Engineer awarded prestigious Bodossaki Foundation Prize
By ELLEN GOLDBAUM
Paschalis Alexandridis, professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has been awarded Greece's highest honor for young academics and scientists, the prestigious Bodossaki Foundation Academic Prize in Applied Science.
Every other year, the Bodossaki Foundation awards prizes in physical science and mathematics, applied science, social and economic sciences, and medicine and biology to scholars of Greek descent under the age of 40 who have demonstrated exceptional achievements and international recognition in their field.
Alexandridis won the prize for applied science for micro- and nano-science and technology.
The prize, which comes with a cash award, will be presented in June in Athens at a ceremony hosted by the President of the Hellenic Republic.
A UB faculty member since 1997, Alexandridis pursues pioneering research on the self-assembly and directed assembly of polymers, supramolecules and nanoparticles.
Self-assembly is the spontaneous organization of amphiphilic molecules into well-defined, nanometer-scale patterns, allowing for distinct properties, such as compartmentalization, compatibilization and surface modification to be built into a single system or product.
Directed assembly is based on the application of external fields (i.e. flow, magnetic or electric) to nanoscale objects to achieve their organization over larger length-scales.
Alexandridis' expertise in the use of self-assembly and directed assembly to confer structure and texture on the nanoscale and microscale finds applications in many products, such as pharmaceuticals, coatings, inks and thermoplastic elastomers.
"By organizing molecules together in different ways, we can create structures and textures that are very different," Alexandridis explained.
"Instead of making huge investments in developing brand new polymers, for example, companies now are focusing on using nanotechnology to improve the properties of existing polymers," he said.
Alexandridis recently developed a novel method for assembling nanoparticles into three-dimensional structures that one day may be used to produce new nanoscale tools and machines.
While his research has been funded primarily by the National Science Foundation (NSF), he also has maintained funding from, and research collaborations with, such companies as Procter & Gamble, Bausch & Lomb and Xerox. Western New York companies that have funded his work include Quebecor World Buffalo Inc., Technicor Inc., Protective Closures Co. Inc., FlexOvit USA Inc. and Silipos.
One-third of his total research funding at UB, $2.4 million to date, has come from industry.
Research papers published by Alexandridis in high-impact factor, peer-reviewed journals have received more than 3,000 citations, a remarkable number for a researcher who has been publishing for only 10 years.
Alexandridis was recipient of the 2002 Sigma Xi Young Investigator Award, which recognizes one outstanding scientist each year. He also has received the NSF's Faculty Early Career Development Award.
Recipient of UB's Exceptional Scholar Award for Sustained Achievement, he also was named institute lecturer by the Japan Research Institute of Material Technology.
Alexandridis received his doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a postdoctoral associate and assistant professor at Lund University.