Students gather in Reineke's cell culture lab.

Professor Theresa Reineke receives the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (10/22/2021)—Chemistry professor Theresa Reineke was recently awarded the 2022 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award. This award is given to 10 recipients nationwide for their ability to recognize and encourage excellence in organic chemistry.

"I sincerely thank the American Chemical Society for the support and recognition,” said Reineke, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor who also holds graduate faculty appointments in the University of Minnesota Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Department of Pharmaceutics.

 “I am very grateful for the hard work of many talented and wonderful people, including my family, all current and past members of my research group, along with many collaborators and friends,” she added. “The funding will help support new research projects in sustainability and human health.”

Reineke, who joined the UMN Chemistry faculty in 2011, is internationally recognized for her contributions to the fundamental and applied studies of organic polymer systems designed for delivery of DNA and RNA. She was the first to show that nanomedicines can traffic through cells via the same pathways as viruses Reineke and her students are working with several companies to design polymers that tailor therapeutic delivery to different tissue types. By doing this, the DNA or RNA can be delivered into different parts of the body.

Additionally, Reineke has established herself as a pioneer in the field of organic polymer-based systems designed for enhancing the oral delivery of challenging pharmaceutical drugs. She has directed collaborative efforts in this area for 10 years with industrial scientists at Dow, DuPont, and Genetech.

Sustainable and environmentally friendly plastics are another area of research for Reineke. Her group uses natural products (carbohydrates, terpenes, alkaloids, seed oils) and their derivatives (for example, isosorbide) as building blocks to synthesize materials with multiple potential applications.

Reineke has more than 160 publications and patents to her name. Her contributions to the University of Minnesota also spans teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. She has trained over 120 scientists at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels over her career.

Reineke will accept her award and deliver an address at the Arthur C. Cope Symposium during the American Chemical Society fall national meeting in Chicago on Aug. 23, 2022.

In the past, Reineke has received many other awards for her work. Among them the Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award (2017), Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award (2016), National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award (2009), National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2005).

Story by Anya Normandeau


Read more about her research at CSE News.