Royal Society of Chemistry Honors BU’s Mark Grinstaff
Chemist, biomedical engineer, and prolific inventor wins prestigious Centenary Prize from United Kingdom–based learned society
Boston University chemist and biomedical engineer Mark Grinstaff has won the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Centenary Prize in “recognition of brilliance in research and innovation.” A world-renowned researcher and inventor, Grinstaff is the University’s inaugural Distinguished Professor of Translational Research.
Founded in 1841, the United Kingdom–based Royal Society of Chemistry was first granted a charter by Queen Victoria and now has 54,000 global members and a nonprofit publishing arm—it says past award winners have gone on to win 60 Nobel Prizes. The Centenary Prize is given to “outstanding chemists, who are also exceptional communicators, from overseas,” according to its website. As part of the award, Grinstaff and two other winners will travel to the British Isles to give a series of lectures.
“The Centenary Prize is a unique recognition of the importance of global collaborations in resolving scientific challenges and institutional support of such collaborations,” says Grinstaff, who heads the BU Nanotechnology Innovation Center (BUnano) and the Grinstaff Group. “The prize and the opportunity to give lectures in Britain will help establish new collaborations and allow critical feedback and interactions with colleagues.”
According to the society, Grinstaff was chosen for “pioneering advances and translational research using innovative polymer platforms for new drug delivery systems and medical applications.”
Just last year, Grinstaff was named one of BU’s William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professors and an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. A former BU Innovator of the Year, he’s also a College of Engineering professor of biomedical engineering and of materials science and engineering, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of chemistry, and a Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine professor of medicine.
Many of Grinstaff’s more than 200 patents—he’s also the founder of several companies—have been centered on advancing healthcare, with inventions spurring improvements in breast cancer treatment, cranial surgery, eye care, and cartilage repair. One of his latest projects—which included founding a start-up since acquired by Sorrento Therapeutics—is a COVID detection device inspired by a glucometer. And he recently shifted his attention to a group of conditions that impact around 1.71 billion people globally.
“My research is currently focusing on musculoskeletal diseases, including fibrosis, as these diseases are woefully understudied and underfunded, yet affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide,” says Grinstaff. “The goal is to improve treatment outcomes for patients by developing new pharmacological treatments and imaging methods of assessment.”