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The associate professor of applied physical sciences has been recognized as a rising star in chemistry.

Ronit Freeman stands smiling at the camera. Behind her is a wall with words on it including "Self-Assembly, DNA, Nanotechnology, Tissue Engineering, Stem Cells and more" listed in a "word cloud" formation.
Ronit Freeman

Ronit Freeman has received a 2023 Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA), a foundation that provides catalytic funding for innovative scientific research and the development of academic scientists.

Freeman is an associate professor in the department of applied physical sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is among a group of 25 early career scholars in chemistry, physics and astronomy recognized with the annual award. Each honoree receives $100,000.

“The future of science depends on innovation, diversity and commitment to student success,” said RCSA President & CEO Daniel Linzer.  “These new awardees have been selected as much for their research and teaching excellence as for their potential to become change-makers at their institutions, in science and society at large.”

RCSA selects Cottrell Scholars through a rigorous peer-review process of applications from a wide variety of research universities and primarily undergraduate institutions in the United States and Canada. The scholars’ award proposals incorporate both research and science education.

With the award, Freeman will develop a chemical framework for the bottom-up assembly of supramolecular systems with lifelike behaviors. As an expert in biomimetic design and self-assembly, she will converge the power of peptide and DNA nanotechnology to create new materials that mimic cellular and tissue functionality.

“I hope to decode the supramolecular assembly blueprints of life to drive innovation in biomedicine, nanotechnology and advanced materials,” said Freeman.

On the educational frontier, Freeman will develop a convergent educational framework to better interconnect common chemical and physical concepts taught in undergraduate chemistry, physics and materials programs, while simultaneously equipping learners with the understanding of how these concepts impact and propel global societal and environmental challenges.

In addition to the financial award, the Cottrell honor is an acknowledgement of early career success and a vote of confidence in the potential for impact in teaching and science.

“I am thrilled to join the community of Cottrell Scholars,” Freeman said.

“We look forward to seeing the fresh ideas and energy these outstanding researchers, teachers and mentors bring to the community, and the impact they will have for decades to come,” added Silvia Ronco, RCSA senior program director.

Read more about the 2023 Cottrell Award winners.

Read more about Ronit Freeman’s lab.

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