division," Bunel said. "I want to have a feeling of what is important for this organization and what is important for the individual groups."

Bunel received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1988. He began his professional career at DuPont Central Research as a member of the Catalysis Group. He was responsible for the discovery and subsequent development of new processes for the synthesis of Nylon intermediates required in the manufacture of Nylon-6,6 and Nylon-6.

In 2001, Bunel was hired by Eli Lilly to establish the Catalysis Group within the Discovery Research Organization. This group was responsible for the preparation of organic compounds using transition metal catalyzed reactions. The molecules prepared spanned all the aspects of the pharmaceutical endeavor from early lead optimization to process development.

In 2003, he became an associate director at Amgen, Inc. His work included the establishment of the Catalysis Group in support of route selection/process development efforts to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients for clinical testing. Most recently, Emilio was employed as the director of research at Pfizer, Inc., where he directed the Catalysis Group in support of medicinal chemistry and process development.

After spending so many years in industry, Bunel decided to get back to where science is discovered and not just used. Argonne has a talented group of scientists and engineers, but with funding shifting to applied science, the division must tailor itself to that atmosphere. He also emphasized the importance of having a strong basic research program as well.

"If you don't have basic research you don't have anything," Bunel said. "The beauty of being at a place like Argonne is the possibility to go from basic to applied, but applied research doesn't exist without basic research."