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Robert Hull, a world-renowned materials science expert, has been named chair of the School of Engineering’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. In addition to being named department head, he has been appointed the Henry Burlage Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer. Hull received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Oxford University in 1980, and went on to earn his doctorate in materials science from Oxford in 1983. For the following 10 years, he worked as a researcher at AT&T Bell Laboratories and Hewlett Packard Laboratories. Hull joins Rensselaer from the University of Virginia, where he was the Charles Henderson Professor of Engineering and director of the Institute for Nanoscale and Quantum Science, as well as the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

Deborah McGuinness, a leading expert in Web research, has joined Rensselaer as an endowed chair of the Tetherless World Research Constellation. One of the creators of the Web language that is ushering in the next generation of the World Wide Web — the OWL Web Ontology Language — McGuinness is widely known in her field. She joins the senior constellation chair, James A. Hendler. McGuinness comes to Rensselaer from Stanford University, where she last led the Knowledge Systems Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Toh-Ming Lu, the R.P. Baker Distinguished Professor of Physics, and Wilfredo Colón, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology, have been elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Lu is cited for “seminal contributions to the fundamental understanding of thin film morphological evolution.” Colón is cited for “distinguished contribution to the understanding of protein folding and misfolding, and for his encouragement of underrepresented minority students into careers in science.”

Steven Cramer, professor of chemical and biological engineering, has been named the William Weightman Walker Professor of Polymer Engineering. Cramer is widely regarded as a worldwide leader in chromatographic bioprocessing and an expert in separations in general. Along with being honored by the National Science Foundation and winning several teaching awards, Cramer is the editor of the journal Separation Science and Technology, and a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Shekhar Garde, the Elaine and Jack S. Parker Professor, has been named the new head of the Howard P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Garde, whose research interests include fundamental understanding of biological and nanoscopic systems using molecular theory, modeling, and simulation, joined Rensselaer’s School of Engineering in 1999, following a prestigious two-year Director’s Fellowship at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Jonathan Dordick, the Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has received the prestigious Marvin J. Johnson Award in Microbial and Biochemical Technology from the American Chemical Society (ACS). The award, given annually, is the society’s highest biotechnology honor and is designated for a researcher who has made a substantial impact over the continuum of his or her career. Dordick also received the ACS Biochemical Technology Division’s 2006 Elmer Gaden Award, recognizing his article “Controlled hierarchical assembly of switchable DNA-multiprotein complexes” as the top paper published in 2006 in the journal Biotechnology & Bioengineering.

Mark Holmes, professor of mathematical sciences, has been awarded the Trustees’ Outstanding Teacher Award. Established in 1994 through the generosity of members of the Board of Trustees, this award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in classroom instruction. Selection is made based on evidence of sustained outstanding teaching as reflected by student and peer evaluations, and letters of support from colleagues, alumni, and students.

Charles Malmborg was recently named head of Rensselaer’s Department of Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems (DSES). A 22-year veteran of Rensselaer’s School of Engineering, Malmborg served as DSES doctoral program director from 1987-1994, and acting chair from 1996-97, 1998-2000, and 2001-2002. Along with his new post as department head, he also currently serves as the DSES undergraduate program director.

Michael Shur, , the Patricia W. and C. Sheldon Roberts ’48 Chaired Professor in Solid State Electronics, has been named a recipient of the 2007 IEEE Donald G. Fink Prize Paper Award for his paper titled “Solid-State Lighting: Towards Superior Illumination.” Shur wrote the paper with Arturas Zukauskas, professor in the department of semiconductor physics at Vilnius University in Lithuania, who also received the award.

Ricardo Dobry has been named Institute Professor of Engineering, one of the most prestigious honors bestowed upon a Rensselaer faculty member.Dobry is professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Center for Earthquake Engineering Simulation. He has been a member of the Rensselaer faculty since 1977. Currently he is collaborating on a textbook titled Soil Dynamics.

James Knowlton, a senior administrator at the United States Military Academy, has been named director of athletics. Knowlton, director of the Center for Enhanced Performance at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., will join Rensselaer in March 2008. He will take responsibility for overseeing the Institute’s 12 men’s and 11 women’s NCAA intercollegiate varsity teams and three junior varsity squads, involving more than 600 students. From 2003 to 2006 Knowlton served as both deputy and interim director for the athletics department at West Point, where he led a staff of more than 200 and supervised 25 intercollegiate athletic programs with more than 1,000 student-athletes. Knowlton received a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1982 from West Point, where he was a four-year letter winner and captain of the varsity hockey team, and a master’s in civil engineering from Cornell University.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.