Richard A. Durst

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

Food Science & Technology

Cornell University


B.S. (with highest honors), Chemistry (minor: German), University of Rhode Island, 1960

Ph.D., Analytical Chemistry (minor Biophysics), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963


Durst joined the Cornell faculty in 1990 as Professor of Chemistry. He became Chairman of the Dept of FS&T in 1999 and Director of Cornell Institute of Food Science in 2000. He previously taught at Pomona College, Boston College and the University of Maryland. Before coming to Cornell, he served as Research Chemist, Group Leader, Section Chief, and Deputy Director in the Center for Analytical Chemistry at the National Institute of Standards & Technology (formerly the National Bureau of Standards).  In 2006, he retired and is currently Professor Emeritus of Chemistry working as an expert witness in pharmaceutical litigations, and serving on various professional and governmental committees.




Research Interests

Durst’s interests covered a broad range of analytical techniques including electrochemistry, spectroscopy, and separation science. His specific research interests included the application of biological recognition (antibodies, biological receptors and nucleic acid probes) and liposome amplification strategies to the development of biosensing devices for extra-laboratory screening. Flow-injection analysis techniques, and subsequently, microfluidic systems, using regenerable immunoreactors and marker-loaded liposomes, were also used to develop automated bioanalytical systems for laboratory-based analyses of clinical analytes, environmental pollutants and food contaminants. These approaches combined the features of high-specificity and ultra-sensitivity available with bioanalytical formats in conjunction with selective detection methods based on both optical and electrochemical transduction mechanisms.

As Director of the Cornell Analytical Chemistry Laboratories, he was responsible for the operations of the IR-4 Northeast Regional Pesticide Laboratory, the Toxic Chemicals Analytical Laboratory and the Durst Bioanalytical Research Laboratory.