Joseph Reiner appointed chair of the Department of Physics

Joseph Reiner, Ph.D. is a professor of physics who specializes in experimental biophysics and nanoscience.
Joe Reiner

The College of Humanities and Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of Joseph Reiner, Ph.D., to the position of chair of the Department of Physics. He will begin his new position on September 1.

Reiner is a professor of physics who specializes in experimental biophysics and nanoscience. Reiner’s research interests focus on the development and applications of single molecule measurements. His lab utilizes nanopores and laser tweezers to address a variety of problems in biology, chemistry and forensics. His recent efforts have focused on using metallic nanoclusters in nanopore sensors for detecting ovarian cancer biomarkers. He also works with the Department of Forensic Science to improve DNA identification by separating different cell types with laser tweezers in sexual assault samples.  

Reiner has more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, three patents, and $1.3 million in total funding for his work. His funding sources include the NSF, NIST, Jeffress Memorial Trust, Virginia Blood Foundation, and the Virginia Center for Aging. In 2023, he was promoted to full professor and he was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors Chapter at VCU. He has served on the CHS Faculty Council and as the associate director of the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Ph.D. Program.

Reiner received his Ph.D. and M.A. in physics from the State University of New York Stony Brook and his B.S. in physics from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Reiner will succeed the outgoing chair Shiv Khanna, Ph.D. Khanna, a Commonwealth Professor and department chair since 2016, will be retiring after nearly 40 years at VCU. A world-class researcher, he has been funded continuously since 1985, receiving more than $ 10 Million. Additionally, Khanna has been a model citizen of the university, a leader in developing the nanoscience and nanotechnology doctoral program, and a tireless champion of the College of Humanities and Sciences. We deeply appreciate him and his work, and wish him well in retirement.

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