Andrew Zydney named recipient of Alan S. Michaels Award

November 28, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Division of Biochemical Technology of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has named Andrew Zydney, Bayard D. Kunkle Chair and professor of chemical engineering at Penn State, as the 2019 recipient of the Alan S. Michaels Award in the Recovery of Biological Products. The award recognizes outstanding research and practice contributions in the field of the recovery of biological products, which refers to the process of purifying vaccines and other biopharmaceuticals as part of downstream bioprocessing. Zydney will receive the award at the ACS National Meeting, set for March 31 to April 4, 2019, in Orlando, Florida.

Andrew Zydney, Bayard D. Kunkle Chair and professor of chemical engineering at Penn State

Andrew Zydney is the Bayard D. Kunkle Chair and professor of chemical engineering at Penn State.

IMAGE: Penn State

Zydney is receiving the award based on his lifetime contributions to a field that has high importance for human health care. When a biologically derived drug is developed for treating cancer, immune disorders, and other diseases, it is made from genetically engineered mammalian cells that are specifically designed to produce complex biomolecules that attack the disease in various ways, depending on the disease type. They also need to be highly purified because they are injectable drugs that bypass most of the natural protections against foreign proteins, microorganisms, and viruses.

“There's as many as a dozen steps that are needed to be carried out to eventually get the drug into a form where it can be put in a vial and given to a doctor so it can be injected,” Zydney said.

Within his chosen field, Zydney's research focuses on membrane science and technology, with a particular emphasis on the development of membrane systems for recovery of biological products. His work has had a major impact on the design and development of important commercial membrane processes for the purification of monoclonal antibodies, which are used in treating cancer and other immunologic disorders.

Among Zydney’s many accomplishments, he has published more than 200 articles on membranes and bioprocessing. He also is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Membrane Science, a member of the editorial review board for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, and serves on the editorial boards for Separation and Purification Reviews, Separation Science and Technology, and Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering. He was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Along with being a great honor for his professional work, the award is important to Zydney for another, more personal reason. The award is named for Alan Michaels, one of the early leaders in both the recovery of biological products and the membrane fields. In the early part of Zydney’s career, Michaels was one of his mentors.

“Anytime you receive an award named after someone, you probably know the person it was named for from the literature and by their professional reputation,” Zydney said. “But I knew Alan Michaels personally, dating back to my time as a graduate student at MIT. He was definitely a valued mentor and supporter as I was getting started as a young faculty member, so it's doubly special to get an award that is named after Alan Michaels.”

Last Updated November 28, 2018