Researcher of the Year

The Researcher of the Year awards recognize the efforts of high-achieving faculty whose work is improving society through the generation and dissemination of new knowledge. Each college nominated a senior faculty member and a junior faculty member who received his or her terminal degree within the past 10 years. Winners were selected by an interdisciplinary faculty committee and announced at the university’s annual Research Symposium.

The awards program was created with input from the Vice President of Research Faculty Advisory Board and includes a $5,000 award.

Congratulations to all of our nominees and this year’s Researchers of the Year!

Ken Marcus

Senior Researcher of the Year

Ken Marcus


Department of Chemistry

Dr. Marcus specializes in the development of analytical chemistry instrumentation and holds nearly 15 patents on technologies now commercially available. His discoveries have fueled innovations in health care, national defense, advanced materials and other industries. Dr. Marcus is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (London), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and the National Academy of Inventors. He also serves on the editorial advisory board of three scientific journals.

Ken Marcus

Junior Researcher of the Year

Mark Blenner

McQueen-Quattlebaum Associate Professor

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Dr. Blenner is a biotechnology expert whose innovations using metabolic engineering and synthetic biology are facilitating the conversion of low-value renewable substrates into more valuable products like biofuels, bioplastics, pharmaceuticals and omega-3 fatty acids for supplements and fish feed. His diverse research portfolio has applications in space exploration, waste utilization, covert surveillance of nuclear weapons development and much more. Blenner also is leading a statewide effort to attract more chemical engineering students with an eye toward diversifying the profession.

2018-19 Nominees from Each College

Junior Researcher of the Year Nominees

Senior Researcher of the Year Nominees