Richard Willson

Richard Willson is Huffington-Woestemeyer Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Biochemistry, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Houston. He also is a Senior Affiliate of the Houston Methodist Research Institute at The Methodist Hospital and a member of the SCBMB program at the Baylor College of Medicine.  His academic training at Caltech and MIT was in Chemical and Biochemical engineering; he was then a post-doctoral researcher in Biology at MIT.  He is a fellow of the AAAS, ACS, AIMBE and NAI, and former Theme Leader for Diagnostics of the US NIH Western Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases.  He has been involved in several startups, and until recently served as interim Associate VP for Technology Transfer at the University of Houston, which, excluding medical schools, has the largest patent royalty income of any US public university.


  • 2015 Pierce Award in Affinity Technology, International Society for Molecular Recognition
  • 2014-present Fellow, US National Academy of Inventors
  • 2014 Elected to Phi Kappa Phi
  • 2014-present Fellow, American Chemical Society
  • 2013-present Huffington-Woestemeyer Professor
  • 2012 Co-organizer, AACC Oak Ridge Conference on Emerging Diagnostics, San Jose, CA
  • 2011-present Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2010-2013 John and Rebecca Moores Professor (UH campus-wide competitive)
  • 2009 Fluor-Daniel Award (highest faculty award of the UH Cullen College of Engineering)
  • 2008-present Theme Leader, Diagnostics, NIH Western Regional Center of Excellence
  • 2005 Senior Faculty Research Excellence Award, UH College of Engineering
  • 2001 van Lanen Award, ACS
  • 1999-present Fellow, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering
  • 1997-2002 Shell/UH Interdisciplinary Scholar
  • 1993 3M Young Faculty Award (Life Sciences Division)
  • 1990-1995 NSF Presidential Young Investigator
  • 1984-present Sigma Xi
  • 1983-1984 Pfizer Predoctoral Fellowship in Biochemical Engineering
  • 1982-1983 Shell Predoctoral Fellowship
  • 1981 Robert Noland Leadership Award; elected to Kappa Gamma
  • 1977-1981 Adolph Coors Foundation Frontiers of Science Scholarship


  • 2008-present: Editorial Board, PLOS ONE
  • 2008-present: Affiliate, SCBMB Program, Baylor College of Medicine
  • 2007-present: Senior Affiliate Member, Houston Methodist Research Institute
  • 2006-present: Member, Faculty of 1000
  • 2004-2007: President, International Society for Molecular Recognition
  • 2003-present: Editorial board, Biotechnology Progress
  • 2001-present: Editorial board, Journal of Molecular Recognition
  • 1999: Chair, American Chemical Society; Division of Biochemical Technology
  • 1999: Member/Past Chair, UH Intellectual Property Committee
  • 1998-2002: Council on Chemical Research (CCR) Vision 2020 Roadmap committee on Bioprocessing