Professor Novotny received his undergraduate education and a doctoral degree in biochemistry at the University of Brno, Czechoslovakia. His postdoctoral training in separation science and bioanalytical chemistry includes research fellowships at the Czechoslovakia Academy of Sciences, Royal Karolinska Institute (Sweden), and University of Houston.
Dr. Novotny joined the IU Chemistry faculty in 1971, becoming James H. Rudy Professor in 1988, Distinguished Professor in 1999, and the Lilly Chemistry Alumni Chair in 2000. He has been known throughout the world for his pivotal role in developing modern chromatographic and electrophoretic methods of analysis. His research interests include separation and structural analysis of biological molecules, proteomics and glycobiology, and chemical communication in mammals. Dr. Novotny and his associates are known for structural identification of the first definitive mammalian pheromones.
His honors for chromatography include M.S. Tswett Medal (1984); American Chemical Society Award (1986); Keene P. Dimick Award (1990); Marcel J.E. Golay Award and Medal (1991); American Chemical Society Award in Separation Science and Technology (1992). For his contributions to analytical chemistry, he received the 1988 ISCO Award in Biochemical Instrumentation, American Chemical Society Award in Chemical Instrumentation (1988), ANACHEM Award (1992); Pittsburgh Conference Analytical Chemistry Award (2000); and the EAS Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Fields of Analytical Chemistry (2001). Overseas, Professor Novotny was honored through the Jan E. Purkynje Medal of the Czech Academy of Sciences (1993); M.S. Tswett Memorial Medal (Russian Academy of Sciences); A.J.P. Martin Gold Medal (Great Britain); Theophilus Redwood Award (The Royal Society of Chemistry, Great Britain). He is a recipient of honorary doctoral degrees from Uppsala University, Sweden, in 1991, and Masaryk University, Czechoslovakia, in 1992.
Professor Novotny was named the 1994 Scientist of the Year by R&D Magazine. In 1999, he was elected as a foreign member of the Royal Society of Sciences (Sweden).
At IU, he was a Distinguished Faculty Research Lecturer (1989), received the Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring Award of the University Graduate School (1997) and the Distinguished Faculty Award of the College of Arts and Sciences (1999). In 2000, Dr. Novotny established the Institute for Pheromone Research and serves also currently as the Director of Proteomics Research and Development Facility.
Novotny received the IU Bicentennial Medal in September 2020 in recognition of his distinguished contributions to Indiana University.