PULLMAN – Professor Cornelius (Neil) Ivory has been named as the inaugural Paul Hohenschuh Distinguished Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering.
The professorship, recently created by Paul Hohenschuh and Marjorie Winkler, will recruit and/or retain a world-class, internationally recognized faculty member, providing annual funding support for materials, equipment, staff, graduate student salaries or other support that furthers his or her research program.
A faculty member at WSU since 1989, Ivory is a well-known researcher in the area of bioseparations, where his work is focused on development of novel systems to enable molecular-level protein separations and purification. The work has important implications in a variety of areas ranging from separations of radionuclides for national defense to purification of proteins that are used in pharmaceuticals and other health-related applications.
Ivory worked with his students to develop a separation technique called dynamic field-gradient focusing, which enables the isolation and purification of specific desired and undesired molecules by trapping them in an electric field gradient. Using this and other separation techniques, he is working with collaborators to develop a blood test that may be used in a physician’s office to quickly and simply identify protein biomarkers that indicate if a patient is at risk of suffering a heart attack.
He also has worked with pharmaceutical companies to develop ways to better detect impurities in commercial pharmaceuticals, and he is applying his technologies to enable purification and detection of specific radioactive isotopes that have implications for national defense.
Ivory holds five patents, with several others pending, and has more than 80 refereed publications. He holds an M.S. and Ph.D. from Princeton University in chemical engineering and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.
The Hohenschuh professorship employs a unique gift mechanism that allows the donor to commit a specific amount for a set period of years to support a faculty position or a scholarship.
While most chairs and professorships typically have come from an endowment established in a donor’s estate plan, this new annual gift mechanism allows a donor to fund faculty and students immediately, said Don Shearer, associate director of development for the school. In so doing, the donor is able to immediately see the gift’s impact.
Hohenschuh (’64 B.S., ’70 M.S.) grew up in Washougal in rural southwestern Washington.
When he came to WSU with support of a scholarship, he was overwhelmed by the rigorous program in chemical engineering as well as continual financial stress. Two professors, George Austin, who was department chair, and Harry Stern, were particularly instrumental in helping him at critical times in continuing his education.
Hohenschuh went on to become vice president of manufacturing of Genentech, a leading biotechnology/pharmaceutical company. He is retired.
“We are grateful to Paul and Marjorie for their investment in the faculty of this school,’’ said Jim Petersen, director of the Voiland School. “With this support, they are helping to enhance the school’s performance and helping grow its reputation while ensuring that we have the best faculty teaching, engaging, challenging and educating our students.
“In so doing they’re showing how much they care about and support the school’s mission,” he said. “They will truly make a difference in the lives of both chemical engineering and bioengineering students.’’