Chemical engineering professor receives educator award

Andrew Zydney (left) in a lab in the Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building with chemical engineering graduate students Neil Taylor and Kaitlyn Brickey. Photo taken August 2019. Credit: Tyler Henderson / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has named  Andrew Zydney, Penn State Bayard D. Kunkle Chair, professor of chemical engineering and director of the  Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology, as their 2020 recipient of the Warren K. Lewis Award for Chemical Engineering Education. Zydney will receive the award during the AIChE Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, which takes place virtually from Nov. 15 to 20.

The award is named for chemical engineer Warren K. Lewis, a 20th-century Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who has been referred to by his peers as the “father of modern chemical engineering.” Lewis wrote "Principles of Chemical Engineering," which lays out the unit operations that serve as the foundation of chemical engineering work today. AIChE selected Zydney for the award for his "consistent and distinguished contributions to chemical engineering education through classroom teaching, industrial short courses, mentoring graduate students and junior faculty, publications and academic leadership.”

“It is great to see Andrew receive this national recognition for the tremendous impact he has had on the education of countless chemical engineering students in the classroom, as well as practicing engineers in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Phillip Savage, head of the Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering and Walter L. Robb Family Endowed Chair.

Zydney’s impact on chemical engineering education includes graduating 39 doctoral students, five of which are faculty, four in the United States and one in Japan. Other graduates work at biopharmaceutical companies including Merck, Amgen, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Bristol Myers Squibb, Biogen, Sanofi and AstraZeneca, among others. One of his students is president of Grifols Therapeutics and another is a chief technology officer at Spark Therapeutics. In addition, more than 100 undergraduate students have completed senior theses in his lab, several of whom are now faculty at leading universities. Zydney’s mentorship has been recognized with multiple teaching awards, including the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Delaware, the Distinguished Teacher Award from the American Society for Engineering Education and the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society.

Zydney’s research focuses on the recovery of biological products, which involves producing and purifying monoclonal antibodies for use in vaccines and other biopharmaceuticals. His innovations include the design and development of important commercial membrane processes for the purification of life-saving drugs used in treating cancer and other immunologic disorders.

Zydney’s research awards include the North American Membrane Society’s 2020 Alan S. Michaels Award for Innovation in Membrane Science and Technology and the 2020 American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Separations Science and Technology. Additionally, he is the most recent recipient of the Alan S. Michaels Award for the Recovery of Biological Products given by the ACS’s Division of Biochemical Technology. Other recent awards include the Gerhold Award for Excellence in Separation Science and the Excellence in Biological Engineering Publications Award, both given by the AIChE.

Zydney has published more than 250 articles on membranes and bioprocessing. He also is the former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Membrane Science and a member of the editorial review board for Biotechnology and Bioengineering. He serves on the editorial boards for Separation and Purification Reviews, Separation Science and Technology and Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering. He was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, the AIChE, the ACS Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Division and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“The Warren K. Lewis Award is one of only 14 institute-level awards given by the AIChE — these are the most prestigious awards in chemical engineering,” Zydney said. “The Lewis Award is particularly meaningful to me because it is the only institute award that is focused on contributions to chemical engineering education. I have always considered myself to be a teacher first, and it is very special to have AIChE recognize my contributions in that area.”


Last Updated August 25, 2020