In 1978, Mark Holtzapple received his BS in chemical engineering from Cornell University. In 1981, he received his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. After obtaining his degrees, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army and worked to develop a portable air conditioning system that soldiers could wear to prevent heat stress while wearing chemical protective clothing. In 1986, he became a professor of chemical engineering at Texas A&M University. His research interests include fuels and chemicals from biomass, feed and food processing, water desalination, high-efficiency engines, high-efficiency air conditioning, advanced electric motors, and vertical-lift aircraft.