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From the Chair - Spring 2017
Taking stock of this past year, I am pleased to tell you that it has been another highly successful year for the department. We graduated a stellar class of students, welcomed new faces, and celebrated many wonderful accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff.
Prashant Deshlahra joined the department as an assistant professor. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley and at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His research combines theory and experiments to study heterogeneous catalysis and its applications to problems relevant to clean energy and sustainability. The arrival of Assistant Professor Deshlahra as well as Assistant Professor James Van Deventer led to the construction of two new laboratories at the Science and Technology Center, adding to the departmental research portfolio an array of capabilities for materials characterization and biomolecular engineering. The department has further increased its laboratory facilities through spaces that have become available in the Science and Engineering Complex (SEC), a brand-new, state-of-the-art laboratory building.
I am delighted to share the news that, last year, Assistant Professor Nikhil Nair received the prestigious NIH Director's New Innovator Award, one of the highest honors for early-career investigators. Congratulations, Nik!
I am also pleased to tell you that the department's productivity continues to rise. Over this past year, faculty members have secured new grants and contracts totaling more than $3 million, obtaining funding from various federal and non-federal sources — the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Defense, Biogen, Merck, and Pfizer, to name a few. Faculty and students also continue to publish their research results in high-impact journals and give invited and keynote lectures across the country and the world.
On a more somber note, I am saddened to share with you the passing of Research Professor Howard Saltsburg, who retired from active service to the department in 2014. We will miss Professor Saltsburg dearly.
As you can see, the department has many wonderful accomplishments to celebrate, while reflecting on the good memories we have shared with teachers, mentors, colleagues, and friends. Thanks to the efforts of talented and dedicated faculty members, students, and staff as well as generous support from our alumni and friends, the department continues to thrive as a vibrant community of learning and scholarship.
Kyongbum Lee, Ph.D.
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