Five Institute of Technology faculty named McKnight Land-Grant Professors

Five Institute of Technology faculty are among 11 recipients of the 2009-11 McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, a program designed to advance the careers of the University's most promising junior faculty.

The winners were chosen for their potential to make important contributions to their field; the degree to which their achievements and ideas demonstrate originality, imagination, and innovation; the significance of their research; and the potential for attracting outstanding students. Each recipient will receive a research grant of approximately $30,000 in each year of the two-year appointment, to be used at the recipient's discretion for expenditures directly related to research and scholarly activities. In addition, each professor is awarded either a year's leave to pursue research during the second year of the award or a supplementary research grant.

The new McKnight Land-Grant Professors are: Banerjee Photo

Assistant Professor Arindam Banerjee (computer science and engineering). Organizing the world's information, now accessible online, is one of the greatest scientific challenges of the century. Banerjee's research uses large-scale data clustering to do it, impacting everyday users shopping online and driving their cars as well as the global computer science research community. His work is used by organizations from Google to NASA.

Ryan Elliott Photo

Assistant Professor Ryan Elliott (aerospace engineering and mechanics). "Shape-memory" metals are alloys that can change their shape by temperature, such as shower heads that automatically close to prevent scalding and stents that open when placed in a human artery. In the past, research on these materials has depended on trial and error, but Elliott is developing simulations that expand and accelerate the process of discovery and design.

Tian He Photo

Assistant Professor Tian He (computer science and engineering). Wireless sensor networks are used in such things as hazard-response systems, indoor climate control, assisted living, bridge-integrity monitoring, and precise agriculture. Most need to work for long periods without wired power. This research has resulted in energy-efficient sensing and energy-management methods already widely applied.

Julian Marshall Photo

Assistant Professor Julian Marshall (civil engineering). For the first time in history, more people live in cities than rural areas. Marshall works on designing cities for human health and the environment, from understanding patterns of urban density and suburban expansion to analyzing policies for ability to reduce the impact of air pollution.

Saar Photo

Assistant Professor Martin Saar (geology and geophysics). Volcano eruptions, groundwater flows, and underground storage of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas all have two things in common: fluid dynamics and energy transfer. Saar is developing new research methods with the potential to transform geothermal energy production, clean-water security, and approaches to many kinds of environmental disasters.

January 28, 2009