Weekly Memo

Oct. 19, 2015

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

     As I am sure most of you have heard, I will be stepping down as Dean of the Hajim School next year to serve as the University's Provost. It will be an honor and a privilege to do so. As I mentioned at Thursday's announcement, I want to thank the faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters of the Hajim School. We have worked together for seven years building a community. Every success has been a team success. Without each of you, I'd never have the opportunity afforded to me.

     Congratulations to James Li, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, who has received the prestigious Gold Medal of ASM International, the world’s largest association of metals-centric materials scientists and engineers. James is the 68th recipient of the award, which was established in 1943. He was selected for “his elucidation of the mechanical properties of materials through the application of thermodynamics and kinetics to the understanding of microstructural phenomena and for his mentoring of students and colleagues.” The award was presented earlier this month at the MS&T (Materials Science and Technology) Conference at Columbus Ohio. "Micromechanics in Advanced Materials III: A Symposium in honor of James C.M. Li's 90th Birthday" was also held at the conference, including video remarks from President Joel Seligman. Read more here.

    Prof. Hani Awad and Assoc. Prof. Danielle Benoit of Biomedical Engineering have received a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) for their project titled “Engineering Scarless Repair of Flexor Tendon Injuries.” They will investigate the efficacy of a novel nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery approach for preventing the adhesions that result from scar-mediated healing of hand tendon injuries and cause loss of hand function. This could have a profound impact on the field, since there are presently no pharmacologic or biologic treatments for the prevention or resolution of tendon adhesions.

    Three Hajim School faculty members are among the eight recipients of the latest round of PumpPrimer II awards from the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. They are Xi-Cheng Zhang, the M. Parker Givens Professor of Optics and Director of The Institute of Optics, for "Terahertz air photonics using ultrafast laser oscillators"; Gary Wicks, Professor of Optics, for "Mid-infrared Semiconductor Lasers: Defects and Performance"; and Qiang Lin, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, for "Ultrasensitive silicon carbide nano-optomechanical inertial sensors for harsh environment applications." PumpPrimer II awards help faculty develop the proof of concept and/or pilot data they need to secure extramural funding for bold new research directions.

    This year's Eisenberg Summer Research Fellows presented their posters recently as part of ChemE's observances of its 100th anniversary during Meliora Weekend. The research fellows program is an enduring legacy of former Prof. Richard Eisenberg, whose endowment helps support this opportunity for undergraduates to get hands-on research experience under the mentorship of faculty members. Congratulations to this year's fellows and the faculty members who mentored them: Maylin Funkenbusch, "Cloning, Induction and Purification of oI4 in C. thermocellum" (Prof. David Wu); Jeffrey Weinfeld, "Monte Carlo Simulation of Hard Spheres" (Prof. Shaw Chen); Jim Weitzel, "Automation of a Chemical Vapor Deposition Reactor Using LabVIEW" (Prof. Wyatt Tenhaeff);  Scott Kirschner, "Electroosmotic Flow through Polycarbonate Membranes" (Prof. Hitomi Mukaibo); Rahima Bah, "Investigation of Improved Diagnostic and Therapeutic Strategies for Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia" (Profs. David Foster and Danielle Benoit); Hojun Lee, "Thiol-ene Thermosets: Effect of Variation of Molecular Weight" (Prof. Mitchell Anthamatten); and Dean Smiros, "Matching Experiments to Molecular Dynamics Simulations" (Prof. Andrew White). Read more here.

    Thanks to ChemE Department Chair Matthew Yates, Asst. Profs. Hitomi Mukaibo and Andrew White, and PhD student Andrew Durney for their presentations on ChemE's history and the research they're doing, at the Saturday Meliora Weekend "Lunch and Learn" event.

    And thanks as well to the members of the AS&E Web Help team, who did a great job converting all of our school and department websites to the new template in time for last week's site visit by members of the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

     As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean