Dr. Robert Kelly obtained his B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia. After working for two years at DuPont’s Marshall Laboratory in Philadelphia, PA, focusing on waste management problems in coatings manufacture, he moved to North Carolina State University, where he directed Process Engineering for the EPA Coal Gasification/Gas Cleaning Facility. At the same time, he completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State. From there, he moved to Johns Hopkins University as a faculty member in Chemical Engineering, and while there developed a research program focusing on microorganisms from extreme environments, with particular interest in high temperatures. While at Johns Hopkins, he also held adjunct appointments in the Center of Marine Biotechnology at the University of Maryland, and in the Biotechnology Core Lab in NIDDK at NIH.
In 1992, Dr. Kelly returned to North Carolina State University as Professor of Chemical Engineering. In 1998, he was named Alcoa Professor of Chemical Engineering and in 2000 became Director of the NC State Biotechnology Program. He also served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies from 2000-02. Dr. Kelly has consulted for numerous biotechnology companies, and served on the founding Scientific Board of Diversa Corporation. Since 2007, he has participated in the Bioenergy Science Center (BESC), based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Among the honors he has received are election as a Fellow of AIMBE (1996) and AAAS (2007), the RJR Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Extension, NC State University College of Engineering (2003), the ACS BIOT Marvin Johnson Award (2004), the AIChE Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Award (2007). Dr. Kelly’s research interests center on the biology and biotechnology of extremophilic microorganisms.