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  • Theresa Reineke

    Theresa Reineke receives Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award

Professor Theresa Reineke has been selected to receive a 2016 Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award.

The award is sponsored by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Women’s Center. It recognizes women faculty at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities who have achieved significant national and international accomplishments and honors and who contribute as leaders on campus. In addition to supporting outstanding women scholars, this award also reflects the university’s strong commitment to future leaders.

Reineke is 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, the College of Science and Engineering, and the Department of Chemistry. 

She is a leading researcher in the fields of polymer chemistry and biomaterials science. Her work has been published in about 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts; she has licensed 8 of her 11 technology patent applications to industry; she leads diversity initiatives on the University’s campus; and she helped launch a successful new research journal for the American Chemical Society, ACS MacroLetters, as a founding associate editor. 

Reineke has played key roles in numerous collaborative teams across the UMN campus. These include a flagship Minnesota Innovation Partnership with Dow Chemical Company, for which she is principal investigator, and two National Science Foundation Centers (NSF)—the Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP), an NSF Center for Chemical Innovation, and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). 

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; and 
  • replacing petroleum-based plastics with sustainable natural produces such as carbohydrates and seed oils to build non-toxic materials.

In addition to her research, Reineke is an active leader in the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, organizing symposia, serving on and chairing committees, and editing or serving on advisory boards for leading journals.

At the University of Minnesota, she serves as chair of the College of Science & Engineering’s Consultative Committee, is the founding faculty adviser for the ACS Division of Polymer Chemistry and Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering UMN student chapter, and co-organizes retreats and workshops for women faculty, post-doctorates, and graduate students.

Reineke is also 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 will receive this award at the Celebrating University Women awards and recognition program, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, October 20, McNamara Alumni Center. 

This is the second consecutive year that a chemistry faculty member has received this award. Last year, Professor Christy Haynes was honored for her research, teaching, leadership, and service.