Professor Carbonell Receives the UNC System 2018 O. Max Gardner Award

Professor Ruben Carbonell
Professor Ruben Carbonell

Professor Ruben G. Carbonell has been selected to receive the 2018 O. Max Gardner Award. The Award goes to “that member of the faculty of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, who, during the current scholastic year, has made the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race.” It’s considered the UNC system’s highest faculty honor.

Professor Carbonell is the Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He currently serves as Director of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science, and is the initial Chief Technology Officer for the fledging National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL). He’s currently on leave from his position as director of the Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC).

His current areas of research include molecular recognition processes for biological molecules using ligands derived from combinatorial libraries, and their applications to separations, detection and pathogen removal. He has advised over 80 MS and PhD students and 35 postdoctoral students and visiting faculty, and has published nearly 240 papers. He’s also an inventor or co-inventor on over 23 patents, and is co-founder of two start-up companies, Ligamar, Inc. and PRDT, Inc.

Professor Carbonell was born in Havana, Cuba, moved to the United States in 1958, and earned B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from Manhattan College and Princeton University, respectively. He joined NC State in 1984, after ten years in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of California, Davis. He served as head of the (then) Department of Chemical Engineering from 1994 to 1999.

Ruben was named NC State University Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor in 1994 and won the NC State University Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award in 1989. In 1990 he received the R. J. Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Extension from the College of Engineering (COE).

In 2001 he received the Alcoa Outstanding Research Award from the COE. In 2003 he was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and in 2007 he was awarded the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence at NC State University, the highest award given to university faculty. In 2008 he was named a Fellow of the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society.

In 2014, Professor Carbonell was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Election to the Academy is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. In 2017, Professor Carbonell was recognized for his induction into the National Academy of Inventors — one of three NC State faculty members who’ve received this honor.

Finally, Professor Carbonell is one of the few members of the NC State community who’ve “painted” the Memorial Belltower red twice… The University illuminates the Belltower in red to celebrate special occasions and noteworthy accomplishments of NC State faculty, staff, and students.

Congratulations to Dr. Carbonell for this prestigious honor and your outstanding career and accomplishments!!!