Peppas Selected For American Chemical Society’s Applied Polymer Science Award

Nicholas Peppas stands outside the Biomedical Building at UT AustinProfessor Nicholas Peppas has been selected for the 2014 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Applied Polymer Science for his pioneering work on the development and implementation of polymer networks and hydrogels for biomedical applications.

Nicholas Peppas is the Fletcher Stuckey Pratt Chair in Engineering and a professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Department, and the College of Pharmacy. He is also chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department.

“Professor Peppas has a unique talent of achieving significant fundamental insights into polymer materials fabrication and modification, polymer thermodynamics, polymerization kinetics and transport behavior,” said nominator Chris Bowman, University of Colorado distinguished professor in chemical and biological engineering. “He then applies this knowledge to the development of improved materials, material performance and biomedical devices that have practical impact.”

Peppas’ research in polymer hydrogels forms the basis for the design of biocompatible materials and devices for the controlled release of drugs and biological therapeutics. Such devices, which for example can “protect” proteins like insulin during their transport through the harsh environments of the stomach and upper small intestine, can vastly improve diabetics’ lives by eliminating their need for multiple daily injections.

These technologies also enable new therapies for diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer. Peppas’ research has also led to the development of intraocular lenses and materials for cartilage replacement, artificial heart linings, and vocal cord reconstruction, which has helped more than 45,000 patients to date.

His contributions have led to more than twenty medical commercial products and he has more than 1,300 refereed published manuscripts and more than 56,000 citations of his work.

“The value of Peppas’ ability to apply polymer science to a wide variety of bioengineering fields has been internationally recognized by several societies, making him one of the preeminent polymer scientists of our time,” said Bowman. “His record places him at the absolute top of his peers in this generation of polymer scientists.”

A formal announcement of all 2014 ACS national award recipients appeared in the September 9th issue of Chemical & Engineering News. The Applied Polymer Science Award is sponsored by Eastman Chemical Company.

Professor Peppas will be honored at an awards ceremony Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in conjunction with the 247th ACS National Meeting in Dallas, Texas.

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