McCormick Professors Named Fellows of Research Societies

Four professors at the McCormick School of Engineering were recently named fellows of research societies in their fields.

Vinayak Dravid and David Seidman were both named fellows of the Materials Research Society (MRS), a highly selective honor.MRS fellows are outstanding members of the society whose sustained and distinguished contributions to the advancement of materials research are internationally recognized. The maximum number of new fellow appointments each year is limited to 0.2 percent of the current MRS membership.

Dravid, professor of materials science and engineering, uses advanced microscopy and characterization techniques to meet emerging challenges and opportunities in nanoscale phenomena in diverse hard, soft and hybrid structures which have become the hallmark of modern materials science, engineering and technology. They are investigating the synthesis, patterning and characterization of nanostructured materials such as metal/alloy nanocrystals, biomolecular nanopatterns (DNA/proteins), interfaces between inorganic nanostructures and biomolecules.

Seidman, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, uses highly sophisticated microscopy and spectroscopy to study interfaces on a subnanoscale to better understand physical phenomena associated with internal interfaces and surfaces in a wide range of material systems, including metallic alloys and ceramic/metal heterostructures. The group also performs simulations using local-density functional theory, lattice statics, Monte Carlo, and molecular dynamics simulations.

Vadim Backman, professor of biomedical engineering, and Lonnie Shea, professor of chemical and biological engineering, were both named fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

Fellows are nominated by their peers for outstanding achievements in medical and biological engineering. A formal induction ceremony was held at the institute's annual event in February.

Backman is creating a suite of tools that use optical technologies to analyze cells for the presence of cancer. They have shown that nanoscale changes in cells caused by cancer can be detected using optical techniques called partial-wave spectroscopy, low-coherence enhanced backscattering spectroscopy, and four-dimensional elastic light-scattering fingerprinting. These technologies make use of a biological phenomenon known as the "field effect," a hypothesis that suggests that cancer causes changes that can be detected throughout the organ and even in neighboring tissue.

Shea's research group uses mathematical modeling and experimental investigations to design microenvironments that can control cellular responses and subsequent tissue formation. Shea has worked with Teresa Woodruff, the Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, to create an ex vivo (outside of the body) environment in which a young follicle — an egg and the spherical group of specialized cells that surround it — can grow and mature to a stage at which the egg can be fertilized and implanted into the uterus. This technique could allow women to cryogenically preserve ovarian tissue containing follicles prior to cancer treatment, then use the tissue to obtain mature eggs when they are ready to start a family.