Chemical engineering professor receives 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award


By Mariah Chuprinski

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Hee Jeung Oh, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Penn State, recently received the 2021 Non-Tenured Faculty Award from industrial and consumer technology company 3M.

The award, consisting of $45,000 spread over three years, recognizes young, tenure-track faculty members who excel in their fields of research and demonstrate academic leadership. The award is intended to fund young faculty members’ research objectives to help them achieve tenure.

“The Non-Tenured Faculty Award provides unrestricted funding for new faculty to explore new directions, taking risks and following uncharted paths,” Oh said. “The proposal I submitted to 3M is a high-risk and high-return project, and I am thrilled to explore a new direction without restrictions.”

With the 3M funding, Oh plans to explore new polymer materials associated with removing unwanted toxins in the body for biomedical applications.

“My goal is to create cooperative structural features of functional ligands in polymers to provide binding sites for specific abnormal biomolecules that circulate through the body,” she said.

Oh’s research group, known as the Oh Lab, explores the relationship between polymer chemistry, processing, structure and properties for energy-efficient chemical separations.

“Specifically, my group studies the effect of polymers’ chemical and physical structures on diffusion, sorption and permeation of small molecules in polymers and polymer-based materials,” Oh said.

Polymers’ chemical and physical structures are directly linked to liquid, vapor and gas separations, according to Oh, as well as drug delivery and drug capture, removal of unwanted toxins in chemical streams, packaging and barrier applications, and biomedical applications.


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College of Engineering Media Relations

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Hee Jeung Oh, Penn State assistant professor of chemical engineering, was awarded a three-year, $45,000 grant from 3M to support her research. IMAGE: PENN STATE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING