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204 Anderson Hall
Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155

Tel: 617.627.3239
Fax: 617.627.3058
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William C. Messner
Department Chair and Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
John R. Beaver Professor

Education

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1992
M.S., University of California, Berkeley, 1989
B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1985

Biography

Professor Messner joined Tufts School of Engineering in 2012 after more than 19 years at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. There he held courtesy appointments in Electrical and Computer Engineering and in the Robotics Institute. While at Carnegie Mellon, he co-developed the web-based tutorials for the popular software packages MATLAB® and Simulink®. He is a Fellow of the AAAS and the ASME and a winner the Education Award from ASME's Dynamic Systems and Controls Division. He also received the EDUCOM Medal, which recognized his outstanding contributions to improving undergraduate education through information technology.

Research Interests

Professor Messner's research interests include automatic control systems with an emphasis on applications to data storage systems, robotics, microfluidics, and biological systems and instrumentation. He is well-known for devising insightful and user-friendly methods for controller design.

Patents

  • "Two Dimensional Electro-optic Beam Scanner" with T. E. Schlesinger and D. Stancil. US Patent 6,480,323 issued on 12 November 2002.
  • "Frequency Modulation Pattern for Position Error Signal Generation for Disk Drives" with Xiangdong Lin and Jian-Gang Zhu. US Patent 6,754,016 issued 22 June 2004.
  • "Simultaneous Bit Pattern Determination and Head Positional Information Detection on Patterned Media" with V. Bhagavatula, J.A. Bain, H. Suzuki, S. Nabavi, U.S. Patent 7,948,708 issued 24 May 2011
  • "Micromachined Electrothermal Rotary Actuator" with J.A. Bain and G.K. Fedder. US Patent 8243397 issued 14 Aug 2012.

Selected Honors and Awards

  • Benjamin Richard Teare Teaching Award , Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering, 2009
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Fellowship of the NIH, 2006
  • Mechanical Engineering Professor of the Year as voted by the senior class 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2011
  • Senior Member IEEE, 2004
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2003
  • Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2003
  • Education Award of the Dynamic Systems and Controls Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2003
  • Best Paper Finalist, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 1997 and 2003
  • Theodore Ahrens Development Chair in Mechanical Engineering, 2000
  • EDUCOM Medal, 1997
  • George Tallman Ladd Award for Excellence in Research, 1996

Professional Positions

  • 1993-2012 Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University
  • 2005-2007 Visiting Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Visiting Senior Scientist, Brigham & Women's Hospital
  • 1990 Research Consultant, Neuro-Muscular Research Center, Boston University
  • 1985-1987 Staff Engineer, BBN Laboratories