Engineering faculty among inaugural class of Texas A&M’s Presidential Impact Fellows

PI facultyFive engineering faculty members were part of the inaugural class of Presidential Impact Fellows, which were recently announced by Texas A&M University president Michael K. Young. The 2017 honorees from the Texas A&M College of Engineering are Dr. Melissa A. Grunlan, Dr. Arum Han, Dr. Arul Jayaraman, Dr. Raymundo Arroyave and Dr. Zachary Grasley.

"Today, we acknowledge a new investment in the excellence of select faculty who through their scholarship, personal commitment and results demonstrate they are rising to meet the challenges of their field and demonstrating impact towards creating a better world," said Young. "I am proud to name these faculty as the inaugural Presidential Impact Fellows."

The program was established to recognize rising stars in their respective fields, and those who embody the university’s commitment to advancing knowledge through transformational learning, discovery, innovation and impact for Texas and the world. Twenty-four faculty members from across Texas A&M's 16 colleges and schools, two branch campuses and comprehensive University Libraries were honored with this award.

Grunlan is an associate professor and director of undergraduate programs in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Her laboratory focuses on developing new polymeric biomaterials for medical devices and regenerative therapies. She has produced coatings, hydrogels, elastomers and porous foams from “hybrid” systems based on combining inorganic and organic polymers. Her projects include the development of self-cleaning membranes for implanted biosensors, clot-resistant coatings for blood-contacting devices and scaffolds for bone repair and for the regeneration of osteochondral interfaces.

Han is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, director of the NanoBio Systems Lab and director of the AggieFab Nanofabrication Facility. He is an expert in microfluidic lab-on-a-chip and organ-on-a-chip technologies, and his research focuses on the interface of micro/nanotechnology and life sciences, with an interest in solving grand challenge problems in the broad area of health, renewable bioenergy and biomanufacturing.

Jayaraman is associate department head, director of the graduate program and holds the Ray B. Nesbitt Endowed Chair in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering. His research interests include molecular systems biotechnology, specifically on using integrated experimental and modeling approaches for investigating problems in human health and medicine; systems biology of cytokine signaling in inflammatory diseases; inter-kingdom signaling interactions between bacteria and human cells in GI tract infections; and development of microfluidic model systems for combinatorial drug screening and vascular tissue engineering.

Arroyave is an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and directs the Computational Materials Science Lab, which uses computational materials science tools to investigate material properties at different scales of length and time. His research team uses a variety of simulation methods to investigate the fundamental properties of complex materials. More recently, he has worked on developing tools and frameworks for the accelerated discovery and development of materials.

Grasley is an associate professor and Peter C. Forster Faculty Fellow I in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, and is also a faculty member in the materials science and engineering department. His research interests include behavior and modeling of porous materials, durability and sustainability of cementitious materials, and mechanics and thermodynamics of concrete.

The Presidential Impact Fellows program includes the use of the honorific title for life, and an annual stipend of $25,000 each for the next three fiscal years to accelerate each recipient's pedagogy, research and service impacts. Identified by his or her dean and confirmed by academic leadership, these faculty members are considered candidates for continued or new national and international acclaim and will utilize this honor to participate in national dialogue, advance their scholarship and create new partnerships.

"This honor furthers our belief that these faculty are and should be considered among the nation's very best and will enable greater recognition for their excellence," said Dr. Karan L. Watson, provost and executive vice president.

The 2017 recipients were honored officially at a ceremony on March 7.