Lea Hildebrandt Ruiz Receives AIChE’s Environmental Division Early Career Award

Lea Hildebrandt Ruiz, assistant professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, has been awarded the 2020 Environmental Division Early Career Award by the American Institute of Chemical Engineering.

Hildebrandt Ruiz’s research focuses on atmospheric chemistry and the effects of physical and chemical processing of pollutants on human exposure in indoor and outdoor environments. Much of her work is conducted through UT Austin’s Center for Energy and Environmental Resources, which is directed by fellow Texas ChE Professor David Allen.

Hildebrandt Ruiz is an expert in the use of state-of-the-science mass spectrometric instrumentation to conduct policy-relevant and fundamental chemical research. She has lead several measurement campaigns in indoor and outdoor environments and projects focused on laboratory chamber experiments. Most recently she led an NSF-funded study to determine which disinfectants work best with which face masks to minimize exposure to chemical byproducts created during cleaning processes to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The quality of Hildebrandt Ruiz’s research has been recognized by research grants from private, federal and state organizations including the Welch Foundation and the U.S. National Science Foundation, including an NSF CAREER award. She received a B.S. with honors in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Environmental Track) and a Ph.D. in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

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