2023-24 Distinguished University Professor

The Distinguished University Professor title is awarded permanently to no more than three exceptional faculty per year.

One faculty member has been named Distinguished University Professor, the highest faculty honor at The Ohio State University. Following the recommendation of Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Karla Zadnik, the Board of Trustees formally conferred the title on Judit Puskas.

Portrait photo of Judit Puskas

Judit Puskas

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
Distinguished Professor, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster

Judit Puskas joined Ohio State in 2019, continuing a prolific industry and academic career in rubber technology, developing polymers with multiple applications. A world-renowned polymer expert, Puskas’ impact on her field and her students is broadly recognized.

She is perhaps best known as the co-inventor of the polymer used to coat the Taxus coronary stent licensed by Boston Scientific. Implanted in more than 10 million patients since the early 2000s, her work significantly improved outcomes for cardiovascular disease patients by preventing arteries from blocking again after implantation.

Her recent work includes equally innovative projects such as the development of polymers using enzyme catalysis for cancer diagnostics and therapies, the development of a flexible nanofiber-based surgical mask, and natural rubber synthesis to provide a domestically sourced product that uses marginal U.S. farmland and reduces the environmental footprint of rubber production.

Puskas’ significant contributions to her field and society have been recognized with numerous prestigious awards. She was the first woman to win the Charles Goodyear Medal, the highest honor conferred by the American Chemical Society's Rubber Division. In recognition of sustained excellence in innovation, research and education, she has been elected as a Fellow of several prestigious institutes and academies, including,

American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
National Academy of Inventors
National Academy of Engineering

Puskas’ extensive research on polymers has resulted in more than 430 publications and 33 patents, showcasing the significant applied impacts of her research in biomedical engineering and sustainability. Her service to her field through chairing international conferences, roles with top journals and review of National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and global research proposals is exemplary and continues to expand her reputation.

Puskas is also a dedicated mentor to her research team, students and visiting scholars who spend time in her lab. She has mentored several dozen doctoral and master’s students and more than 30 postdocs, many of whom have gone on to roles at top institutions in medicine, industry and research.

The title Distinguished University Professor is a permanent honorific that includes automatic membership in the President’s and Provost’s Advisory Committee. In addition, the Office of Academic Affairs designates a one-time cash award of $30,000 to be used for scholarly work. To date, 72 faculty members have now been awarded the Distinguished University Professor title.

This program has a rigorous selection process that begins each August. The Office of Academic Affairs sends a call for nominations to recommend faculty for this honor. Department chairs, school directors or faculty awards committees forward their nominations to their college deans. Deans develop a college review process, solicit support letters nationally and internationally and forward their final nomination decisions to our office.