JaimeLee Rizzo, PhD

Since my undergraduate research days, my work has been directed towards the synthesis and investigation of antimicrobial compounds and its applications,” says JaimeLee Rizzo, PhD, assistant chair and professor of Dyson’s Department of Chemistry and Physical Sciences. She’s also the Director of Chemical Design and Synthesis for a biotechnology company that provides sustainable, eco-friendly solutions for foodborne, waterborne, and environmental bacterial, fungal, and viral infections and contaminations.

“In the past five years we have turned our direction to the development of antimicrobial formulations which utilize naturally derived materials and plant sources,” she explains. Applications for these novel formulations include use as wound dressings, ointments, and body creams. “We are working with a company to patent and manufacture this work,” says Rizzo. “This is an exciting time for us!”

Rizzo’s resume boasts an impressive 17 patents and licensing agreements for her work in antimicrobial surfaces and potassium ion channels, 26 publications in peer-reviewed journals, two co-authored books, speaking engagements at national and international conferences, numerous grant awards, and she was even named an American Chemical Society Fellow.

On campus, Rizzo’s connection to her students is extraordinary. “I see students as they begin to absorb and understand the concepts of organic chemistry as their creative juices start flowing when they are engaged in problem solving,” she told us. “I truly enjoy working with students. They are energetic, full of new ideas, and fresh! It may sound cliché, but they really are our future!”

Of all her achievements in STEM, her greatest, she told us, happened right here at Pace. In 2018, Rizzo was presented with the Homer and Charles Pace Faculty Award at the Spirit of Pace Awards gala—by her very own students, who call themselves the Organophiles. “I was humbled by the outpouring of support and love from my former and current students that led to me being honored with this award. It was one of the most memorable times in my career.”