A Clemson University professor is receiving an award that has also gone to seven Nobel Prize winners since 1973 and recognizes his cutting-edge work in polymers.

Marek Urban, the J.E. Sirrine Foundation Endowed Chair and Professor, received the Chemical Pioneers Award from the American Institute of Chemists.

Marek Urban, right, is developing polymers that heal themselves like skin.

Marek Urban, right, is developing polymers that heal themselves like skin.

The institute credits Urban with adding antibiotics to polymers used in medical devices, an advance that has saved lives. Urban has also developed stimuli-responsive, ciliated and self-repairing polymers that could have a range of uses, including paint that heals its own scratches and cell phone screens that repair their own cracks.

“It’s an honor to know that my peers have chosen me for this award,” Urban said. “Thank you to all those who had a hand in nominating and selecting me. I also thank all my graduate students and postdocs who in various ways contributed to this recognition.”

The Chemical Pioneers Award has been given since 1966 and recognizes chemists and chemical engineers who have made outstanding contributions advancing the science of chemistry or having an impact on the chemical industry or the chemical profession.

Rajendra Bordia, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson, congratulated Urban and his team on the award.

“This award has gone to some of the top scientists in chemistry for more than a half century,” Bordia said. “This is a well-deserved recognition of Dr. Urban’s pioneering research accomplishments.”

It is the latest honor for Urban, who was recently chosen to be Fellow in a separate organization, the American Chemical Society’s Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering.