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Thomas Truskett Named Chair of McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering

Thomas Truskett, the Paul D. & Betty Robertson Meek Centennial Professor, has been appointed chair of the John J. McKetta Jr. Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.

Truskett began his new position within the Cockrell School of Engineering on Jan. 15.

Truskett CPE

“Tom has the vision to lead the Chemical Engineering Department with continued excellence,” said Gregory L. Fenves, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. “In recent years, both UT’s graduate and undergraduate chemical engineering programs have risen in national rankings. I look forward to collaborating with Tom to keep this momentum going.”

Truskett has contributed to the department’s success as an award-winning teacher and innovative researcher since 2002. His research team studies the behavior of fluids for a range of applications, including the storage and delivery of therapeutic proteins to improve treatments for cancer and other diseases and the design of dispersant molecules to reduce adverse effects of deep-sea oil releases. He currently supervises eight Ph.D. students funded by grants from federal and private agencies, as well as industrial contracts.

“I’m thrilled to lead this excellent department,” said Truskett. “We have world-class faculty — with an incredible track record of productivity — educating and working with one of the largest, best-trained pools of chemical engineering students in the world. We are dedicated to developing students into leaders and giving them the tools and skills they need to address some of society’s biggest challenges.”

As chair, Truskett will lead the fifth-ranked graduate and fourth-ranked undergraduate chemical engineering program in the nation. The department’s 25 faculty members serve 705 undergraduates and 195 graduate students.

A UT Austin alum, Truskett earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from the university in 1996. He earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Princeton University in 2001. He has won several national awards, including the Allan P. Colburn Award for Excellence in Publications from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2007; the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Award in 2005; an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in 2005; and a David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship in 2004. Truskett has also been recognized for excellent teaching with the Cockrell School’s Outstanding Engineering Teaching Award and the Student Engineering Council’s Teaching Excellence Award.

Truskett succeeds professor Roger Bonnecaze who stepped down after eight years to lead UT Austin’s new Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Mobile Energy Technologies Center (NASCENT), which is funded by the National Science Foundation.