Research Chair Named
CEPS names Prof. John Dutcher as Research Chair in Novel Sustainable Nanomaterials.
Prof. John Dutcher, a world-renowned nanoscience researcher, has been appointed as the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS) Research Chair in Novel Sustainable Nanomaterials at the University of Guelph, effective June 1, 2020. One of Dutcher’s key research areas is developing the science and technology of nanoscale materials derived from sustainable, biological sources.
Dutcher, a professor in the Department of Physics, focuses on the physics of synthetic polymers, sustainable polymers, and nanostructured biomaterials. Many of his findings have been translated into commercial applications and support solutions to real-world problems, such as improving personal care products and drug delivery systems, enhancing water processing, and increasing understanding of bacterial infection spread.
“The Chair recognises John’s phenomenal contributions to the advancement of the discovery, characterisation, and utilisation of novel nanomaterials, particularly those derived from sustainable, biological sources,” says Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research) at the University of Guelph. “John’s work is exemplary of both excellence in fundamental research – the process of discovery – as well as its application in innovations that benefit many. As such, John’s work is perfectly aligned University of Guelph’s ambition to improve life.”
“In my lab and through other initiatives, we’re focusing on understanding natural nanomaterials and using them to solve real-world problems,” Dutcher says. “Our work is resulting in new, non-toxic, biodegradable consumer products and biomedical innovations.”
As co-director for the Centre for Sustainable Nanomaterials Innovation (CESNI) at the University of Guelph, Dutcher is leading a team of world-class researchers that is utilizing state-of-the-art infrastructure to develop and apply science and engineering to the study of natural nanomaterials from agricultural sources. Together with industry partners, CESNI is at the forefront of creating new, sustainable nanotechnologies that will improve our food and health systems.
Dutcher is a leader in his field, having published over 120 peer-reviewed articles that have been cited over 7,000 times. Since 2014, Dutcher has received nearly $4 million dollars in competitive research funding as a Principal Investigator, and $13.5 million during his career.
“We are delighted to award Prof. Dutcher with this distinguished chair title,” Mary Wells, dean, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, adds. “John is a visionary in uncovering the potential for sustainable nanomaterials and has made significant contributions to the University’s research profile.”
Dutcher joined the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph in 1990. He held a Tier I Canada Research Chair appointment from 2006 to 2020, and directed numerous programs and research centres on campus, including CESNI. Dutcher co-founded Mirexus Biotechnologies following the discovery of phytoglycogen nanoparticles as part of a collaborative project.
A decorated researcher, Dutcher is also the recipient of the Innovation of the Year Award (University of Guelph), the Governor General’s Gold Medal (Dalhousie University), the Premier’s Research Excellence Award (Province of Ontario), Presidential Distinguished Professor Award (University of Guelph), and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Prof. John Dutcher, (middle right) stands with (from left) Mayor Cam Guthrie, Mirexus CEO Phil Whiting and Mirexus VP Trevor Jones at Mirexus’ groundbreaking. Dutcher co-founded Mirexus Biotechnologies in 2008.