- Swarthmore College, BA
- Stanford University, Chemistry, PhD
Sean Decatur received a BA from Swarthmore College (1990) and a PhD in biophysical chemistry from Stanford University (1995). From Stanford, he joined the faculty at Mount Holyoke College, where he was appointed the Marilyn Dawson Sarles MD Professor of Life Sciences and Professor of Chemistry in 2005, and served as associate dean of Faculty for Science from 2005-2008. Decatur joined Oberlin College as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in July 2008.
Decatur’s primary field of research is in the area of protein structure and protein folding. He has published many papers in this field, and his work is supported by grants from federal agencies (NSF, NIH) and private foundations (Dreyfus Foundation, Research Corporation, and Alzheimer’s Association). Decatur has received several national awards for his scholarship, including a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 1999, and a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in 2003.
In addition, he was named an Emerging Scholar of 2007 by Diverse Magazine. Decatur also has scholarly interests in the field of science studies, in particular the intersection of race and science in the United States, and he has presented several conference papers in this area. Decatur has taught a wide range of courses in chemistry, including introductory chemistry, physical chemistry, and biophysical chemistry. A strong proponent of the importance of undergraduate research and faculty/undergraduate collaborations in the sciences, he has mentored more than 55 undergraduate students on research projects.