Rodney Priestley is dean of the Graduate School and the Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. He is the senior administrator overseeing central academic policies and associated curricular and administrative processes for all graduate programs, as well as the non-degree graduate exchanges and visitor programs (domestic and international) in which Princeton participates.
Prior to becoming dean, he was Princeton’s inaugural vice dean for innovation, providing academic leadership for innovation and entrepreneurship activities across campus. He is also co-director of the NSF I-Corps Northeast Hub, a Princeton-led National Science Foundation consortium of universities that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the region.
Priestley is a polymer and soft matter scientist. His research involves describing and developing complex materials, especially nanoparticles, thin polymer films and nanocomposites, focusing on material properties at small length scales. He is also an inventor of several technologies, including manufacturing processes to make structured colloids and membranes for sustainable water production. Priestley is also an entrepreneur, having co-founded several companies based on discoveries from his academic research.
Priestley is the editor of one book and the author of more than 115 scientific articles and a dozen patents. Select professional recognitions include the NSF Early Career Award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Young Scientist and Engineers, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Owens Corning Early Career Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Dillon Medal from the American Physical Society, and the ACS Macro Letters/Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules Young Investigator Award.
Priestley earned his B.S. in chemical engineering from Texas Tech University and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. He joined the Princeton faculty in 2009 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles in Paris.