Akron, OH– Two University of Akron professors have been selected to receive top awards from the American Chemical Society (ACS) Rubber Division. Dr. Judit Puskas, a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at UA, received the Charles Goodyear Medal—the highest honor bestowed by the ACS Rubber Division.
Puskas is the first woman in the history of the organization to receive the award, announced during the Rubber Division’s International Elastomer Conference in Pittsburgh.
“I am privileged to join the ranks of those honored with the Charles Goodyear Medal through the years,” said Puskas. “It is a humbling recognition of my work—and being the first woman honoree shows how much women have grown in this industry. I look forward to continuing my research with the University of Akron and using it to make a difference in the biomedical field.”
Puskas received a doctorate in plastics and rubber technology and a master’s in organic and biomedical engineering from the Technical University of Budapest in Hungary. She has been awarded seven NSF grants and in 2010 received her first National Institutes of Health grant, the first ever for UA’s College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.
Puskas’ current interests are in polymers and cancer research, specifically involving reconstructive breast implants for breast cancer patients. Puskas and her business partners have worked in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic to demonstrate the effectiveness of her polymeric diagnostic agents.
Also selected to receive a top award from the ACS Rubber Division is Dr. Sadhan Jana, a professor and chair of the Department of Polymer Engineering at UA’s College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.  Jana is recipient of the George Stafford Whitby Award for Distinguished Teaching & Research, which recognizes professors who specialize in teaching chemistry and polymer science. Jana received a doctorate in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and worked at General Electric Corporate Research and Development before joining UA in 1998.
“Teaching and mentoring has been extremely rewarding. This is why I left a promising industrial career to come to UA,” said Jana. “I hope my students continue to learn and grow and use their accumulated knowledge every day in their future careers.”
Jana teaches and mentors undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students pursuing degrees in polymers, chemical engineering and chemistry. He also supervises many master’s and doctoral students with theses and dissertations on novel applications of aerogels and nanofibers, and he has led rubber education efforts involving high school students in Saudi Arabia.