Ozkan named Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Chair
College of Engineering Distinguished Professor Umit Ozkan has been appointed the new chair of the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, effective June 1. She will succeed Professor Andre Palmer, who has served admirably as chair since 2014.
An internationally recognized expert in catalysis and electrocatalysis with over 200 refereed publications and seven patents, Ozkan received her Ph.D from Iowa State University in 1984. She has been a trailblazer as the first woman to join Ohio State’s Department of Chemical Engineering in 1985, and now as the first woman to be named chair of the department. From 2000 to 2005, she served as the College of Engineering’s first female associate dean for research.
“Umit is the quintessential scholar, legendary among her many students and celebrated by the whole catalysis community,” said College of Engineering Dean David B. Williams. “She will be a most welcome addition to the college’s leadership team.”
Ozkan’s research addresses many critical problems facing our nation in the energy and environmental protection fields, and is funded by both federal agencies and industry. Her work on emission control for lean-burn natural gas reciprocating engines has led to the development of a catalytic system that can function as a “three-way catalyst," for which a U.S. patent was issued in 2008.
Her success has earned awards and honors from many national and international organizations. In 2012 she received the American Chemical Society (ACS) Energy and Fuels Distinguished Researcher Award. She was honored with a special issue of the premier journal Topics in Catalysis, which included contributions of 35 research groups from 12 different countries, followed by a three-day ACS Symposium. In 2017 she was the first woman to receive the ACS Henry H. Storch Award in its 57-year history, which was commemorated with a special issue of Catalysis Today in 2019.
“I am very excited about leading a department with so much potential and I look forward to building on the growth trajectory brought to CBE by Andre Palmer,” Ozkan said. “My priorities will include recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, making our graduate program one of the world’s best, providing undergraduates with a first-class education in a setting where they feel nurtured and cared for, and strengthening the ties with our alumni base.”
Ozkan is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAS), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and the American Chemical Society. Other honors include awards from the Van 't Hoff Institute at the University of Amsterdam (Lectureship Award, 2010), the AIChE (Mentorship Excellence, 2009) and the Society of Women Engineers (Achievement Award, 2002). She also has received numerous accolades for her research and teaching prowess from Ohio State and her alma mater, Iowa State.
In her research group, Ozkan has advised and mentored over 100 graduate students, post-doctoral researchers and honors students.