Krzysztof Matyjaszewski-Matyjaszewski Polymer Group - Carnegie Mellon University

Krzysztof Matyjaszewski

photo of Kris MatyjaszewskiKrzysztof (Kris) Matyjaszewski, Ph.D., professor in the department of chemistry at the Mellon College of Science, Carnegie Mellon University, is an internationally recognized polymer chemist who is highly regarded for his vision, his leadership in education and his many collaborative research efforts that have yielded significant innovations in polymer chemistry.  He is perhaps best known for the discovery of atom radical transfer polymerization (ATRP), a novel method of polymer synthesis that has revolutionized the way macromolecules are made.

Education and Career Accomplishments

Matyjaszewski was born in Konstantynow, Poland in 1950. He received his doctorate from the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1976 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Florida in 1977. From 1978 to 1984, he was a research associate of the Polish Academy of Sciences. From 1984 to 1985, Matyjaszewski held appointments at the University of Paris, first as a research associate and then as a visiting professor. In 1985, he joined Carnegie Mellon, where he founded and currently directs the Center for Macromolecular Engineering. The Center for Macromolecular Engineering is funded both by an active consortium and government agencies, including the National Science Foundation ( In 1998, Matyjaszewski was appointed the J.C. Warner Professor of Natural Sciences.  In 2004 he was named a University Professor, the highest distinction faculty can achieve at Carnegie Mellon. A short bio is available here. A more detailed bio is available here.

From 1994 to 1998, Matyjaszewski served as head of the Department of Chemistry and assisted in recruiting additional faculty with strengths in polymer chemistry. At the same time, he formed a research consortium with various industrial corporations to expand the understanding of controlled radical polymerization, including ATRP, and accelerate the transfer of this technology to different commercial applications. A second consortium, formed under his leadership in 2001, continues and expands these efforts, training university and industrial scientists in procedures for responsive polymeric material development. Over 55 companies from Europe, Asia and North America have been members of these consortia. Matyjaszewski is a co-inventor on 50 issued U.S. patented technologies, holds 147 international patents and has 36 U.S. patent applications pending approval.  

One of the leading educators in the field of polymer chemistry, Matyjaszewski has 15 current doctoral students and 5 postdoctoral fellows. He has mentored more than 200 undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students since joining Carnegie Mellon. He has authored 17 books, 84 book chapters and more than 866 peer-reviewed scientific papers. His work has been cited in the scientific literature more than 65,000 times, making him one of the most cited chemists in the world.

Awards and Recognition

Matyjaszewski has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry, the 2015 International Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences; 2017 Medema Lecture Award (Polymer Technology Netherlands); the 2014 National Institute of Materials Science (Japan) Award, the Inaugural AkzoNobel North American Science Award (ACS) 2013, the 2012 Société Chimique de France Prize, 2012 Dannie-Heineman Prize from the Goettingen Academy of Sciences 2011 Wolf Prize in Chemistry, 2011 Japanese Society for Polymer Science Award and 2009 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. He has been honored by the American Chemical Society with their 2014 Charles Overberger Award (ACS); inaugural 2013 AkzoNobel North America Science Award, 2011 Herman F. Mark Award, 2011 Applied Polymer Science Award, 2007 Herman F. Mark Senior Scholar Award, 2004 Cooperative Research Award in Polymer Science & Engineering, 2002 Polymer Chemistry Award, and the 1995 Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award. He also received the 2005 UK Macro Medal for outstanding achievements in polymer science, 1995 Humboldt Award for Senior U.S. Scientists and a 1989 Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. In 2010, he was elected as Fellow of the American Chemical Society, in 2006, he was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and in 2014 he was elected a Fellow of National Academy of Inventors (NAI). He is also a member of Russian Academy of Sciences and honorary member of Chinese Chemical Society and Israel Chemical Society.

Matyjaszewski’s work has been well recognized in his native country of Poland. In 2012 He received Marie Sklodowska-Curie Medal from Polish Chemical Society and in 2004, the Annual Prize of the Foundation of Polish Science, referred to as the Polish Nobel Prize.  In 2005 he became a foreign member of the Polish Academy of Science, and in 2007, he received an honorary degree from Lodz Polytechnic and in 2016 from Poznan University, in Poland. He has also received honorary degrees from the University of Ghent, Belgium, Russian Academy of Sciences, University of Athens, Greece, Polytechnic Institute in Toulouse, France, Pusan National University, South Korea, Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France: Universite P. & M. Curie, Sorbonne, France.

Interview on YouTube