Vikas Berry, professor and head of UIC’s Department of Chemical Engineering, received his PhD in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech in 2006. He obtained his master’s degree from the University of Kansas in 2003 and his bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi in 1999.
During Berry’s tenure as head, which started in 2015, the department has transformed in several ways. In 2019, the department moved to the new, state-of-the-art Engineering Innovation Building, which features 40 percent more research space, a modern classroom annexed to the unit-operations lab, learning spaces spread throughout the building, vibration-dampened nanotechnology labs, biomedical research rooms, a darkroom, and molecular engineering research labs. Since 2015, the department faculty has doubled in size. Research expenditures have increased by 150 percent, and the number of journal publications has doubled. Graduate enrollment has increased by 20 percent. The department also has initiated new international programs (China 3+2 and MAP) and has thoroughly upgraded its curriculum to add new concentrations in polymer and molecular engineering, process simulations, nanotechnology, energy and environment, and intellectual property and entrepreneurship.
In his research career, Berry has made pioneering contributions in the fields of graphene quantum materials and bio/nano technologies. He has earned many honors, including the NSF-CAREER Award in 2011, the Sigma Xi Outstanding Junior Scientist Award in 2010, the Big 12 Fellowship in 2009, and a chaired-professorship appointment (the William H. Honstead Professorship at Kansas State University) from 2012 to 2014. His work on graphene biointerfaces is considered a nodal point in the evolution of graphene’s biological applications.
Berry is a member of the editorial board of Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group) and the Journal of Nanoscience Letters. Research results from Berry’s group have been published in several high-impact journals, including Nature Photonics, Nature Communications, Nano Letters, Advanced Materials, and Small, and have been featured in Nature, Science News, Washington Post, The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, Discover, Chemical Engineering Progress, and Physics World, among other news outlets. Berry’s research is funded by the NSF, DoD, and industry.