University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

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Theresa Reineke joins Department of Chemistry as professor with tenure

Theresa M. Reineke, Ph.D., is joining the Department of Chemistry as a professor with tenure in September 2011. With expertise in polymer science and gene therapy and diagnostics, Reineke is a world leader in the area of polymer/deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) nanostructures for medical applications.

"Professor Reineke's research is highly collaborative," said William Tolman, Department of Chemistry chair, "which bodes well for extensive collaborations across multiple colleges at the University of Minnesota." For example, she will interact with colleagues in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Materials Science and Engineering Research Center (College of Science & Engineering), the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Academic Health Center), and the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (Academic Health Center) to solve important problems in polymer synthesis and characterization, develop innovative gene therapies, and invent new methods for magnetic resonance imaging.

Reineke earned her bachelor's degree in chemistry/physics from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, her master's degree in chemistry from Arizona State University, and her doctorate in chemistry from the University of Michigan. Her graduate degrees adviser was Omar M. Yaghi. Under his tutelage, Reineke studied the synthesis and characterization of metal-organic framework materials.

After completing her doctorate, Reineke received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service Award to study the synthesis and biological characterization of carbohydrate-containing polymers for gene therapy. She conducted this research as a postdoctoral fellow in Mark Davis' laboratory at the California Institute of Technology.

Reineke began her academic career as an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati. Since 2008, she has been an associate professor of chemistry at Virginia Tech, and a member of its Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute.

Reineke serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Bioconjugate Chemistry, an American Chemical Society journal, and the International Advisory Board ofMacromolecular Bioscience, a Wiley InterScience journal. She also serves as chair of the Molecular Conjugates Committee of the American Society of Cell and Gene Therapy, and as a councilor for the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Polymer Chemistry.

She has received numerous awards, including a Beckman Young Investigator Award, a Sigma Xi-Rieveschl Outstanding Young Investigator Award, a NSF Career Award, an ACS Arthur K. Doolittle Award, and a National Research Service Award. In 2009, Reineke received the prestigious NIH Director's New Innovator Award, which is given to new investigators of exceptional creativity who propose bold and highly innovative new research approaches that have the potential to have major impacts on important problems in biomedical and behavioral research. She received a large, multi-year grant for biomedical research into new medicines that have the potential for better results and fewer side effects.

In addition, Reineke has four patents pending, and has written more than 70 scientific articles and made more than 70 presentations on her research.