2020 O’Donnell Award in Engineering: Jeffrey Rimer, Ph.D.

Dec 4, 2019

University of Houston Researcher Jeffrey Rimer, Ph.D., Recognized for Pioneering Work Utilizing Crystallization to Prevent kidney Stones and Malaria

Jeffrey Rimer, Ph.D., Abraham E. Dukler Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Houston, is the recipient of the TAMEST 2020 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Engineering for his seminal breakthroughs using crystals to help treat malaria and kidney stones.

His approach of utilizing non-classical pathways of crystallization has led to great strides in the design of new materials, which can be translated into commercial practices. These include the synthesis of zeolites for catalysis applications and the rational design of crystals in biological and pathological diseases (i.e., kidney stones and malaria).

Focusing on crystal growth also enables Dr. Rimer to fixate on how complex mechanisms are formed, which can be used to improve the catalysis in the petrochemical process.

“What he has developed has enabled us to look at processes that nobody understood before,” said Christine Ehlig-Economides, Ph.D., William C. Miller Endowed Chair of Professor of Petroleum Engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston. “Most people think of crystals as something you can hold in your hand, but Dr. Rimer’s crystals are so tiny we can’t even see them with the naked eye. He has managed to create special molecular visualization techniques that enable visualization of both chemical and biomolecular processes and it is changing the field.”

An Endowed Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Houston, Dr. Jeffrey Rimer is known for his novel approach of applying multiple scientific disciplines to produce breakthroughs that have immediate applications in material science related to nanoparticles.

“Dr. Rimer is an internationally recognized expert in crystal engineering whose frontier research has produced drugs for treating kidney stones and malaria, as well as uncovered innovative chemical techniques in the petrochemical industry,” said TAMEST Board President Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.PH. “We are fortunate to have scientists like Dr. Rimer in the state of Texas and are honored to present him with the 2020 O’Donnell Award in Engineering.”

Dr. Rimer will be honored during the O’Donnell Awards dinner and reception on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at the TAMEST 2020 Annual Conference: Innovating Texas–Research to Commercialization. The conference takes place January 7-9, 2020, at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel in downtown Dallas. Media are encouraged to attend the ceremony and the conference.

Interview opportunities with Dr. Rimer are available. Please contact:

Jeannie Kever
University of Houston Media Relations
Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston
Office: 713-743-0778
Mobile: 713-504-3769
Email: jekever@uh.edu 

2020 TAMEST Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award Recipients:

  • Medicine: Susan “Bess” Frost, Ph.D., UT Health San Antonio
  • Engineering: Jeffrey Rimer, Ph.D., University of Houston
  • Science: Alessandra Corsi, Ph.D., Texas Tech University
  • Technology Innovation: Kristine Kieswetter, Ph.D. and Deepak Kilpadi, Ph.D., KCI

About the O’Donnell Awards:

The Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards annually recognize rising Texas researchers who are addressing the essential role that science and technology play in society, and whose work meets the highest standards of exemplary professional performance, creativity and resourcefulness.

Over $1 million has been awarded to more than 50 recipients in the categories of medicine, engineering, science and technology innovation since the inception of the O’Donnell awards in 2006. 11 O’Donnell Recipients have gone on to be elected to the National Academies. Read more about the 2020 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards recipients.


TAMEST (The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas) is the state’s premier scientific organization, bringing together Texas’ best and brightest scientists and researchers. With more than 300 members, TAMEST is composed of the Texas-based members of the three National Academies (National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering, and National Academy of Sciences), the Royal Society and the state’s 11 Nobel Laureates.


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