Donald A. Tomalia
Adjunct Professor of Chemistry


Dr. Tomalia received his B.A. in chemistry from the University of Michigan and while at The Dow Chemical Company completed his Ph.D. in physical-organic chemistry from Michigan State University under the mentorship of Professor Harold Hart.  His discovery of the cationic polymerization of 2-oxazolines led to two international industrial research awards (R&D-100) for creative research in 1978 and 1986.  His discovery of dendrimers (dendritic polymer architecture) in 1979 led to a third R&D-100 Award in 1991 and the Leonardo da Vinci Award (Paris, France) in 1996.  He received the Society of Polymer Science Japan (SPSJ) Award for Outstanding Achievement in Polymer Science (2003) for discovery of the fourth major macromolecular architectural class, dendritic polymers.


In 1990, he joined the Michigan Molecular Institute (MMI) as Professor and Director of Nanoscale Chemistry & Architecture (1990-99).  Dendritech, Inc., the first commercial producer of dendrimers, was co-founded by Dr. Tomalia in 1992 after which he was named founding President and Chief Scientist (1992-2000).  He became V.P. of Technology for MMI (1998-2000) while simultaneously serving as Scientific Director for the Biologic Nanotechnology Center, University Michigan Medical School (1998-2000).  Dr. Tomalia founded Dendritic Nanotechnologies, Inc. (DNT), Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, in a joint venture with Starpharma Pooled Development (Melbourne, Australia) (2002) and served as President/Chief Scientific Officer and Company Director (2002-2007).


Currently, he is the Founder and CEO of NanoSynthons LLC. Other positions currently held by Dr. Tomalia include Director of The National Dendrimer & Nanotechnology Center and Distinguished Professor/Research Scientist at Central Michigan Campus (2007-2010); Distinguished Visiting Professor, Columbia University; External Faculty, University of Wisconsin-Madison (School of Pharmacy); Chairman - Peer Review Panel for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Nanotechnology White Paper” (2006), Washington, D.C.; Board of Directors, American Society of Nanomedicine; Advisory Board, European Foundation for Nanomedicine and Faculty Member, Faculty 1000 Biology.


He is listed as the inventor of over 110 U.S. patents and is author/coauthor of more than 240 peer reviewed publications.  Over 170 papers are focused in the dendrimer/dendritic polymer field, including a monograph entitled “Dendrimers and Other Dendritic Polymers” (J. Wiley) co-edited with J.M.J. Fréchet (2001).  Dr. Tomalia serves as Associate Editor for Nanomedicine (Elsevier) (2006-), editorial advisory board of Bioconjugate Chemistry (1999-) and is a founding member of the editorial advisory board for NanoLetters (2000-2004).

Other Affiliations

National Dendrimer Center at Central Michigan University


  • B.A. University of Michigan
  • Ph.D. Michigan State University

Department of Chemistry

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