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Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Puskas named a Distinguished University Professor

May. 2, 2024
Judit Puskas, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Judit E. Puskas, a College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Distinguished Professor, has been named a Distinguished University Professor. This is the highest faculty honor at The Ohio State University.

Puskas, a member of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE) on the CFAES Wooster Campus, joined Ohio State in 2019, continuing a prolific industry and academic career in rubber technology. A world-renowned polymer expert, Puskas’ impact on her field and her students is broadly recognized.

"Dr. Puskas has conducted groundbreaking research in the field of polymer science and engineering, and her outstanding leadership and mentorship abilities make her an exceptional candidate for the honor of Distinguished University Professor,” said Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Karla Zadnik. “Her innovative work has had a significant impact on society, and I am confident that she will continue to inspire and educate the next generation of scientists."

Puskas is perhaps best known as the co-inventor of the polymer used to coat the Taxus drug-eluting coronary stent licensed by Boston Scientific. Implanted in more than 10 million patients since the early 2000s, her work significantly improved outcomes for cardiovascular disease patients by preventing arteries from blocking again after implantation.

Her recent work includes equally innovative projects such as the development of polymers using enzyme catalysis for cancer diagnostics and therapies, the development of a flexible nanofiber-based surgical mask, and natural rubber synthesis to provide a domestically sourced product that uses marginal U.S. farmland and reduces the environmental footprint of rubber production. Perhaps most innovative is the integration of breast reconstruction and cancer treatment using a fiber mat coating around breast implants for local drug delivery, to reduce unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy.

“Dr. Puskas’ remarkable accomplishments make her deserving of the honor of Distinguished University Professor,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State vice president for Agricultural Administration and dean of CFAES. “Dr. Puskas’ innovative research and world-renowned expertise in polymer science have made impactful contributions to her field, her students, our college, the university and the world.”

Puskas’ significant contributions to her field and society have been recognized with numerous prestigious awards. She was the first woman to win the Charles Goodyear Medal, the highest honor conferred by the American Chemical Society’s Rubber Division. In recognition of sustained excellence in innovation, research and education, she has been elected as a Fellow of several prestigious institutes and academies, including:

National Academy of Engineering
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
National Academy of Inventors

Puskas’ extensive research on polymers has resulted in more than 430 publications and 33 patents, showcasing the significant applied impacts of her research in biomedical engineering and sustainability. Her service to her field through chairing international conferences, roles with top journals and review of National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and global research proposals is exemplary and continues to expand her reputation.

Puskas is also a dedicated mentor to her research team, students and visiting scholars who spend time in her lab. She has mentored several dozen doctoral and master’s students and more than 30 postdocs, many of whom have gone on to roles at top institutions in medicine, industry and research.

“I have taught and done research at three universities, and Ohio State has been the best of all — supporting me and providing a very welcoming environment," said Puskas. "I love to work at Ohio State!”

Senior leadership surprised Puskas with news of her selection during a virtual meeting on April 23. Joining the celebration were Zadnik; Kress; CFAES Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Chair Scott Shearer; CFAES Senior Associate Dean and Director of Faculty and Staff Affairs Tracy Kitchel; Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Patrick Louchouarn and Vice Provost for Academic Policy and Faculty Resources Helen Malone. Puskas and other 2024 academic award winners were recognized on April 30 during the annual Faculty Awards Celebration.

Distinguished University Professor, a permanent, honorific title, is awarded annually to tenure-track professors who have been at Ohio State for at least five years and have demonstrated truly exceptional records in teaching, research, scholarly or creative work and service. Distinguished University Professors automatically become members of the President's and Provost's Advisory Committee. In addition, recipients are awarded a $30,000 one-time grant to support their academic work.

Congratulations Judit!


Read the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' original article