(Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the title of John Morris' Fellowship as the Dr. A.C. Lilly Jr. Faculty Fellow in Nanoscience, and to corret the biographical information of A.C. Lilly Jr.)
The Fellowship was established in the College of Science through an endowment by A.C. Lilly Jr., who earned a bachelor’s degree in geological sciences from Virginia Tech in 1956 and a Ph.D. in physics from Virginia Tech in 1989. He served on advisory boards with the College of Science and its predecessor, the College of Arts and Sciences. He established the Faculty Fellowship Endowment in Nanoscience to provide support for an outstanding faculty member in the field of nanoscience. The Fellowship appintment is for three years.
A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 1999, Morris develops nanoscience approaches that can be used to build new catalysts and to provide insight into how the unique properties of small-scale materials affect the environment. He first constructs a basic understanding for how nanoscale materials catalyze chemical transformations, and then applies that understanding to the development of next-generation systems that are more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Morris is the lead scientist on a multi-institution, $2.7 million grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency aimed at developing materials able to decompose dangerous gasses on contact, with applications including air filters, gas masks, and related detoxification products.
Morris has written more than 80 professional publications, of which 70 concentrate on the development and understanding of nanomaterials. He is the past recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and has been elected as a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow. He currently has seven funded research projects, in excess of $4 million, in progress.
In the classroom, Morris has directed 23 completed graduate theses with another 13 now in progress. He has supervised the research of more than 20 undergraduate students. He has won both teaching and service awards, and currently serves as the Department of Chemistry’s graduate program director.
Morris received his bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College in 1991 and a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 1996, completing postdoctoral associate research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1996 to 1999.