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Timothy Lodge named Regents Professor

Timothy P. Lodge has been named a Regents Professor by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. This designation is the highest level of recognition given to university faculty members. Lodge is a professor in the College of Science & Engineering's Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. He is a renowned polymer scientist, whose scholarly reputation is far-reaching and international. He has served the University of Minnesota with distinction for three decades with an outstanding record of research, teaching, and service.

“Tim is well-deserving of this high honor, which recognizes his extraordinary contributions to science, education, and service to the larger community. His record of accomplishment is simply amazing,” said William B. Tolman, chair of the Department of Chemistry.

Lodge earned his bachelor's degree in applied mathematics from Harvard College, and his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a National Research Council post-doctoral research associate at the National Bureau of Standards, and joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota in 1982. He also joined the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CEMS) in 1995, and became director of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) in 2005.

He has received many accolades for his research and teaching, including some of the top honors at the University of Minnesota such as the Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education Award (2012), CSE Distinguished Professorship (2004), and Distinguished McKnight University Professorship (2001).

His contributions have also been recognized by external awards and invited lectureships, including the Minnesota Award-American Chemical Society Minnesota Section (2012), Turner Alfrey Visiting Professorship (2011), and International Scientist Award from the Society of Polymer Science Japan (2009). Lodge was recognized as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2010) and the Association for the Advancement of Science (2009). He has been awarded two of the most prestigious international awards in the demanding fields of both polymer physics and polymer chemistry—the American Physical Society Polymer Physics Prize (2004) and the American Chemical Society Award in Polymer Chemistry (2009). Few scientists in the world have claimed both of these prizes.

Innovative polymer scientist

Lodge is one of the most productive, innovative, and influential polymer scientists in the world, focusing his research on the structure and dynamics of polymeric systems. He has published more than 300 papers on his innovative and groundbreaking research.

Lodge’s reputation is based both on careful and meticulous experiments to elucidate the universal physical laws that govern the behavior of polymers, and on the development of conceptual and theoretical models to understand these laws. His work is unusually broad in scope, and it encompasses the behavior of polymers in solution (for example as drug delivery vehicles) and in the bulk state (for example as mechanically robust composites). To this end, Lodge has developed a laboratory at the University of Minnesota containing a powerful and innovative array of experimental tools, which is truly second to none in scope and which has allowed him to be one of the most productive and influential polymer scientists in the world.

For example, a major and growing research focus of Lodge’s research has been block copolymer systems: polymers with two (or more) sub-chains that spontaneously self-assemble into fascinating nanostructures. In a program extending over the last 20 years, Lodge and his students have delineated the fascinating mechanisms by which individual polymer molecules diffuse around and within these nanostructures. In another area, Lodge has developed a systematic route to “structured micelles,” which are block copolymer nanostructures in which micellar cores are subdivided as in, for example, a double-yolked egg. The 2004 Science paper that first reported this discovery has been cited now more than 450 times. This is a fascinating demonstration of hierarchical self-assembly well known in biological systems, but built entirely through polymer architecture control in synthetic cases. The design flexibility offered by this approach has resulted in many exciting developments that are documented in the many publications since that original report that highlight the versatility and potential applications that include drug delivery, solution viscosity modification, and nanostructure templating.

Sought-after teacher and adviser

A sought-after teacher and adviser, Lodge is an outstanding classroom teacher, and created the popular Polymer Physical Chemistry course. "Great class, great instructor, not the easiest class I've taken, but one of the most interesting and useful," wrote one student.

He is co-author of Polymer Chemistry, Second Edition, written with Paul Hiemenz, which is the leading polymer chemistry textbook, and which is the only textbook that covers the synthesis, characterization and properties of polymers, and derives all of the important equations in mathematically tractable and physically transparent ways.

Lodge has advised and trained more than 100 students and post-doctoral associates who are heavily recruited by industry or who have attained faculty positions at prestigious institutions.

Daniel Savin, an assistant professor at the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at the University of Southern Mississippi, was a post doctorate in Lodge's laboratory. He writes, “He instilled the confidence in me to pursue projects that are important, yet, unexplored, and he constantly challenges me in ways that make me think critically about my independent research program and the way I am going. . . . My experience in the Lodge group has shaped my educational philosophy and has served as a model for how I aspire to run my own research group."

Colleague Professor Marc Hillmyer writes, “Simply put, his contributions to teaching and advising have been at the highest level in all regards: brilliant scientist, caring adviser, outstanding educator.”

Leadership roles

Lodge's service to science does not end in the classroom or laboratory. He has served in many leadership roles for the Department of Chemistry and the College of Science & Engineering, including serving as director of MRSEC and leading one of its interdisciplinary research groups focused on polymer research, and coordinating the microstructures polymers group for the universities Industrial Partnership for Research in Interfacial and Materials Engineering (IPRIME). As editor-in-chief of Macromolecules, he oversees the processing of 3,000 manuscripts annually, and coordinates the efforts of 13 associate editors. He also launched a new journal, ACS (American Chemical Society) Macro Letters. He has chaired and organized many meetings and national conferences, and has served as a leader on the executive committee for the American Physical Society Polymer Division.

C. Daniel Frisbie, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor with CEMS, has worked closely with Lodge both in MRSEC and on collaborative research initiatives. He writes, "The impact of MRSEC on the research enterprise at the university is far reaching—more than 50 graduate students and post doctorates are supported by MRSEC, and leveraged MRSEC funds for capital equipment has resulted in millions of dollars worth of new instrumentation for university facilities. . . .  I am convinced that Lodge's vision and steadfast stewardship of MRSEC is helping to propel the university to national prominence in materials research."

Frank S. Bates, head of CEMS, notes: “Tim is the quintessential leader, one who sets the highest standards and drives excellence by example. He has been a most valued friend and colleague for nearly 25 years, a brilliant scholar and a dedicated servant to the university and our profession. Simply put, Tim Lodge has inspired me, and innumerable others, to reach higher and further.”

Departments' third current Regents Professor

Lodge is the third current Regents Professor in the Department of Chemistry, joining honorees Lawrence Que Jr., and Donald Truhlar, and also the third current Regents Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science along with Frank Bates and Lanny Schmidt. The Regents Professor position was established in 1965 by the Board of Regents to recognize the national and international prominence of faculty members. It serves as the highest recognition for faculty members who have made unique contributions to the quality of the University of Minnesota through exceptional accomplishments in teaching, research and scholarship or creative work, and contributions to the public good.