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CBEE graduate receives UMBC Outstanding Alumni Award

Dr. Scott Banta, '97 chemical engineering

Congratulations to Dr. Scott Banta, '97 chemical engineering. He was selected as the 2021 UMBC Outstanding Alumni in Engineering & Information Technology award recipient. 

The Outstanding Alumni Of the Year Award is given to a UMBC graduate who has brought distinction to the University through personal and professional achievement. Awards can be presented in each of the following areas: Aging, Engineering & Information Technology; Humanities; Natural & Mathematical Sciences; Social & Behavioral Sciences; Social Work, and Visual & Performing Arts. To be considered for this award, the nominee must have:
  • Graduated from UMBC no less than five years ago.
  • Achieved prominence in his or her field.
  • Ideally, demonstrated involvement and support of UMBC and/or the Alumni Association.
Dr. Banta will be given this award at the 2021 UMBC Alumni Awards Ceremony Wednesday, October 20, with the pre-ceremony activities beginning at 5:30 p.m. on UMBC’s campus. Details will follow. 


After graduating from the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering program at UMBC in 1997 Dr. Banta went on to earn his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Rutgers University in 2000 and 2002. Following a 2 year postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, he started his independent faculty career in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University in 2004. He is now Professor and Vice Chair of the Department. Dr. Banta started his research career as an undergraduate volunteer at UMBC in the Protein Engineering laboratory. This experience ignited his passion for synthetic biology research and he has been working in this general area ever since.

Dr. Banta’s research program has focused on the engineering of proteins and peptides for various applications in areas including biocatalysis, bioelectrocatalysis, biomaterials, gene and drug delivery, biosensing, and bioenergy. His group is also developing new biotechnology platforms for energy harvesting and conversion. He has published about 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, holds 9 U.S. patents, has given seminars around the country as well as internationally. He has received funding from every major federal funding source and already has two former PhD students with tenure in domestic Chemical Engineering departments. In 2014 he co-founded a startup company, Ironic Chemicals LLC, and the company received 2 Phase I STTR grants from the National Science Foundation.

Posted: August 17, 2021, 2:52 PM