Paul Cherukuri named executive director of IBB

Paul Cherukuri ’08 was appointed executive director of the Rice Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) this month.

photo of Paul Cherukuri, executive director of IBB

Paul Cherukuri

As executive director, he is responsible for the development and implementation of programs that enhance the IBB’s mission of promoting bio-related education and cross-disciplinary research. Cherukuri will serve as a key liaison with Rice and Texas Medical Center constituents for continued and expanded support of IBB programs by developing funding opportunities that bring additional research support to the institute’s faculty and students.

“Paul brings a 15-plus-year history of laboratory, administrative and education experience in the academic and industry sectors,” said Jane Grande-Allen, director of the IBB and the Isabel C. Cameron Professor of Bioengineering. “He has a wealth of knowledge in biomedicine, pharmaceuticals, chemistry and physics, and he has a long association with Rice as well, having worked in the labs of Nobel laureate Richard Smalley, Bruce Weisman and James Tour.”

For the past two years, Cherukuri worked with Tour, the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Chemistry and professor of computer science and of materials science and nanoengineering. In Tour’s lab he managed the research activities of one of the largest chemistry and nanotechnology research groups at Rice. Prior to working with Tour, Cherukuri was a senior scientist at Sanofi, where he managed the research and development of numerous top-selling drug products. He was also an assistant professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics. He earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at Rice under the supervision of Smalley and Weisman and a B.S. in physics from the University of Kentucky.

“I am thrilled to join Dr. Grande-Allen and our remarkable staff at the IBB as we mark our 30th anniversary,” Cherukuri said. “The IBB is a cornerstone Rice institute with a rich history of fostering educational programs and seeding collaborative relationships within Rice and the Texas Medical Center. We will celebrate this milestone anniversary with a special event this fall and unveil innovative research initiatives for IBB faculty and students in 2017. I am certain that the next 30 years will be even more exciting than the last!”

Cherukuri also conducts research focused on developing electroceutical therapy for treating cancer and heart disease. Earlier this year he published a paper on his discovery of Teslaphoresis — a phenomenon by which a strong force field generated by a Tesla coil causes carbon nanotubes to remotely self-assemble into long wires — that was highlighted as an American Chemical Society Editors’ Choice article and received national media attention as a breakthrough in nanotechnology.


About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.