Ruben Carbonell, Ph.D.
Dr. Ruben G. Carbonell is the Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University and also serves as director for the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science. From 2007–2017, Dr. Carbonell served as BTEC's executive director and now holds the title of BTEC Distinguished Fellow.
He joined NC State in 1984, after 10 years in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of California, Davis, and was department head of Chemical Engineering at NC State from 1994 to 1999. Professor Carbonell was co-director of the NSF Science and Technology Center for Environmentally Responsible Solvents and Processes from 1999 to 2008 and director of that center’s industrial consortium on the Utilization of Carbon Dioxide in Manufacturing.
His main areas of research include molecular recognition processes for biological molecules using ligands derived from combinatorial libraries, and their applications to separations, detection and pathogen removal. He has been an invited speaker at numerous leading universities, national and international meetings, and he has served as a consultant or board member for several centers, institutes, corporations and national laboratories.
Professor Carbonell was born in Cuba, moved to the United States in 1958, and earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Manhattan College in 1969 and a doctorate in chemical engineering from Princeton University in 1973. He has advised over 70 master's and doctoral students and 33 postdoctoral students and visiting faculty. Prof. Carbonell has published nearly 200 papers, is an inventor on more than 23 patents and is co-founder of two company start-ups, Ligamar, Inc. and PRDT, Inc.
He was named NC State University Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor in 1994 and won the NC State University Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award in 1989. He also won the Maurice Simpson Technical Editor's Award for Excellence in the Field of Contamination Control from the Institute of Environmental Sciences in 1992 and the R. J. Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Extension from the NC State College of Engineering in 1990. In 2001, he received the Alcoa Outstanding Research Award from the College of Engineering. He was named Hoechst Celanese Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1989, KoSa Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1999, and Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor in 2002. In 2003, he was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and in 2007 he was awarded the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence at NC State University, the highest award given to university faculty. In 2008, he was named a Fellow of the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society.
In 2014, Professor Carbonell was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in recognition of his research and innovation in multiphase reactor design, high-pressure thin-film coating, and novel bioseparation processes. Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."