Lowell, Mass. — Ramaswamy Nagarajan, an innovator in developing more sustainable and resilient materials, has been named the University of Massachusetts Lowell's 2022 Distinguished University Professor.
The annual award honors selected professors for exemplary teaching, research and service to the university. It is the highest accolade bestowed on a UMass Lowell faculty member.
"I am honored and humbled by this recognition," Nagarajan said. "The UMass Lowell community has inspired me and provided me the chance to work collaboratively with our students, faculty and staff in research, education and developing innovations that make an impact in many ways. I will be eternally grateful to the university for this opportunity and to my family for their support."
Nagarajan joined the university's plastics engineering department in 2006. Today he serves as the senior director of strategic defense research projects and co-director of the university's HEROES initiative. In this role, he works with U.S. Army scientists and engineers to develop lighter, stronger and more protective uniforms, equipment and portable energy sources for soldiers.
Nagarajan also co-directs UMass Lowell's Fabric Discovery Center and the university's Center for Advanced Materials, and partners with the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell. In these roles, he is pioneering the development of more sustainable, multifaceted substances, including environmentally friendly flame retardants, solar-powered plastics, inks that conduct electricity, flexible electronics and "smart" clothing.
Nagarajan has been awarded 77 research grants totaling more than $22 million and holds 20 patents on technology he has developed. In 2011, the UMass Lowell Graduate Student Association honored him with its Faculty Member of the Year award.
Nagarajan received his master's and doctoral degrees in plastics engineering from UMass Lowell, along with a Bachelor of Technology from Anna University and a Bachelor of Science from Loyola College, both in India.
Nagarajan will serve as Distinguished University Professor until 2025 and deliver a keynote address about his field of study to the campus and community next spring. He is the 15th professor to be recognized since the honor was established at UMass Lowell in 2008.