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Polymer expert Advincula named ORNL-UT Governor’s Chair

Gobet_Advincula headshot
Polymer and materials scientist Rigoberto Advincula has been appointed Governor’s Chair at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee. Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Jan. 24, 2020 — Rigoberto “Gobet” Advincula has been named Governor’s Chair of Advanced and Nanostructured Materials at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee.
Advincula joins ORNL and UT as a polymer and materials scientist with expertise in nanostructured materials — leveraging the structure and functionalities of materials on a near-atomic, nanometer length scale. His career spans basic-to-applied research in characterizing and developing new materials for areas including sensors, electro-optics, biotechnology, biomedicine, energy production and advance manufacturing.
“I am honored to join both ORNL and UT as a Governor’s Chair and excited to be able to contribute to the success and prestige of both institutions,” Advincula said.
The Governor’s Chair program fuels a research partnership between UT and ORNL by attracting top talent to advance key science areas.
Advincula makes the 15th addition to the elite group of scientists working jointly at ORNL and UT to pursue innovative research in manufacturing, materials science, biological sciences, energy sciences, nuclear science and urban design.
Advincula’s hiring by ORNL underscores the lab’s initiative to push materials sciences to new frontiers. He will lead the lab’s Macromolecular Nanomaterials group at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, or CNMS, a DOE Office of Science User Facility that specializes in the conception and design of new materials for energy technologies and other critical applications. CNMS is one of five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers.
The group leader role positions Advincula at the forefront of a dynamic user program in polymer and soft matter science enhanced by ORNL’s leadership capabilities in neutron scattering and high-performance computing.
“This appointment provides a wonderful opportunity for the CNMS and ORNL to develop, understand, and optimize new polymer synthesis methods and to perform world-leading fundamental research in polymer science,” said CNMS director Karren More.
As a Governor’s Chair, Advincula will serve joint appointments at ORNL and UT, where he will serve in the Tickle College of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Advincula is the third Governor’s Chair named to that department, joining Thomas Zawodzinski and Art Ragauskas.
“Our joint efforts with ORNL have positioned us as leaders in many fields, with advanced materials and polymers being of particular importance,” said UT provost David Manderscheid. “Dr. Advincula brings an expertise that will elevate us even further, and I am eager to see the breakthroughs that lie ahead.”
Previously, Advincula was a professor at Case Western Reserve University, with appointments in macromolecular science and engineering, chemistry and biomedical engineering. Other past experience includes positions at the University of Houston and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Advincula completed undergraduate studies at the University of the Philippines and earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Florida.
He is a fellow of the American Chemical Society, an elected member of the National Academy of Science and Technology in the Philippines and the current editor in chief of MRS Communications. His accomplishments include more than 500 publications and 14 patents.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit