News & Awards: Winter 2018

Highlights from the latest news and research from MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering

Departmental and Research News

  • Evelyn Wang, the Gail E. Kendall Professor and director of MIT’s Device Research Laboratory, has been named associate department head for operations in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
  • MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering was ranked as the No. 1 mechanical engineering undergraduate program by US News & World Reports.
  • In Fall 2017, MIT launched the New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) initiative which is rethinking engineering education by offering students two pilot cross-departmental threads: Living Machines and Autonomous Machines.
  • Associate Professor Kripa Varanasi has developed a new condensation-based method of mixing oil and water which may allow them to remain stable for long periods. The process, which could be used in pharma, cosmetics, and food, was described in Nature Communications.
  • Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited announced a collaboration to develop and commercialize the Portal Instruments’ needle-free drug delivery device developed by Professor Ian Hunter.
  • To help the 1.3 billion people living without regular access to power, Associate Professor Konstantin Turitsyn developed a framework, published in Control Systems Letters, that guarantees stability in microgrids supplying power in developing countries.
  • Prolific inventor Martin Prince SB ’80, SM ’82, PhD ’88 has endowed two funds for mechanical engineering students. The Prince Innovation Prize will be given to an undergraduate with a promising patent or patent application. The Prince Innovation Fellowship will be given to a graduate student who is the first named inventor on a promising patent or patent application.

New Faculty

  • Assistant Professor Willem M. van Rees recently joined MechE from Harvard University. His research combines computational fluid dynamics and structural mechanics with modern machine learning to design ocean propulsion and energy harvesting systems.
  • Assistant Professor Ellen Roche recently joined MechE from Harvard University. Her research focuses on applying novel manufacturing technologies to translational medical devices and developing devices along the translational path from concept to clinic. 

Faculty Awards

  • Professor Lallit Anand has been awarded the 2018 William Prager Medal by the Society of Engineering Science for his outstanding research contributions to large deformation plasticity theory.
  • Professor Evelyn Wang was awarded The Gustus L. Larson Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in mechanical engineering by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
  • Professor Alexander Slocum won the Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising, given to a faculty member who has demonstrated a lasting commitment to personal and professional development.  He was also recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
  • Kytopen, co-founded by Associate Professor Cullen Buie, is among the first seven start-ups backed by The Engine, a venture launched by MIT that will support ‘tough-tech’ companies. The Kytopen team has developed a new wave of genetic engineering, delivering DNA to bacterial cells up to 10,000 times faster than current state-of-the-art methods.
  • The Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative and Governor Charlie Baker awarded Professor Harry Asada a $2 million grant to develop Teach-Bot, an innovative robotics instructor and demo machine that interacts with the learner.

Student Awards

  • Senior Matthew Chun has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar. He will begin postgraduate studies at Oxford University next fall with the goal of advising organizations that bring life-improving technologies to countries around the world.
  • Jorlyn Le Garrec ’17 has been awarded a 2017 Fulbright grant. She will study underwater robotics and pursue a mechanical engineering master’s degree at the University of Auckland.
  • Graduate student Kevin Simon has been named one of Manufacturing Engineering's 30 Under 30 for his focus on “problems with impact” – including developing irrigation technologies to meet the needs of agriculture in India
  • Graduate students Maher Damak and Karim Khalil from the Varanasi Research Group were both named as one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Energy for co-founding Infinite Cooling, which recaptures water vapor that escapes from cooling towers at power plants. PhD Candidate You Wu was also named one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Manufacturing & Industry for founding Pipeguard Robotics, which manufactures a robot that travels through water pipes to detect leaks.