Current information

Invitation for a Doctor Honoris Causa ceremony for Professor Judit E. Puskas 13.11.2023 08:37

We would like to kindly inform you that on November 17, 2023, at 12:00 pm, in the Auditorium of the Nanotechnology Center for Research and Education, a ceremony will be held to award the Doctor Honoris Causa title of the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin to Prof. Dr. Judit E. Puskas.

Professor Puskas is a leading international authority of the scientific school of thermoplastic elastomers and rubbers, co-author of the pioneering work on the production of the first thermoplastic elastomer from polyisobutylene, which can only be polymerised by carbocationic polymerisation, and the only woman among distinguished scientists to have received the Charles Goodyear Gold Medal, the highest award given by the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society since 1941. The block copolymer she coinvented is used as a coating on life-saving coronary stents (implanted in more than 10 million patients worldwide). For this and other lifetime achievements Professor Puskas was elected to be a member of the National Academy of Engineers - Class of 2023, United States of America. She is also a teacher and educator of many students and postgraduates working on the chemistry and engineering of macromolecular compounds. Professor Puskas has had a scientific collaboration with the current Department of Polymer and Biomaterials Engineering (formerly the Polymer Institute) of our University for more than twenty years as reflected in the numerous internships of staff and doctoral students from Professor El Fray's team.

Professor Puskas was born in Budapest, Hungary, where she graduated from the Technical University of Budapest in 1977 in polymer engineering. She also holds a PhD in plastics and rubber technology from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. While still in Hungary, she and her husband, Gabor Kaszas, began working at a research institute specializing in microelectronics, working on the reverse engineering of the Intel 8080 chip. Professor Puskas first visited the United States in 1980 when her husband was offered a visiting scientist position at the University of Akron. Together with him, she also began working on controlled carbocation polymerization with Prof Joseph P. Kennedy. On her return to Hungary, Professor Puskas began working at the Industrial Research Institute for Polymers founded by George Olah (Oláh György), winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, who later became her supporter In 1985, once again, Professor Puskas and her husband went to Akron where she continued her work on carbocation polymerisation with great success.

In 1989, Professor Puskas, along with her husband and two children, moved to Canada where they both began working in industry, at Polysar Rubber Co. Polysar was built during the Rubber Procurement Program in World War II, headquartered in Akron. Next to the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb, it was the second most important project of the war effort - without synthetic rubber, the Alliance would have lost to the German-led forces. The years spent at Polysar and subsequent companies (Nova, Miles and Bayer) were very instructive. Professor Puskas solved many technological problems, many of her ideas were patented and the results were published in reputable journals. 

After several years in industry, Professor Puskas was offered a position at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, where she took up a professorship in 1996. During this time she developed even stronger collaborations with industry and, with the encouragement of Professor Kennedy, returned to the University of Akron in 2004. It was here, while continuing her work on thermoplastic elastomers of the poly(styrene-isobutylene-styrene) type (SIBS for short), which was FDA-approved and marketed as the coating on a drug-eluting coronary stent and became one of Professor Puskas' greatest achievements.

Another of her important achievements is the development of a method for the functionalization of polymers using enzyme catalysis as carriers of diagnostic and therapeutic compounds for the treatment of cancer. Another area of research has been the development of safe breast implants with anti-cancer and diagnostic properties, for which she received the GE Healthymagination Breast Cancer Challenge Award in 2012, and the Breast Cancer Innovation Foundation was established in Akron to support her breast implant research.

She is now conducting these and other research activities at The Ohio State University ( where she moved in 2019. The flexible nanofiber surgical masks developed by Professor Puskas are at the prototype manufacturing and testing stage. Professor Puskas is also working on launching domestic production of natural rubber using dandelion crops. Professor Puskas has published the results of her research over 4 decades in more than 400 publications and 35 granted patents. She is the author or editor of 22 books and book chapters on rubbers, rubbers, thermoplastic elastomers and enzyme-catalysed synthesis.

Prof. Puskas has actively participated in over 50grants funded by various institutions in Canada and the USA. Among these grants were three projects in which 7 employees and PhD students of our University actively participated. The Professor's publication activities resulted in her being invited to serve on editorial boards of such journals as the European Polymer Journal and Wiley. Interdisciplinary Reviews WIRE.

It is worth noting the enormous merits in the field of cooperation between science and industry, which resulted in numerous patents to be licensed and in use. In addition, she has been a scientific advisor to more than ten industrial companies in the USA, Europe and Asia. The scientific and practical as well as didactic achievements presented briefly have brought Mrs Puskas international fame as an outstanding scientist. She is a Fellow of many societies, including Member of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). She is an External Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In 2023, she was honoured with the prestigious membership of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). She has also chaired and participated in a number of scientific committees of international conferences.