Nelson Vinueza Benitez

Nelson Vinueza Benitez

Associate Professor, TECS

Polymer and Color Chemistry
Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science

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About Nelson Vinueza Benitez

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Dr. Vinueza was born and raised in Quito-Ecuador; his formal education began at Colegio Americano de Quito (School). Later Dr. Vinueza obtained his B.S. in Industrial Chemistry and B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Universidad San Francisco de Quito. He then earned his Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry from Purdue University, under the mentorship of Professor Hilkka Kenttämaa, where he studied the chemical reactivity of carbon-center tri- and tetraradicals as a way to design better cancer drugs, Also, during this time he complete all the requirements of Purdue’s Forensic Minor program.

In 2010, Dr. Vinueza was a Post-doctoral fellow of the Department of Energy (DOE) in the Center of Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels (C3BIO) an Energy Frontiers Research Center, at Purdue University. During this time Vinueza’s research focus was the development of new mass spectrometry methods for the analysis of lignin and cellulose degradation products as well as bio-oil.

Prior to joining NC State as an Assistant Professor, Dr. Vinueza was part of the Proyecto Prometeo of Ecuador, which is an initiative of the Ecuadorian government to enhance the productivity and research of national institutions and to attract top scientists. As part of Prometeo, Dr. Vinueza joined the Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalia General del Estado del Ecuador) to advance the area of Forensic Sciences. During this time, he managed the process of opening three new forensic national laboratories and demonstrating their capabilities to the national authorities and to the national press. Dr. Vinueza was in charge of setting up the laboratories of chemistry, biology and histopathology, as well as training in the area of criminalistics, forensic and analytical chemistry for the 45 new scientists of the three new forensic centers.Also, as part of the Prometeo project he was involved in the development of the chemistry program of the new research university Yachay, one of biggest investment of the actual government.


Research in the Vinueza group centers around three aspects of mass spectrometry (MS): fundamentals, instrumentation and applications. Fundamental studies aimed to enhance the analytical capabilities of mass spectrometry focus on the characterization of dyes from the recent donated Max Weaver dye library, with around 100,000 dyes.

Instrumentation development includes a wide range of projects in tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), chromatography and microfluidics. We are currently utilizing microfluidics to extract dyes from fibers in combination with a quadrupole-time-of-flight for a faster characterization.

Applications of MS techniques developed in our group include studies in biofuels and forensic analysis. Current projects include characterization of bio-oil from lignocellulose biomass, sequencing of oligosaccharides and fast analysis of chemicals of forensic interest, such as dyes, inks, fibers, polymers and drugs. These applications involve direct collaboration with colleagues in other departments on campus and around the world.

Mass spectrometry, chromatography, FT-Raman, FT-IR, organic synthesis and gas-phase ion chemistry are central tools for the lab.

Academic Degrees

  • Post-doctoral fellow C3Bio, DOE EFRC (Energy Frontiers Research Center) Research Focus: Develop mass spectrometry methods for the analysis of lignin and cellulose degradation products as well as bio-oil, Purdue University, 2012
  • Ph.D. Physical Organic Chemistry, Purdue University, 2010
  • Dissertation Reactivity Studies of Charged σ,σ,σ-Triradicals Using the Distonic Ion Approach and Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry, ,
  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito-Ecuador, 2003
  • B.S. Industrial Chemistry, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito-Ecuador, 2001


Converting Textile Waste to Pumpable Slurry for Biogas Production
Environmental Research & Education Foundation(9/01/21 - 8/31/23)
Differential Scanning Fluorimetry (DSF) Methods for Studying Protein Stability
National Institutes of Health (NIH)(8/05/21 - 5/31/22)
Consumer Fabrics: Dye Characterization and Profiling
Procter & Gamble(3/16/20 - 12/15/20)
Fundamental Studies of Cotton Fabric Dyes, Finishes and Their Degradation Products in Aquatic Ecosystems
Cotton, Inc.(11/30/-1 - 12/31/21)
Engineering of Nonwovens by Optimizing Skin Delivery and Assessment Methods – Infrared Skin Health Assessment (ISHA) NWI Core Project
NCSU Nonwovens Institute(8/01/19 - 7/31/20)
Study of Simple and Complex Aromatic Systems by Tandem Mass Spectrometry
National Institute of Standards & Technology(9/01/19 - 8/31/22)
Identification of Minor Dye Components of Fibers via Integrating-Cavity-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy
National Institute of Justice(1/01/19 - 2/28/22)
Fundamental Studies of Cotton Fabric Finishes and Their Degradation Products in Soil
Cotton Research and Development Corporation (1/01/18 - 12/31/19)
Fundamental Studies of Cotton Fabric Finishes and Their Degradation Products in Soil
Cotton, Inc.(1/01/18 - 12/31/19)
Allergic Contact Dermatitis from Disperse Dyes in Textiles
NCSU Center for Human Health and the Environment(7/01/17 - 6/30/18)


  • PCC 104 - Introduction to Polymer and Color Chemistry Laboratory ,
  • PCC 474 - Forensic Analytical Chemistry Laboratory ,
  • PCC 412 - Textile Chemical Analysis ,
  • PCC 414 - Textile Chemical Analysis Laboratory ,
  • T 491 - Honors Seminar in Textiles ,
  • TC 589 - Criminalsitics and Forensic Chemical Analysis ,

Additional Information

Recent Publications

  1. Nelson R Vinueza, Eurick S Kim, Vanessa A Gallardo, Nathan S Mosier, Mahdi M Abu-Omar, Nicholas C Carpita, Hilkka I Kenttämaa (2015). Tandem mass spectrometric characterization of the conversion of xylose to furfural. Biomass and Bioenergy , 74 , 1-5.
  2. Wenwen Zhang, Nelson R Vinueza, Preeta Datta, Stephen Michielsen (2015). Functional dye as a comonomer in a water‐soluble polymer. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry , 53 (13) , 1594-1599.
  3. Nelson R Vinueza, Bartlomiej Jankiewicz, Vanessa A Gallardo, John Nash, Hilkka Kenttamaa (2015). Reactivity Controlling Factors for an Aromatic Carbon-centered σ,σ,σ-Triradical,the 4,5,8-Tridehydroisoquinolinium Ion. Chemistry – A European Journal , Accepted.
  4. Matthew R. Hurt, John C. Degenstein, Piotr Gawecki, David J. Borton, Nelson R. Vinueza, Linan Yang, Rakesh Agrawal, W. Nicholas Delgass, Fabio H Ribeiro, and Hilkka Inkeri Kenttamaa (2013). On-Line Mass Spectrometric Methods for the Determination of the Primary Products of Fast Pyrolysis of Carbohydrates and for Their Gas-Phase Manipulation. Analytical Chemistry , 85 (22) , 10927-10934.
  5. Bartłomiej J. Jankiewicz, Nelson R. Vinueza, Lindsey M. Kirkpatrick, Vanessa A. Gallardo, Guannan Li, John J. Nash, Hilkka I. Kenttämaa (2013). Does the 2,6-didehydropyridinium cation exist?. Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry , 26 (9) , 707-714.