Albright Expatriate Builds Chemistry Career in Amsterdam
by Kevin Gray
At the center of modern chemistry — where the concepts and principles of all branches of chemistry converge — Trevor A. Hamlin, Ph.D. ’10 is building a distinguished career.
The Albright expatriate, who lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is a renowned professor, a prolific author and a sought-after international speaker.
Hamlin has established himself in theoretical chemistry, which furnishes fundamental understanding and insight into physical and biological processes. Theoretical chemistry, he explains, plays an integral role in modern chemistry programs in both academia and industry.
“State-of-the-art quantum chemical calculations can be leveraged to unravel the underlying mechanism of reactions and rationalize experimental observations,” Hamlin explains.
“These insights are critical to drive innovation and design more efficient and cost-effective chemical transformations.”
Hamlin moved to the Netherlands in 2015 to begin his postdoctoral training at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, which he completed in 2018. He then secured a tenured position at the university as an assistant professor of theoretical chemistry.
Currently, Hamlin teaches a wide range of courses in both the bachelor’s and master’s chemistry programs, including molecular computational chemistry, analytical nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, physical organic chemistry and more.
Hamlin feels his most significant accomplishments have been solving long-standing questions of a fundamental nature in the field of chemistry.
“These recent works are broadly applicable and are sure to have a long-lasting impact,” he says.
“They include explaining the ‘origin of the a-effect in SN2 reactions’ and providing ‘a unified framework for understanding nucleophilicity and protophilicity in the SN2/E2 competition.’ These are concepts that are taught during every organic chemistry course.”
However, even though he has published nearly 80 peer-reviewed papers and been an invited speaker at numerous universities and conferences, Hamlin considers the impact he has in the classroom the most gratifying in his professional career.
“By far, the most fulfilling part of my work is having the opportunity to empower my students with the confidence to advance the scientific field each and every day,” he explains.
“I strive to motivate my students to solve problems, which likely seem tough while they are doing them. But after they make a breakthrough and unravel the problem, I think they feel invincible. I am most proud in my professional career when my students go on to secure amazing academic and industrial positions.”
He attributes much of his own professional success to his “unrelenting work ethic and training at esteemed academic institutions under the supervision of inspirational mentors.”
“In particular, I consider myself lucky to have worked alongside Dr. Christian S. Hamann of Albright College as he helped foster a high level of academic rigor combined with a hearty desire to tackle basic concepts in chemistry,” Hamlin says.
“My experience at Albright equipped me with academic courses in an intimate setting taught by experts in their field and the opportunity to perform cutting-edge computational chemistry research as part of the Albright Creative Research Experience program with Hamann.”
A biochemistry major at Albright, Hamlin was a member of the golf team, academic chair of Pi Kappa Phi, interfraternity council president, student government vice president and teaching assistant for the chemistry department.
“My wife, Mary Kate (Brady) Hamlin ’11, is also an Albright graduate and we first met at a social mixer between Pi Kappa Phi and Phi Mu,” Hamlin says.
Mary Kate is currently a teacher at the IPS Almere International School. The couple welcomed their first child in August.
As Hamlin looks back on his own experience, it is evident that he values his role as a teacher as he shares his formula for success with today’s students.
“Surround yourself with people whom you profoundly respect,” he says, “and make yourself an integral and essential component to the functioning of your team.” View Dr. Hamlin’s general overview of theoretical chemistry.