Virgil Percec was born and educated in Romania (PhD in 1976). In 1981 he defected his native country and after short postdoctoral stays at the University of Freiburg in Germany (July-August 1981) and University of Akron, US (August 1981 to March 1982) he joined the Department of Macromolecular Science of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, US in March 1982 as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1984 and to Professor in 1986. In 1993 he was awarded the Leonard Case Jr. Chair at Case Western Reserve University and in 1999 he was invited to join the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia as P. Roy Vagelos Chair and Professor of Chemistry. He has been repeatedly a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Freiburg, Ulm and at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz (all in Germany) and at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
His list of awards includes Honorary Foreign Member of the Romanian Academy (1993), Humboldt Award for Senior US Scientists (1997), Honorary Citizen of Siret in Romania (1999), NSF Research Award for Creativity in Research (1990, 1995, 2000, 2015), Fellow of IUPAC (2001), PTN Polymer Award from the Netherlands (2002), Fellow of PMSE Division of ACS (2003), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2004), the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry (2004), the Staudinger Medal from ETH (2005), Doctor Honoris Causa from Polytechnic University, Iasi (2007), University of Athens, Greece (2007) and Polytechnic University Bucharest, Romania (2016), the International Award and Medal of the Society of Polymer Science, Japan (2007), the H.F. Mark Medal from the Austrian Institute for Science and Technology, Vienna (2008), Honorary Member of the Israel Chemical Society (2009), Humboldt Award for Senior US Scientists (2011), the ACS Inaugural Kavli Foundation Innovation in Chemistry Lecture (2011), Honorary Professor of the Australian Institute of Bioengineering & Nanoscience, Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (2013), Honorary member and “Petru Poni” Medal of the Romanian Chemical Society (2014), Cristofor Simionescu ACS Award for excellence in Macromolecular Chemistry in Collaboration with the Romanian International Chapter (2015).
He served as Editor of the Journal of Polymer Science Part A Polymer Chemistry (1996-2013), of the book series Liquid Crystals (2007-2013), and currently is Editor of Advances in Polymer Science (2013-). Currently he is on the Editorial and Advisory Boards of 22 International Journals, on the Scientific Advisory Boards of several Companies, National Laboratories and of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanoscience. He is a consultant to numerous US and International Companies and Governmental Offices. He was ranked by Thomson Reuters as one of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” for the years 2014, 2015, and 2016.
His research interest is at the interface between organic, supramolecular, and macromolecular chemistry, catalysis, liquid crystals, nanoscience and synthetic biology, where he contributed over 740 refereed publications, 80 patents, edited 19 books and presented over 1200 endowed, invited and plenary lectures.