Chemistry Teacher Recognized for His Discoveries, Research

Prof. Rudolf Faust

Prof. Rudolf Faust is recognized for his outstanding contributions to research and innovation and his many inventions.

By Edwin L. Aguirre

Chemistry Prof. Rudolf Faust, a world-renowned expert and pioneer in developing the chemical properties of plastics, was recently named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

“I am honored to receive this fellowship, and I’d like to acknowledge the many students and postdocs who participated in the research that made this award possible, as well as the many funding agencies and companies who supported my work at UMass Lowell,” he says.

Faust holds 32 U.S. patents for his inventions —17 of which have been licensed to companies that have commercialized the technologies. Many of them have helped save people’s lives. He is the developer, for instance, of the polymer matrix used in a popular drug-coated coronary stent that prevents the re-narrowing of arteries in patients after surgery. The stent is considered one of the most successful medical devices in U.S. history. 

He is also responsible for the development of polyisobutylene-based biostable polyurethanes, which are used in coatings for pacemakers and defibrillators.

But Faust’s inventions are not limited to the medical devices field. One of his patents paved the way for the creation of a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective process for making highly reactive polyisobutylenes, which are key ingredients in engine lubricants and fuel additives used to improve the performance and efficiency of motor vehicles.

“Prof. Faust has a long history of being a very productive innovator and serves as a good example for university researchers in being able to come up with groundbreaking solutions through simple, basic research,” says Rajnish Kaushik, interim director of the university’s Office of Technology Commercialization. “His work has yielded many commercial products.” 

The National Academy of Inventors is a nonprofit member organization founded in 2010 to enhance the visibility of American academics who are patent-holders and their technology and innovations, and to mentor and educate students. Faust was named to the select group in tribute to his demonstrated spirit of innovation in creating or advancing discoveries that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Fellows are nominated by their peers for the prestigious recognition.

Since joining UMass Lowell’s faculty in 1988, Faust has mentored 21 doctoral students and more than 50 postdoctoral researchers, many of whom are now professors at institutions around the world. He has published more than 260 papers in peer-reviewed journals and written five book chapters. He also serves on the editorial boards of academic publications, including the Journal of Macromolecular Science and the Polymer Bulletin.

Faust will be inducted along with other NAI fellows on April 15 as part of the organization’s fifth annual conference, to be held at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va.