Judy Riffle named American Chemical Society Fellow

Judy Riffle

Judy Riffle

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 16, 2010 – Judy S. Riffle, professor of chemistry and director of Virginia Tech’s interdisciplinary Macromolecular Science and Engineering Ph.D. education program, has been named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Riffle was one of only three distinguished scientists in the state to be honored in the organization’s second class of Fellows. She was recognized for her outstanding accomplishments in chemistry and her important contributions to the ACS, the world’s largest scientific society. She joins five other ACS Fellows from Virginia Tech who were inducted in the inaugural class last year.

“Whether it’s making new materials, finding cures for disease or developing energy alternatives, these Fellows are scientific leaders, improving our lives through the transforming power of chemistry,” said ACS President Joseph S. Francisco.

Riffle joined the chemistry department in the College of Science as an assistant professor in 1988. One of her many achievements has been the initiation and growth of interdepartmental graduate programs in macromolecular science and engineering. She also led a National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) initiative, which encompassed students and faculty from six interdisciplinary departments.

Riffle’s polymer research has led to the development of materials used in heart transplants, arterial grafts, and contact lenses. Currently, her research is focused on synthesis of macromolecular magnetic particles that may be used in retinal treatments and fundamental aspects of delivering therapeutic molecules into immune cells to treat intracellular pathogens. She collaborates closely with others in biological sciences, physics, and engineering to understand how the properties of her materials relate to societal needs.

“Judy’s election as an ACS Fellow is a well-deserved honor earned by her significant contributions to polymer science and her pioneering vision in establishing our internationally recognized interdisciplinary Ph.D. education program,” said S. Richard Turner, director of the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute.

Riffle earned her Ph.D. in macromolecular chemistry at Virginia Tech in 1981. She was formally inducted into the 2010 class of ACS Fellows at the organization’s annual conference in August.

With more than 154,000 members, the ACS is the world’s premier professional society for chemists, chemical engineers, and professionals in related fields around the world. The ACS announcement and list are available online.

The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biological sciences, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college offers programs in cutting-edge areas including, among others, those in energy and the environment, developmental science across the lifespan, infectious diseases, computational science, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The College of Science is dedicated to fostering a research-intensive environment that promotes scientific inquiry and outreach.