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Three Named to Department Leadership Positions

Professors Mark Hersam, Simge Küçükyavuz, and Justin Notestein will lead their respective departments

Northwestern Engineering has announced leadership changes for three of its academic departments.

Effective September 1, 2023, Mark Hersam will serve as chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Simge Küçükyavuz will become chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, and Justin Notestein will serve as chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Mark Hersam 

Mark Hersam

Hersam, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, has research interests in nanomaterials, nanomanufacturing, scanning probe microscopy, nanoelectronic devices, biosensors, renewable energy, and quantum information science. His work includes the synthesis of borophene, a stronger, lighter, and more flexible material than graphene that has the potential to revolutionize batteries, electronics, sensors, solar cells, and quantum computing. He also directs the Materials Research Center and is a member of the International Institute of Nanotechnology.

Hersam succeeds Peter Voorhees, chair and Frank C. Engelhart Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

“As a preeminent research and faculty leader, Mark is a natural choice to lead Materials Science into the future,” Dean Julio M. Ottino said. “I want to thank Peter Voorhees for providing leadership to the department during his second stint as chair. I am confident that Mark will provide the leadership needed for Materials Science to remain at the forefront of the field.”

A highly cited researcher, Hersam has received several awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the Medard W. Welch Award from the American Vacuum Society (AVS), the Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the Materials Research Society (MRS), and eight Teacher of the Year Awards from Northwestern. He also is a fellow of the MRS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the AVS, SPIE, the American Chemical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the National Academy of Inventors.

Simge Küçükyavuz 

Simge Küçükyavuz

Küçükyavuz, professor of industrial engineering and management sciences, is an expert in mixed-integer, large-scale, and stochastic optimization. Her methodologies have applications in complex computational problems across numerous domains, including social networks, computing and energy infrastructure, statistical learning, and logistics. Her research has been supported by multiple grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Naval Research.

The department’s first female chair, Küçükyavuz succeeds David Morton, chair and David A. and Karen Richards Sachs Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences.

“I appreciate David’s service to the industrial engineering department since becoming chair in 2017,” Ottino said. “Through new education programs and research collaborations, he has reinforced McCormick’s leadership in data science and optimization. Simge brings a wealth of experience, including time on the faculty of many top universities. I look forward to her leadership of the department.”

Küçükyavuz is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award and a co-winner of the 2015 Institute of Operations Research and Management Sciences Computing Society (ICS) Prize. She is the past chair of ICS and serves on the editorial boards of Mathematics of Operations Research, Mathematical Programming, SIAM Journal on Optimization, and the MOS-SIAM Optimization Book Series.

Justin Notestein 

Justin Notestein

Notestein, professor of chemical and biological engineering, explores catalysis science, energy, materials, and nanoscience. In the Notestein Research Group, he researches engineering approaches to atom-precise materials for heterogeneous catalysis and adsorption. His group focuses on reactions and processes essential to the development of sustainable fuels and chemicals. In 2021, Notestein led research into a new approach to chemical catalysis that results in high propylene yields using less energy, findings that could support more energy-efficient production processes for many plastics.

Notestein succeeds Randall Snurr, chair and John G. Searle Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

“I want to thank Randy for his service to the chemical engineering department. Under his steady leadership, the department continued on an excellent trajectory and is poised for future success.” Ottino said. “I am confident that Justin will provide strong leadership as the department continues to stand as one of the very best of its kind in the world, embracing emerging fields while leading in the core areas of chemical engineering.”

Notestein, who directs the Center for Catalysis and Surface Science within the Institute of Energy and Sustainability at Northwestern, has received several awards, including being named to Northwestern’s Associated Student Government Faculty Honor Roll in 2008, 2010, and 2013. His other honors include the DuPont Young Professor Award, 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, and Northwestern Engineering’s Adviser of the Year award.