Henkel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Science and Engineering

Henkel Award


The Henkel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Science and Engineering is given to recognize a graduate student or recent graduate who has completed an outstanding Ph.D. thesis in polymeric research.


The award consists of a plaque, $2,000 honorarium, and travel support to attend the Fall ACS National Meeting in the year of the award. The award winner is invited to participate in a half-day symposium co-organized by the primary nominator and Prof. Mahesh K. Mahanthappa (maheshkm@umn.edu). In addition, the award will be presented at the joint POLY/PMSE awards presentation, typically on Wednesday evening.


The award was first awarded in 1991 and is operated under the Polymer Education Committee (POLYED), sponsored by the Polymer Chemistry Division and Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division. The award has been previously sponsored by Unilever (1991-2003), National Starch (2006-2008) and AzkoNobel (2008-2013). It has since been sponsored by Henkel.


A nominee must be a member or affiliate of the POLY division of ACS and must currently be a PhD candidate or have earned their PhD during the three years prior to January 1 of the award year.


Nominees are judged on the basis of their contribution to the thesis research, the quality and level of innovation demonstrated, and the impact of their research on the science and technology of synthetic polymers or biopolymers. Preference will be given to nominees who have not already been recognized by two or more ACS Awards with associated honorary symposia.

Nominators must be a member or affiliate of the POLY division and must be the nominee’s thesis supervisor or someone familiar with the nominee’s work. Nomination packages should be sent by email to Prof. Jessica Kramer (jessica.kramer@utah.edu). The title of the email should be “2020 Henkel Graduate Award” and the following items should be included as a single PDF file by January 25, 2020:

  • Nominee’s biography (or curriculum vitae)
  • Synopsis of nominee’s work
  • Letter of recommendation from thesis advisor
  • Optional: relevant publications based on thesis work
  • Optional: supporting documents and testimonials

About the Sponsor

Henkel values highly the development of outstanding scientists in the field of polymer science and engineering. Progress in the field is vital for the future development of high performance materials that will enhance current technologies and enable future ones. Thus, Henkel is proud to sponsor this award to demonstrate their commitment recognizing outstanding young scientists.

2020 Award Winner: Dr. Jeffrey Lopez

Advised by: Prof. Zhenan Bao, Stanford University

Jeffrey Lopez earned his Ph.D. in 2018 from Stanford University under the supervision of Prof. Zhenan Bao. He was awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a NDSEG Fellowship to fund his graduate work, which focused on molecular design of new self-healing polymers and elastomers with novel mechanical properties for improving the stability of lithium ion batteries. Jeffrey is currently an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working with Prof. Yang Shao-Horn where he is studying fundamental mechanisms of electrochemical instability and ion transport in polymer electrolyte materials.  Jeffrey has received multiple awards for his research including the ACS Eastman Chemical Student Award in Applied Polymer Science in 2018 and the AIChE Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Award 1st Prize in 2016. Jeffrey was involved with the Stanford Polymer Collective as President from 2013-2016 supporting the polymer research community on Stanford’s campus, and has worked with various programs at Stanford and MIT to promote improved access to higher education among students from underrepresented minority groups.

The 2020 Henkel award will be presented during a symposium in honor of Dr. Lopez at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Francisco, CA, August 16-20, 2020 in the ACS Division of Polymer Chemistry. Award nominations are administered through PolyEd, the joint polymer education committee of the ACS Divisions of Polymer Chemistry and Polymeric Materials: Science & Engineering, with generous financial support from the Henkel Corporation.

Past Winners (1991 – Now)

The previous sponsorship of this award by Unilever (1991-2003), National Starch (2006 – 2008), and AzkoNobel (2008-2013) is greatly appreciated.

Christopher Gorman
Advised by: Robert Grubbs, California Institute of Technology

Richard Register
Advised by:  Stuart Cooper, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Christopher N. Bowman
Advised by: Nicholas Peppas, Purdue University

Timothy J. Deming
Advised by:  Bruce Novak, University of California, Berkeley

Rangaramanujam M. Kannan
Advised by: Julia Kornfield, California Institute of Technology

Kristi S. Anseth
Advised by:  Christopher Bowman, University of Colorado at Boulder

D.-Y. Kim
Advised by: Sukant K. Tripathy, University of Massachusetts Lowell

James J. Watkins
Advised by:  Thomas J. McCarthy, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Scott G. Gaynor
Advised by: Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Carnegie Mellon University

X. Linda Chen
Advised by:  Samson A. Jenekhe, University of Rochester

Shu Yang
Advised by: Christopher K. Ober, Cornell University

Kristi Kiick
Advised by:  David Tirrell, California Institute of Technology

Christopher Bielawski
Advised by: Robert Grubbs, California Institute of Technology

Jiaxing Huang
Advised by:  Richard Kaner, UCLA

Jason Rolland
Advised by: Joseph DiSimone, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Nikolay Tsarevsky
Advised by:  Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Carnegie Mellon University

Christopher Bettinger
Advised by: Robert Langer, MIT

Haifeng Gao
Advised by:  Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Carnegie Mellon University

Rong Tong
Advised by: Jianjun Cheng, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Garret Miyake
Advised by:  Eugene Chen, Colorado State University

Hua Lu
Advised by: Jianjun Cheng, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Felix Kim
Advised by: Samson Jenekhe, University of Washington

Jessica Kramer
Advised by: Tim Deming, University of California, Los Angeles

Maxwell Robb
Advised by: Craig Hawker, University of California, Santa Barbara

John. W. Colson
Advised by: William Dichtel, Cornell University

Aleksandr V. Zhukhovitskiy
Advised by: Jeremiah A. Johnson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Jovan Kamcev
Advised by: Profs. Benny D. Freeman and Donald R. Paul, University of Texas–Austin

Dr. Jeffrey Lopez
Advised by: Prof. Zhenan Bao, Stanford University