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Elmer L. Gaden is Wills Johnson Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia. A teacher of chemical engineering for more than 50 years, 25 of them at his alma mater, Columbia University, Dr. Gaden's central interest has been the engineering aspects of microbial processes for manufacturing chemical and pharmaceutical products ~ "biochemical engineering". A 1971 article in the American Chemical Society's Chemical and Engineering News' "Chemical Innovators" series named him "Father of Biochemical Engineering". He was the founding editor and, for 25years Editor, of the international research journal, Biotechnology and Bioengineering.
After WWII service as electronics officer on an escort aircraft camer in the Pacific, Dr. Gaden returned to Columbia for graduate study, receiving the PhD in 1949. Following this he worked in research and development for Chas. Pfizer & Co. in Brooklyn, N. Y. (now Pfizer Inc., Groton, C1.) before returning to Columbia to teach.
Dr. Gaden is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and was for several years on the National Research Council's Board of Science and Technology for International Development. During this period he led technical missions to Indonesia, Ethiopia, Portugal, Japan, and China, and also taught at the East China University of Science and Technology (Shanghai) and at the Universidad Nacional de Mexico.
Dr. Gaden is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and has received the Institute's "Founders Award", Columbia University's Egleston Medal for "distinguished engineering achievement", and an honorary doctorate from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. On his retirement from the University of Virginia (1994) he was recognized with a special symposium by the American Chemical Society's Biotechnology Division and received its Marvin Johnson Award. Especially dear to him are Columbia's "Great Teacher's Award" and the "Mac Wade Award" from the students of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science for service to the School and its students.