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Polymer Chemist Wins AkzoNobel Award

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

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The ability to tailor make finely tuned materials for specific applications one molecule at a time has earned a Carnegie Mellon researcher AkzoNobel's first North America Science Award and a $75,000 prize.

Internationally recognized polymer chemist Krzysztof "Kris" Matyjaszewski, Ph.D., the J.C. Warner Professor of the Natural Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University's Mellon College of Science, is the first recipient of the award, given by AkzoNobel and the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Photos: Carnegie Mellon University

Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Ph.D., is the first recipient of AkzoNobel's North America Science Award, which is also given by the American Chemical Society.

Matyjaszewski developed Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP), which allows scientists to easily form polymers by piecing them together with monomers. Assembling polymers this way has created a wide range of tailored applications, from coatings to bone regeneration.

Outstanding Contributions

AkzoNobel established the award in 2012 in collaboration with ACS to recognize outstanding scientific contributions by an individual in chemistry and materials research conducted in the U.S. or Canada.

"We have honored individuals for their innovative contributions to scientific research for more than 40 years with the AkzoNobel Science Award," said Graeme Armstrong, executive committee member for Research, Development, and Innovation at AkzoNobel.

"We are privileged to recognize Professor Matyjaszewski and will continue to acknowledge those who are undertaking big, innovative research that can deliver tomorrow's answers today," said Armstrong.

The AkzoNobel Science Award was first presented in the Netherlands in 1970, and then extended to Sweden in 1999, China in 2010, and the U.K. in 2012.

Matyjaszewski will receive the $75,000 cash award and certificate of recognition at the spring 2013 ACS National Meeting and Exposition being held in New Orleans April 7 to 11.

Piece-by-Piece Polymers

Developed over the last 15 years, ATRP is used to make polymers and copolymers for adhesives, sealants, pigment dispersants, and other applications. It is also being evaluated for bone regeneration, coatings for cardiovascular stents, drug delivery, and other biomedical applications, according to ACS.

According to the Matyjaszewski Polymer Group at CMU, the technology provides "the ability to tailor make finely-tuned materials for specific applications one molecule at a time."

Matyjaszewski developed ATRP, which allows scientists to string together monomers in a piece-by-piece fashion in order to form polymers for very specific applications.

ATRP controls polymer composition and architecture through temperature adjustments and other conditions and with the help of a catalyst that adds one or a few monomers at a time to a growing polymer chain. The method allows scientists to easily form polymers by putting together monomers in a controlled, "piece-by-piece fashion."

"The main reason for this explosive development is the simplicity of ATRP and the unusual power to prepare tailor-made macromolecules for many special applications," said Guy C. Berry, an emeritus professor of chemistry and polymer science at CMU.

The Matyjaszewski Polymer Group currently consists of 15 graduate students, five postdoctoral fellows, two visiting researchers, two visiting students, and one visiting assistant professor. According to CMU, research in the group has led to 17 books, 760 peer-review papers, 42 U.S. patents, 28 pending U.S. patents, and 123 original and derived international patents.

The Matyjaszewski Polymer Group at CMU combines graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors to further ATRP research.

Accomplished Chemist

Matyjaszewski completed undergraduate and masters degrees in chemistry at the Technical University of Moscow and earned a Ph.D. from the Polish Academy of Sciences. He accomplished postdoctoral research at the University of Florida, after which he was appointed research associate at the Polish Academy and later at the University of Paris.

He has been at Carnegie Mellon University since 1985. In addition to being on CMU's chemistry faculty, he is also the director of CMU's Center for Macromolecular Engineering.

Matyjaszewski has been cited in scientific literature more than 50,000 times, making him one of the most cited chemists in the world, according to CMU.

He is the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors. Matyjaszewski is a foreign member of both Russia's and Poland's Academy of Sciences, an honorary fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society, and an ACS fellow. He also received Israel's Wolf Prize in Chemisty (2011); Japan's Society of Polymer Science Award; the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2009); and several ACS polymer science awards, including the Applied Polymer Science Award (2011).

   

Tagged categories: Adhesive; AkzoNobel; American Chemical Society; Awards and honors; Pigments; Polymers

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