Pulickel Ajayan, the Henry Burlage Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, was named by Scientific American magazine as a Research Leader within the 2006 “Scientific American 50” the magazine’s prestigious annual list recognizing outstanding acts of leadership in science and technology. He also received the MRS Medal from the Materials Research Society.
John Brunski, professor of biomedical engineering, received the 2006 Jerome M. and Dorothy Schweitzer Research Award from the Greater New York Academy of Prosthodontics. He was the 39th recipient of the award and only the third engineer to receive the accolade. Previous recipients include P-I Brånemark, the originator of modern oral implants, and former Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Harold Slavkin.
Wai Kin “Victor” Chan, assistant professor of decision sciences and engineering systems, has been awarded a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Chan will use the projected five-year, $400,000 grant to develop better computer simulation methodologies to improve systems from healthcare to military operation and airport security. The CAREER Award is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and places emphasis on high-quality research and novel education initiatives.
James Crivello, professor of chemistry and chemical biology, has been elected a 2007 fellow of the American Chemical Society Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE). With more than 23 issued or pending patents since joining the Rensselaer faculty, Crivello is widely recognized for inventing some of the world’s most advanced polymers. Polymers that he has synthesized have implications for energy conservation, coatings, microelectronic circuits, composites, and membrane separations.
Ron Eglash, associate professor of science and technology studies, received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to extend the use of his culturally situated design tools to help engage underrepresented minority students in the subject of computing. The interactive computer programs focus on the mathematics embedded in various cultural designs.
Mariana Figueiro, an assistant professor at Rensselaer’s Lighting Research Center, has received the James D. Watson Investigator award from the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research (NYSTAR). With the $200,000 grant, Figueiro will be exploring the effects of light on human physiological rhythms. The award is designed to recognize and support outstanding scientists and engineers who show potential for leadership and scientific discovery in the field of biotechnology.
Daniel Gall, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, has been awarded a Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF). He will use the projected five-year, $400,000 grant to help craft the next generation of custom nanoscale structures, and will develop a fundamental understanding of how material vapors condense on surfaces and assemble into nanostructures. The CAREER Award is given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers and places emphasis on high-quality research and novel education initiatives.
Mark Holmes, professor of mathematical sciences, received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to implement a program to expose mathematics students at Rensselaer and at Howard University to problems with important applications in a range of fields, from medicine to ecology. Potential projects include examining connections between millions of neurons in the brain; understanding the way circadian rhythms regulate the human sleep cycle; and designing optical materials that can bend light in such a way as to make an object appear invisible.
Leonard Interrante, professor of chemistry and chemical biology, and his business partner Christopher Whitmarsh, recently received the Eastern New York Intellectual Property Law Association (ENYIPLA) 2007 Inventor of the Year Award. The award recognized a patent the duo filed in the late 1980s which lead to the development of Malta-based Starfire Systems Inc., a high-tech advanced materials manufacturer. The team developed a special polymer that would later become the Starfire matrix polymer, the only commercially available, pure silicon carbide-forming polymer in the world.
Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer, has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was cited for “her exceptional support of national education efforts, for her outstanding contributions to the field of physics, and for her exemplary national leadership.” President Jackson also was appointed by the National Governors Association (NGA) to a 17-member task force to guide the Innovation America initiative. The task force brings together a bipartisan group of governors and members of the academic and business communities to oversee efforts to strengthen the competitive position of the United States in the global economy by improving the nation’s capacity to innovate.
Ravi Kane, the Merck Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer, is leading a team of researchers who’ve received a four-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study improved methods for biological separations. The group plans to develop nanoscale surfaces that actively reassemble in the presence of DNA, which could eventually lead to more efficient separation tools for genomics and proteomics.
C. James Li, professor of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering, was recently elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Fellowship is conferred upon an ASME member who has at least 10 years of active engineering practice and has made significant contributions to the profession. Li is an expert in mechanical diagnostics and sensor-based control of manufacturing processes and equipment.
Andrea Page-McCaw, assistant professor of biology, received a $1.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in support of research to uncover details behind how cells decide to stick to a surface, which could lead to a better understanding of the importance of this pathway to the physiology and development of organisms. The research will build of McCaw’s previous discovery of a new pathway by which cells change their adhesive properties.
Linda Schadler, professor of materials science and engineering, has been elected a fellow of ASM International, a worldwide network of materials engineers and scientists dedicated to advancing industry, technology, and applications of metals and materials. Schadler was cited for “outstanding contributions to understanding of the nano and micromechanical behavior of polymer composites, and for educational leadership in materials science and engineering.”
Michael Shur, the Patricia W. and C. Sheldon Roberts ’48 Chaired Professor in Solid State Electronics, has been promoted to fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). Shur is internationally recognized for his development of new materials and processes that enhance semiconductor and circuit performance. The largest professional engineering society in Europe and the second largest of its kind in the world, IET boasts membership by more than 150,000 engineers from around the globe.
Frank Spear, professor and chair of earth and environmental sciences, has been elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). This designation is conferred upon not more than 0.1 percent of all AGU members in any given year, and new fellows are chosen by a Committee of Fellows. According to the organization, the AGU is “a worldwide scientific community that advances, through unselfish cooperation in research, the understanding of Earth and space for the benefit of humanity.”
Burt Swersey, a lecturer in Rensselaer’s department of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering, has been awarded the 2007 Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award for his dedication to innovative thinking and his commitment to students and their learning. Swersey has developed a number of important medical inventions, including an extremely accurate scale to weigh patients, together with bed and instrumentation, revolutionizing the treatment of water loss in patients with severe burns. He received the awards at the 11th Annual Meeting of the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA).
Gwo-Ching Wang, department chair and professor of physics, applied physics, and astronomy, has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She was cited for “distinguished contributions to the fields of surface and overlayer phase transitions and dynamics of thin film growth using electron diffraction.”
William “Al” Wallace, professor of decision sciences and engineering systems, received a three-year $299,578 National Science Foundation Human and Social Dynamics grant to study the organizational culture of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Coast Guard and develop a dynamic model of organizational processes with the capacity to predict how an organization’s culture will affect its ability to respond to an extreme event.