Memo from the Dean 1/30/2012
I love it when I get to boast about faculty members from all four departments at the same time, and today is one of those opportunities.
Environmental engineering Professor Mark Wiesner, the director of the Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology, was quoted extensively in a New York Times article focused on nanomaterials. Mark served as a member of a National Academy of Sciences panel that articulated gaps in what we understand about how nanomaterials affect human health and the environment. The panel called for research into the sources of nanomaterial releases, processes that affect exposure, interactions at the subcellular to ecosystem level, and ways to accelerate research progress. Read the article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/science/nanomaterials-effects-on-health-and-environment-unclear-panel-says.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha26.
Biomedical engineering Professor Kam Leong has won the Clemson Award for Applied Research given by the Society for Biomaterials. As you may know, Kam has made significant contributions to biomaterials science and engineering, particularly in the areas of drug delivery, gene delivery, and cell-topography interactions. Kam is responsible for the development of surface-eroding polyanhydrides for controlled drug delivery, leading to the invention of Gliadel, a biodegradable wafer for the delivery of anti-cancer drugs for brain cancer therapy. Gliadel has been used in the treatment of thousands of patients worldwide.
You might be interested to note that this is the third year in a row a Duke engineer has won the Clemson Award. Professor Monty Reichert won the Clemson Award for Basic Research in 2010, and Professor Ashutosh Chilkoti won the Clemson Award for Contributions to Literature in 2011.
I’m also proud to report that electrical and computer engineering Assistant Professor Benjamin Lee has a National Science Foundation CAREER award for research titled “Foundations for Heterogeneous Datacenter Design and Deployment.” Through this work, Ben aims to design and to deploy heterogeneous datacenter architectures that improve energy efficiency by as much as 10 times.
Ben also won a Google Research Award for a project titled “Pathfinding for Emerging Memory Technologies.” In this project, Ben plans to characterize emerging non-volatile, resistive memory technologies to identify a path from devices to high-performance computing systems. New non-volatile technologies can reduce power in high-capacity datacenter memory systems, increase reliability and resilience against power failures, and support fast system hibernation. Google Research Awards facilitate interaction between Google and academia, supporting academic research aimed at improving information access.
And we have two new Fellows to celebrate: Civil and environmental engineering Professor Amilcare Porporato has been named a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He was recognized for his outstanding contributions to stochastic hydrology and land-atmosphere interaction, and ecohydrology and sustainability research. And Laurens Howle, associate professor of mechanical engineering, was named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Laurens specializes in thermal science, fluid dynamics, and nonlinear dynamics. Well done, Laurens and Amilcare.
Biomedical engineering professor Farshid Guilak, whose primary appointment is in orthopaedic surgery, was awarded the 2012 Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring. This Duke-wide award recognizes graduate faculty who exhibit a consistent record of good mentoring practices.
Mechanical engineering professor Adrian Bejan’s imagery and research on tree-shaped fluid flow and heat storage in a conducting solid was selected for the cover of the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Applied Physics. This is the inaugural issue of the journal to feature a cover image.
Robert Kielb, associate chair and senior research scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, gave one of five invited lectures at the opening ceremonies for Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Turbofan Technology and Engineering Institute. He is also serving as a consultant for development at this new institute which aims to address challenges in developing a national aircraft engine industry, develop world-class universities, and to be a training ground to turn students into turbomachinery engineers.
In graduate student news, Brian Diekman, a Biomedical Engineering graduate student in the laboratory of Farshid Guilak, swept the awards at the annual meeting of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society. Brian first received the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Young Investigator Award for his work on the use of purified adult stem cells to prevent post-traumatic arthritis. The award is designed to recognize outstanding achievements by society members in the early stages of a career in regenerative medicine. At the meeting, Brian also received first place for the Best Poster Award for his work on the differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells into cartilage cells. This work was done in collaboration with biomedical engineering Professor Kam Leong's laboratory.
What do venerable institutions like National Geographic, NASA and the Duke Pratt School of Engineering have in common? It turns out that each had a winning entry in Science News magazine's top ten “Photos of the Year” for 2011. Congratulations to Pablo Perez-Pinera, a postdoctoral fellow in Assistant Professor Charlie Gersbach's lab, and Jonathan Brunger, a biomedical engineering graduate student in Professor Farshid Guilak's lab, whose color photomontage of stem cells differentiating into a variety of lineages was selected out of thousands of photos for this honor.
Professor and Dean