Pratt People

William L. Smith is Pratt’s new human resources and payroll coordinator. He succeeds Sue Hicks, who moved to the Law School. Smith worked previously at the Duke Medical Center’s Human Vaccine Institute, where he was human resources manager.

Ronald Jaszczak, professor of radiology and BME, received the 2006 Edward J. Hoffman Medical Imaging Scientist Award from IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society for his “important and sustained lifetime contributions to nuclear and medical imaging sciences,” particularly single-photon emission computed tomography. The Award was presented on Nov. 3 in San Diego.

Mia K. Markey, who received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Pratt in 2002 and is now an assistant professor at the University of Texas in Austin, has won the 2006 American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) New Investigator Award. This award recognizes an individual for early informatics contributions and significant scholarly contributions on the basis of scientific merit and research excellence.

At the latest annual meeting of the American Heart Association, Professor Morton Friedman was elected Fellow for "making meritorious contributions to the field of arteriosclerosis, thrombosis and vascular biology." He will also chair an NIH review group evaluating course proposals designed to introduce computer modeling to biomedical scientists and clinical researchers, and a program review of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

The Duke Symphony Orchestra, including four engineering students, performed on Dec. 6. The students include Andre Cheng, violin; Andrew Cook, french horn; Patrick Eibl, violin; and Kevin Wu, trumpet.

ECE research associate Michael Garcia has received a Young Scientist Travel Award for next month’s annual conference on Physics and Chemistry of Semiconductor Interfaces in Salt Lake City. The paper he is preparing for the conference will be refereed for publication in the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology-B.

Alumnus Ross Ayotte, an engineer and marketing specialist, has been named publisher and managing director of EE Times, and will oversee the print and online operations of the electronics industry newspaper. He graduated from Duke in 1982 with BSE in biomedical engineering.

Colin Jones, E’57, has been named a Fellow of the IEEE. Capt. Jones, who lives in Gainesville, Fla., was cited for contributions to deep ocean exploration, search and recovery and salvage.

Banu Örmeci, who completed her M.S. (1996) and Ph.D. (2000) in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Pratt, has just been chosen as the Canada Research Chair in Wastewater and Public Health Engineering at Carleton University. She joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carleton in July 2005 after serving as an assistant research professor in CEE at Pratt.

A new paper by Stefano Curtarolo, Wahyu Setyawan and their colleagues was selected for publication in the Institute of Physics (IoP) Select. The paper entitled “Noble gas films on a decagonal AlNiCo quasicrystal,” which appears in the Jan. 10 issue of Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, was selected by IoP editors based on its substantial advances or significant breakthroughs, high degree of novelty, and/or significant impact on future research. Curtarolo has also received $40,000 in funding from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund to study superlubricant quasicrystal coatings on engines.

Twelve Pratt students were inducted as new members of Duke's Phi Beta Kappa chapter. They are Cyrus Bobak Amoozegar, Meredith Brooke Cantrell, Jean Mosteller Foster, Lori Carol Hennemeier, Advait Ashok Kotecha, Andrew John Longenecker, Jialing Kim Png, Molly Marie Rhodes, Noah Sakimura, Michael Hamer Stanley, Ryan J. Werstuik and William Wu.

MEMS Professor Adrian Bejan’s Constructal Theory is featured in the current edition of Treehugger, a web magazine that says it is “dedicated to everything that has a modern aesthetic yet is environmentally responsible.” In the article’s introduction, the author writes: “A new theory, and possibly a new law of physics, Constructal theory can be understood as the inverse of biomimetics. Instead of looking to nature or biology to guide design, constructal theory starts from the understanding of the simple constructal law and extrapolates out a series of structures or designs for that situation. Amazingly, this new law of physics has been shown to describe the evolution of architecture found in nature. Let that sink in. A theory from the field of thermodynamics describes why a leaf looks like a leafÂ…why a river looks like a riverÂ…and much more.” You can see the full piece at

The Washington Post had an article Dec. 14 reporting on how a group of high school students in Fairfax County, Va., plan to build and launch a small satellite. According to the Post, the idea was spearheaded by Jason Ethier, a Pratt student who interned at Orbital Sciences Corp., as a high school student. Orbital, a maker of small space systems and booster rockets, is helping the students.

Larry A. Blue, who earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Duke in 1978 and 1984, has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Hi-G-Tek, a developer and provider of radio frequency ID systems. Most recently, Blue was vice president and general manager of the RFID Tag Sector of Symbol Technologies (formerly Matrics Inc.).

Bioptigen Inc., a Pratt optical technology spinoff, has gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell a three-dimensional imaging system that can be used to view the retina and anterior surfaces of the eye. The company was founded in 2004 by BME Associate Professor Joseph Izatt, who now is Bioptigen’s chairman and chief technology officer.

Pratt seniors Ben Abram and Vijay Brihmadesam have been selected as two of eight semifinalists for the three-year Young Trustee position on the university’s Board of Trustees. It is one of the most prestigious university positions granted to an undergraduate. Abram, a CEE major, is Pratt’s senior class president and serves as co-president of the Duke Democrats. Brihmadesam, a BME major, also is co-president of Duke Democrats and is the director of student services for DSG.

Rhodes Scholar William Hwang from Pratt’s Class of 2006 has won a BRICK Award. These awards from the not-for-profit organization Do Something recognize and support social change-makers under the age of 26. Twelve winners were announced last week and each will receive a $10,000 grant to support the winner’s project or organization. Four “Golden Brick” winners will be selected from the 12 to receive an additional $15,000. Hwang, who was a triple major in BME, ECE and physics, started United InnoWorks Academy, which uses volunteer college students to teach underprivileged students science, technology, engineering and math.

Wanda Krassowska has been selected for promotion to full professor in the BME department, and Krishnendu Chakabarty has been selected for promotion to professor in the ECE department. Both promotions are subject to approval by the University’s Board of Trustees.

Krish Chakrabarty also has received the best paper award at the 20th IEEE International Conference on VLSI Design earlier this month in Bengaluru, India. The paper, "Defect-aware synthesis of droplet-based microfluidic biochips," was co-authored by graduate students Tao Xu and Fei Su. In addition, Fei Su has been awarded the Outstanding PhD Dissertation Award by the European Design and Automation Association.

Pratt freshman David Carlson won the 100-yard freestyle and was part of the 400-yard medley relay team that took another first place as Duke’s men and women’s swimming teams defeated East Carolina on Jan. 27. The women’s squad improved to 5-3 with the win, while the men’s team improved to 4-4.