He joined the Iowa State University chemistry faculty in 1989, and served as its Chair from 2005 to 2011. During this period he actively involved the department in the beginning of Iowa State University’s NSF-funded ADVANCE program (2006). He also oversaw the construction and inauguration of a new chemistry building (2010), Hach Hall, which brought to fruition the many efforts of a long line of his predecessors.
His research group collaborates extensively with scientists both on and off the Iowa State University campus. Petrich uses light to study a range of fundamental and applied problems, ranging from subdiffraction-limited imaging to food safety. Most recently, much of his effort is devoted to characterizing materials for alternate energy sources, such as biofuels and photovoltaics.
Petrich has received college awards for outstanding teaching (2016), graduate mentoring (2014), achievement in intellectual property (2011), departmental leadership (2009), and research (2004). Among his other recognitions are election as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2008), R&D 100 Award (2000) for developing technology to detect fecal and ingesta contamination on carcasses, Finsen Award Lecturer from the Association Internationale de Photobiologie and the American Society for Photobiology (2000), and Office of Naval Research Young Investigator (1991).
Petrich will receive the award at the Award Banquet, October 27th, at the Midwest Regional Meeting in Manhattan, KS.