CHICAGO (CBS) — Considered a “visionary” and an expert in the fields of bioengineering and nanotechnology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale Chancellor Dr. Carlo Montemagno passed away Thursday morning.

According to a school’s news release, Montemagno joined SIU Carbondale as chancellor in 2017. Before SIU, Montemagno “founded the interdisciplinary Ingenuity Lab based at the University of Alberta in Canada.”

He was also a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering as well as founding chair of the Department of Bioengineering  and co-director of the NASA Center for Cell Mimetic Space Exploration at the University of California, Los Angeles.

While winning numerous awards throughout his distinguished career Montemagno received a doctoral degree in civil engineering and geological sciences from Notre Dame.

The chancellor was named a Bill & Melinda Gates Grand Challenge Winner “for his development of an oral vaccine delivery system that increased vaccine stability.”

“His loss will be deeply felt at SIU, in Southern Illinois and in the scientific and academic communities. Please join me in sharing our thoughts and prayers with his wife Pam, family and many friends,” said Interim President Kevin Dorsey. ” I have asked the Board of Trustees to convene a special meeting as soon as possible to appoint an interim chancellor.”