Pratt People

Steve Cummer was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Stefan Zauscher was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. Krishnendu Chakrabarty was promoted to full professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Wanda Krassowska was promoted to full professor of biomedical engineering.

Kam Leong was named the James B. Duke Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Tuan Vo-Dinh the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodman Professor of Biomedical Engineering. These distinguished professorships are the highest honor Duke can award its faculty members. Steve Cummer was also named to a Bass Chair in recognition of his excellence in teaching and research.

Karl Linden, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, was selected as a keynote speaker for the U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium to be held in September on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash. Linden will speak in the "Safe Water Technologies" session on his research expertise in ultraviolet irradiation for oxidation and disinfection. The symposium, convened annually by the National Academy of Engineering, brings together outstanding engineers early in their careers to discuss pioneering technical work and leading-edge research in various engineering fields and industry sectors.

Three BME faculty members – Professors Warren Grill, Joe Izatt and Fan Yuan -- were inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Biological and Medical Engineering. The College of Fellows has 1,000 members in academia, industry and government who have distinguished themselves through their contributions in research, industrial practice and/or education.

Alumna Katherine Norris, better known to us as K.C., became the first woman named Vermont Engineer of the Year. Norris, who graduated from Duke in 1966 with a degree in mechanical engineering, retired last year after a 38-year career with IBM. She now lives in Milton, Vt. The award, which recognizes Norris’s “extraordinary technical achievements in engineering,” is sponsored by the Vermont Society of Professional Engineers and the Green Mountain Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Pratt senior Turan Kayagil, who was the primary author of a design note printed in the January 2007 issue of the journal Measurement Science and Technology. The note details a new device for maintaining even dispersion of separation beads within polymerase chain reaction tubes. Kayagil was the principal inventor of the device, as part of a 2005 summer internship at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. The NRL has subsequently applied for a patent on the device.

Rhodes Scholar William Hwang from Pratt’s Class of 2006 and his United InnoWorks Academy ( won a $10,000 BRICK Award for social entrepreneurship from the not-for-profit organization Do Something Inc. Hwang started InnoWorks to use volunteer college students to teach underprivileged students science, technology, engineering and math. He and United InnoWorks are now among 12 organizations in the running for a Golden BRICK Award, which would provide an additional $15,000 of unrestricted funding. Four winners will be chosen on the basis of online voting by the public. Vote online by April 9.

Three ECE research teams have been selected by the Army Research Office to receive funding for state-of-the-art research instrumentation under the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program. The awards go to Professor April Brown and colleagues Scott Wolter, assistant research professor, and Professor Jeff Glass for a X-Ray and Ultraviolet Photoelectron Spectroscopy Analysis System; to Professor William Joines for Microwave Laboratory Instrumentation; and to Assistant Professor Adrienne Stiff-Roberts for a Hybrid Nanomaterial Growth System.

Farshid Guilak, Laszlo Ormandy Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and professor of biomedical engineering, is one of six School of Medicine “rising stars” selected as the first Duke Med Scholars. The awards provide additional financial support to faculty members who appear poised to make the next big step forward in their research and their careers. Guilak came to Duke in 1994 from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

CEE graduate students Stefano Manzoni, Darren Drewry and Gil Bohrer and their faculty advisers, professors Amilcare Porporato, Roni Avissar and John Albertson, won the Senol Utku Award for best pre-Ph.D. peer reviewed papers. This award is dedicated to Professor Senol Utku, now retired, for his exemplary academic achievements and service to the CEE department from 1970–2002.

Seven finalists in the Duke Start-Up Challenge business plan competition were announced last month, and Pratt students and faculty members are on four of the phase 2 winning teams. The team called “3S” includes BME Ph.D. student Amarpreet Chawla, ECE Ph.D. student James Sund and faculty adviser Ehsan Samei, associate professor of radiology and BME. The “Full Belly Project” team includes Pratt CEE senior Benjamin Abram. The “Oncoscope” team includes BME Assistant Professor Adam Wax, BME research scientist William Brown, and BME Ph.D. student John Pyhtila. And the “Spectrum Diagnostics” team includes BME Associate Professor Nimmi Ramanujam and BME Ph.D. student Gabriel Howles. The presentations for the third and final phase of the competition are scheduled for April 14.

Henry Petroski, the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history, delivered the tenth annual Trent Dames Lecture at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., on March 2. Petroski was also a featured speaker at the Fifth International Forum of Architecture and Construction held in São Paulo, Brazil, March 13-16. Petroski spoke on success and failure in design at the Forum's Architecture Day program. While in São Paulo, he was able to spend some time with Eduardo do Val and his family. Eduardo received his Ph.D. in civil engineering at Duke in 1983 and now operates his own geotechnical engineering consulting firm in São Paulo.

Adrian Bejan, J.A. Jones Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, gave the opening and closing lectures at the First Southern Hemisphere Workshop on Constructal Theory and Design in Nature and Engineering, on March 2 at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He lectured on Constructal Theory in Nature and Social Dynamics. Bejan holds the appointment of Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria.

Stefano Curtarolo, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, has won a prestigious Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program award. The ONR says these highly competitive awards go to young scientists “who show exceptional promise for doing creative research.” Curtarolo’s winning proposal is to use computational techniques to investigate structural titanium alloys and superconductors, important materials for marine applications. The dollar amount of the three-year grant will be determined in the next several days.

Dean Kristina Johnson spoke at Rowan University as part of its celebration of Women’s History Month. The talk, sponsored by the Rowan College of Engineering, is designed to raise awareness of the many contributions made by women to engineering.

A start-up venture comprised of MD/PhD candidate Gabriel Howles from BME, MEM candidate Charles Louison and three Fuqua MBA students won the elevator pitch and placed in the top 10 in a Rice University business plan competition March 22-24. The venture, called Spectrum Diagnostics, is based on a breast cancer margin assessment device developed in the lab of Associate BME Professor Nimmi Ramanujam. Thirty-six teams from across the nation were selected to compete in the annual competition.