We are proud of the accomplishments of our faculty, alumni, and current students, many of whom have become leaders in polymer research and development in industry and academe. Each year a Department of Polymer Science alumnus is chosen to be recognized and receive the Outstanding Alumni Award and is honored at a symposium during the fall semester featuring a lecture presentation by the awardee along with other alumni.
Dr. Bin Zhao received his B.S. degree in 1992 and M.S. degree in 1995, both in polymer chemistry from the University of Science and Technology of China. In 1996, he came to the U.S. to pursue his Ph.D. degree in the Department of Polymer Science at the University of Akron, where he worked under Professor William J. Brittain. After completing his Ph.D. dissertation defense in 2000, he joined Professor Jeffrey S. Moore’s group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a postdoctoral researcher and worked on microfluidics.
Zhao started his independent career in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) as an assistant professor in August 2002. He was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 2008 and became a full professor in 2013. His current research interests center on stimuli-responsive soft and hybrid materials, including environmentally responsive hairy particles, stimuli-sensitive block copolymer micelles and gels, hybrid and chemically crosslinked hydrogels, and supported catalysts.
In 2004, Zhao received the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. He was honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Professional Promise in Research and Creative Achievement in 2010. In the same year, he was awarded a Paul and Wilma Ziegler Professorship. Zhao served on the Editorial Advisory Board of Macromolecules from January 2009 to December, 2011.