Evan Scott
UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science welcomes the new director of nanoSTAR, Evan Scott, Ph.D., on Aug.1. (Contributed photo)

The Jefferson Scholars Foundation is pleased to announce that Evan A. Scott, Ph.D., a preeminent scholar in biomedical engineering, will join the University of Virginia’s faculty as the Thomas A. Saunders III Family Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished University Professor. Renowned for his pioneering work utilizing nanotechnology to combat cancer, glaucoma, and heart disease, among other diseases and ailments, Scott is set to lead UVA’s Institute for Nanoscale Scientific and Technological Advanced Research, or nanoSTAR, amidst the launch of the Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology

Scott brings to UVA more than a decade of experience teaching and spearheading groundbreaking research at Northwestern University. His work, which has been generously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), applies principles from biomaterials science, nanotechnology, and tissue engineering towards the development of translational immunotherapies. At UVA, he will hold dual appointments in both the School of Medicine and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. In addition, he will support UVA’s Cancer Center and will work to foster interdisciplinary collaborations across Grounds.

“Scott’s professorship is special in a couple of different ways,” said Jimmy Wright, president of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation. “Not only is it one of the first-ever fully endowed University Professorships at UVA, but it is also funded at the $10 million level, the highest of any professorship funded by the Foundation.”

UVA reserves the title of University Professor for exceptionally distinguished faculty. Holders are appointed by, and report directly to, the provost and president, and must be approved by the Board of Visitors. The designation serves as a powerful recruitment incentive for scholars who, like Scott, are at the top of their field.

“It’s fundamental to have the kind of ample funding the Foundation is providing,” said Scott. “It will allow me to expand my work in the same ways that NIH funding has over the last decade.”

In 2015, Scott received the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, which, he says, gave him the freedom at a critical stage in his career to put multiple ideas into action. Prior to receiving the award, he focused his research on developing novel therapies and technologies to treat heart disease, but with additional funding, he was able to expand and apply his research to allergies, cancer, and infectious diseases. He hopes to continue expanding his work at UVA. 

“Funding from the Foundation sealed the deal for me to come to UVA,” said Scott, “but I am also equally excited to work with Melina Kibbe and Jennifer West.”

Scott and Kibbe, UVA School of Medicine’s dean and chief health affairs officer, were formerly colleagues when Kibbe served as deputy director of the Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology at Northwestern University. 

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Scott to head up nanoSTAR at this critical turning point in nanotechnology research at the University of Virginia,” said Kibbe. As director of nanoSTAR, Scott also will hold the David Goodman Family Bicentennial Professorship in Nanomedicine. 

“Nanotechnology has vast untapped potential to benefit patients everywhere,” said Kibbe. “It is a long-standing strength for UVA and will be a foundational pillar of the Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology.”

Jennifer West, dean of UVA’s Engineering School, a prolific scholar in the field of biomaterial science, has been an inspiration and at times a mentor for Scott since he was in graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis.

“Dr. Scott will be instrumental in enabling us to capitalize fully on the tremendous nanotechnology work taking place at UVA,” said West.

With over 80 publications, 21 patents, and nearly 30 career-affirming awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Nano Research Young Innovator Award in Nanobiotechnology, the Biomedical Engineering Society Mid-Career Award, the BMES Young Innovator of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, Scott brings a wealth of expertise and scholarly recognition to UVA. He is the eighth holder of a professorship endowed by the Foundation to join the University’s faculty, as well as the first of two University Professorships funded by the late Tom Saunders, his wife Jordan, and their daughter Calvert Saunders Moore. Active searches are underway for six more Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished Professors, including two that are Distinguished University Professorships. In time, and with continued fundraising success, the Foundation expects to support as many as 25-30 outstanding faculty at UVA. 

Scott is slated to commence his role as the Thomas A. Saunders III Family Jefferson Scholars Foundation Distinguished University Professor on August 1, 2024.


This article was originally published by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation.

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