Vincent Rotello, UMass Amherst Nanochemist, Named a Distinguished Professor

Vince RotelloVincent M. Rotello, the Charles A. Goessmann Professor of Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been appointed a Distinguished Professor following approval by the UMass Board of Trustees.

Rotello was recommended for the honor by UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Provost James V. Staros, who cited how he has “creatively and boldly expanded his research from a focus on small molecule host-guest chemistry to his current path-breaking translational explorations of polymers, surfaces and nanomaterials.”

Their nomination added, “His research in bionanotechnology has profound importance for chemistry and medicine. In the area of diagnostics, he has developed ‘new array-based sensors capable of detecting and identifying cancer in cells and in tissues’ and is en route to clinical trials. In the area of therapeutic design, he has developed nanoparticle-based delivery vehicles for gene, protein and drug delivery and is testing these in mouse models. The potential benefits to humanity are enormous.”

Rotello and his UMass Amherst research group have developed new nanoparticle-based diagnostics and therapeutics featuring a wide range of useful properties. They recently received a grant to develop, test and deploy sensitive new, reliable and affordable inkjet-printed, nanoparticle-based test strips for detecting disease-causing bacteria in drinking water. His lab has also developed new diagnostics for identification of cancer for personalized medicine and has recently developed a highly effective protein delivery agent.

One external reviewer, they point out, said Rotello’s work “may cause a paradigm shift in cancer treatment.” Rotello joined the UMass Amherst chemistry faculty in 1993 and was named Charles A. Goessmann Professor of Chemistry in 2005. Since then, he has secured more than $6.5 million in research funding as principal investigator and $6.4 million more as a co-investigator or collaborator. He has published more than 390 book chapters, reviews and articles in peer-reviewed journals including many in high-impact publications. Based on the number of others who have cited his papers, Rotello can be said to be “a true international leader” in his field, Staros and Subbaswamy state.

In addition to citing Rotello’s research achievements, the chancellor and provost salute the chemist’s “tremendous and positive impact on his students,” whose “glowing letters” attest that he always puts them first. He has graduated 26 students with doctoral degrees who benefitted from working in a laboratory that “sets the standard for excellence in interdisciplinary chemical research,” a colleague wrote.

Rotello’s previous honors include election as a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2007, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010 and a Langmuir Lecturer of the American Chemical Society that year. He also has been a Sloan Fellow, Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, Cottrell Scholar and received a National Science Foundation CAREER award. Rotello was awarded the UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Medal in 2006.

Rotello is the editor-in-chief of the American Chemical Society’s journal, Bioconjugate Chemistry, a publication at the interface of the biological and synthetic worlds that is contributing to advances in drug delivery, bionanotechnology and synthetic biology. He has also served as executive editor of Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, associate editor of the Journal of Materials Chemistry, and on the editorial boards of many other journals.

A native of Cary, Ill., Rotello earned his B.S. from the Illinois Institute of Technology and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Yale University. Before coming to UMass Amherst, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Source: UMass News & Media Relations