Brian C. Benicewicz was born and raised in Danbury, CT. He received his B.S. degree from Florida Institute of Technology in 1976 and his Ph.D. degree in polymer chemistry from the University of Connecticut. His thesis work, conducted under the supervision of Professor S.J. Huang, concerned the synthesis and characterization of liquid crystalline enamine-ketones.
In 1980, he accepted a position with Celanese Research Company in Summit, NJ where he worked on melt-processable liquid crystalline polyesters, which eventually became the Vectra family of LC polyesters that are on the market today.
In late 1982, he joined Ethicon, Inc., one of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies and worked on biodegradable polymers for sutures and bioabsorbable devices. Most of this work focused on the ring opening polymerization of lactones, lactams, and cyclic carbonates.
In 1985, he moved to Los Alamos National Laboratory in NM where he was a staff member, section leader and deputy group leader in the Materials Science and Technology division. His work at Los Alamos covered many aspects of polymer science, including liquid crystalline thermosets, electrically conducting polymers, low-density polymer foams, chelating polymers, and polymers for sensor applications. While at Los Alamos, he received the LANL Distinguished Patent Award, the LANL “Excellence in Industrial Partnerships Award”, the NASA Technical Achievement Award, and NASA Technology Program Award.
In 1997, he accepted a position at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a professor of chemistry and director, NYS Center for Polymer Synthesis. At RPI, he developed programs in controlled radical polymerization, particularly the use of reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerization to graft polymer chains onto nanoparticles, and the synthesis of polybenzimidazole polymers for high temperature membrane fuel cells and hydrogen pumps. The work on PBI membranes created the technical foundation for the commercial MEA available today. In 2005, he co-founded a company, H2 Pump LLC, to commercialize hydrogen pumping devices based on polymer membrane technologies.
Recently (2008), he moved to the University of South Carolina, where he is the Educational Foundation Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and holds the CoEE (Center of Economic Excellence) chair in polymer nanocomposite research. He is continuing and expanding the work in membranes for energy applications, and in precisely controlled polymerizations for designed interfaces in polymer nanocomposites.
One of the highlights of 2010 is the development of the new Benicewicz Lab in the
Horizon I Building at Innovista. Watch the video and see the progress as it unfolds.
Watch the Video
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
College of Arts and Sciences
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