Birmingham professor and graduate student win award for outstanding research and mentorship

On 1 April 2022, the American Chemical Society (ACS) recognised Professor Rachel O'Reilly and Dr Spyridon Varlas at a special awards ceremony.

Rachel O'Reilly

Professor Rachel O'Reilly

The ACS presented Professor O'Reilly and Dr Varlas, with the ACS Global Outstanding Graduate Student & Mentor Awards in Polymer Science and Engineering.

The purpose of the award is to recognise excellence in graduate polymer research and recognizes a wining student and supervisor from the USA and another from anywhere in the world.

Professor O’Reilly is Head of the School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham and Dr Varlas graduated from Birmingham in 2020 with his doctorate entitled “Tuning the membrane properties of functional polymersomes developed by aqueous polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA)”. He is now a postdoctoral research associate in the University of Sheffield’s Department of Chemistry. Spyridon was also recently awarded the inaugural M. Zouhair Atassi thesis prize from the School of Chemistry.

The awards are co-organized by Chemical Marketing & Economics, Inc. (CME) and the Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) Division of the American Chemical Society. To be eligible, students must be within one year to graduation or a recent graduate who has completed an outstanding thesis in polymer research accepted by a university during the three-year period prior to January 1 of the award year. A special symposium at the American Chemical Society meeting in Chicago will be organised to celebrate the winners.

Mentoring is of vital importance for the future health of chemistry and benefits both the mentor and mentee. I welcome the American Chemical Society (ACS)’s decision to recognise mentorship through this new award and I am delighted to share this award with one of my fantastic graduate students. I am proud to be one of the recipients of the ACS Global Outstanding Graduate Student & Mentor Awards in Polymer Science and Engineering. I hope this award will encourage individuals and institutions to invest in mentoring the next generation of polymer science and engineering leaders.

Professor Rachel O'Reilly, Head of School and Professor of Polymer Chemistry, University of Birmingham