Profs. Chen and Hillman Selected to Join NAE Symposium

Xi Chen, associate professor of earth and environmental engineering, and Elizabeth Hillman, associate professor of biomedical engineering and radiology, are among 78 of the brightest young engineers in the U.S. selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) 18th annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium in September. The participants, who were nominated by fellow engineers or organizations and chosen from approximately 300 applicants, are ages 30 to 45 from industry, academia, and government and are performing exceptional engineering research and technical work in a variety of disciplines.
 
“Our nation’s health, quality of life, and security will depend on the engineering achievements of the 21st century,” said NAE President Charles M. Vest. “The Frontiers of Engineering program gives young engineering pioneers the opportunity to collaborate and share approaches across fields. We believe those interactions will generate new ideas for improving the future.”
 
Chen works with nanoporous materials, including nanoporous carbon, silica, and zeolite, that are readily available and low-cost, to convert ambient thermal or mechanical energy to electricity. The ultra-large specific pore surface area provides an ideal platform for energy conversion that yields unprecedented performance. He is also exploring how mechanics shapes the morphology of various natural and biological systems, including various fruits, vegetables, animals, cells, tissues, etc. In recent years Chen has received several young investigator awards, including the 2012 ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Thomas Hughes Award, the 2011 SES (Society of Engineering Science) Young Investigator Medal, the 2010 ASME Sia Nemat-Nasser Award, and a 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
 
Hillman’s research is focused on the development of in vivo optical imaging and microscopy techniques. Her innovative approaches combine dynamic and spectroscopic acquisition and analysis tools that capture the unique properties of optical contrast in living tissues. She primarily applies these techniques to investigate the origins of blood flow modulations in the living brain. In other work, she developed a technique called Dynamic Contrast Enhanced (DyCE) small animal imaging, which has been commercialized and widely adopted for studies of cancer pathogenesis, pharmaceutical and contrast agent development. She was awarded the 2011 Adolph Lomb Medal by the Optical Society of America (OSA) and, in 2010, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.
 
The NAE symposium will be held September 13 to 15 at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, and will examine serious games, vehicle electrification, climate engineering, and engineering materials for the biological interface. Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Helen Lu is one of 15 speakers featured at the event.
 
The NAE is part of the National Academies (along with the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council), an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to provide objective analysis and advice to the nation on matters of science and technology.
—By Holly Evarts


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