You are here

  • Theresa Reineke

    Professor Reineke receives 2017 Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award

Professor Theresa Reineke received the prestigious 2017 Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS), Division of Polymer Chemistry. This award recognizes accomplishments and innovations of unusual merit in the field of basic or applied polymer science by individuals younger than 45.

She received the 2017 Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award at the spring ACS national meeting in San Francisco, during the Division of Polymer Chemistry (POLY) and Division of Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering (PMSE) awards reception, Wednesday, April 5. The award also included a half-day POLY symposium that was conducted in her honor at the national meeting.

Reineke is internationally recognized for her transformative research contributions to the field of polymeric materials chemistry; leadership of innovative and collaborative research teams across the University of Minnesota campus that have garnered large government and industrial support; excellent track record of entrepreneurship and technology licensing; and service to societies and organizations in her research field. 

She is a leading researcher in the fields of polymer chemistry, drug delivery, gene therapy and diagnostics, and biomaterials science. Reineke is a world leader in the area of polymer/deoxyribonucleic acid nanostructures for medical applications. Her research group members specialize in the synthetic design, chemical characterization, and biological study of designer macromolecules. Her research group seeks to discover novel delivery vehicles for nucleic acids and drugs, elucidate cellular-level mechanisms of biomaterial function, and impart enhanced material performance through the use of sustainable feedstocks.

Some highlights from her innovative research include:

  • polymer delivery systems designed for DNA- and RNA-based genetic treatments, focusing on the synthesis and development of novel structures to carry gene therapeutics and genome editing systems into biological systems, which show promise for the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and genetic disorders such as Hurler Syndrome;
  • polymer-based delivery systems design for enhancing oral delivery of challenging pharmaceutical drugs such as chemotherapeutic and antiseizure medications; and 
  • replacement of petroleum-based plastics with natural produces such as carbohydrates and seed oils to build sustainable materials.

Reineke has played key roles in numerous collaborative teams across the University of Minnesota campus. These include a Partnership with Dow Chemical Company and two National Science Foundation Centers (NSF)—the Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP), a NSF Center for Chemical Innovation, and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). She leads one of MRSEC’s interdisciplinary research groups entitled Hierarchical Macromolecular Materials. 

In addition to her research, Reineke is an active leader in the American Chemical Society. She helped launch a successful new research journal for the American Chemical Society, ACS MacroLetters, as a founding associate editor. She is also the founding faculty adviser for the University of Minnesota’s ACS Division of Polymer Chemistry and Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering student chapter.

Reineke is an outstanding teacher and mentor, teaching courses in nanotechnology and polymer chemistry, and a laboratory course in polymer synthesis. She has trained more than 80 scientists in her laboratory. She is the Department of Chemistry’s Lloyd H. Reyerson professor and was recently inducted as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. She also recently received the University of Minnesota’s George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research and the Sara Evans Faculty Women Scholar/Leader Award.

Reineke is the second Department of Chemistry researcher to received this honor. Professor Marc Hillmyer, director of the Center for Sustainable Polymers, received this award in 2011.