From the Terracotta Warriors to the Sistine Chapel, Dow has long played a role preserving and conserving the world’s oldest and greatest treasures. Since 2008, Melinda Keefe, Ph.D., has led Dow’s efforts in supporting these artful causes. All while navigating many other areas of coating science: polymer synthesis, paint formulation design, high-throughput coatings research, customer product development, art conservation science, and today a leader in the coatings business. Keefe, Senior R&D Manager with Dow Coating Materials, started out her undergraduate years as an art major before switching to chemistry. Since joining Dow in 2001, she’s found a way to merge both of her talents into one gratifying job. She specializes in paint formulation design and testing, with a portion of her time spent on efforts to improve art conservation. “I gravitated to this area because I like to paint,” she says. “And now I leverage what I know about house paint to benefit fine art.” After discovering the field of art conservation science well into her career, Keefe was thrilled to be offered a fellowship in 2008 at the renowned Tate Gallery in London. However, she wasn’t so thrilled about the prospect of leaving behind her job at Dow—not to mention, living a long distance from her husband. So Keefe told her boss about the dilemma and together they came up with a solution: A partnership between Tate Gallery and Dow to develop new methods and tools for the safe cleaning of important works of art. The Getty Conservation Institute, part of the J. Paul Getty Trust joined the effort too, and now all three entities work together to inform the larger art conservation community of new techniques.
Chemical Technology Chemical process engineering chemical safety and management reservoir engineering Chemical Engineering