Chris Ellison Wins AIChE Owens Corning Early Career Award

Assistant Professor Chris Ellison in the lab wearing a white lab coat and safety glasses.Chris Ellison, assistant professor, Frank A. Liddell, Jr. Centennial Fellow, and William H. Tonn Professorial Fellow in Chemical Engineering, has been selected for the 2014 Owens Corning Early Career Award by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

The award, presented annually by AIChE’s Materials, Engineering, & Sciences Division, recognizes outstanding independent contributions to the scientific, technological, educational or service areas of materials science and engineering for a faculty member under the age of 40.  Selection is based on nominations from leaders in the field.

“Chris has established a broad-based research program that addresses important problems in polymer science and engineering,” said Frank Bates, regents professor and chair of the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Department at the University of Minnesota. “He attacks fundamental engineering challenges that have significant technological consequences by exploiting an impressive array of experimental and analytic tools. Particularly noteworthy is his ability to make materials, along with probing and modelling the resulting structure, dynamics and properties.”

Ellison’s recent work includes the production of nanofibers and bio-renewable fibers for use in applications like regenerative medicine, filtration systems and protective clothing.  He also collaborated with Professor Grant Willson to develop a new combination of polymers to design ultra-thin films to increase the capacity of hard discs and the speed of microprocessors. Their collaborative work was recently featured in Chemical & Engineering News, making the May 2014 Issue cover.

“Chris has already achieved real breakthroughs even at this early stage in his career—exactly the sorts of materials-related work in discovery, research, process or product development that the Owens Corning Award seeks to recognize,” said Richard Register, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering Chair at Princeton University. “Moreover, I am absolutely confident that these are simply the tip of the iceberg, and that he has an exceptionally distinguished career ahead of him.”

Ellison will receive the award at the 2014 AIChE Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia in November.

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