Eight UConn Professors Inducted into Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering

Distinguished professor-in-residence in electrical & computer engineering Anthony DeMaria, left, recipient of the 2013 CASE Distinguished Service Award, with new CASE members, from left, Nalini Ravishanker, professor of statistics, Suzy V. Torti, professor of molecular, microbial, and structural biology, Thomas J. Barber, professor-in-residence of mechanical engineering, and Robin Côté, professor of physics. Not shown are new members Wilson Chiu, professor mechanical engineering, Frank Torti, executive vice president for health affairs, J. Evan Ward, professor of marine sciences, and Mei Wei, professor of materials science and engineering. (Frank LaBanca for CASE)

Distinguished professor-in-residence in electrical & computer engineering Anthony DeMaria, left, recipient of the 2013 CASE Distinguished Service Award, with new CASE members, from left, Nalini Ravishanker, professor of statistics, Suzy V. Torti, professor of molecular, microbial, and structural biology, Thomas J. Barber, professor-in-residence of mechanical engineering, and Robin Côté, professor of physics. Not shown are new members Wilson Chiu, professor mechanical engineering, Frank Torti, executive vice president for health affairs, J. Evan Ward, professor of marine sciences, and Mei Wei, professor of materials science and engineering. (Frank LaBanca for CASE)

Eight University of Connecticut professors were inducted into the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) at an awards ceremony on May 22 at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. The Academy recognizes Connecticut’s leading experts in sciences, engineering, and technology.

Of the 33 new members this year, eight were from UConn, including three from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, three from the School of Engineering, and two from the Health Center.

Election to the Academy is on the basis of scientific and engineering distinction achieved through significant contributions in theory or applications, as demonstrated by original published books and papers, patents, the pioneering of new and developing fields and innovative products, outstanding leadership of nationally recognized technical teams, and external professional awards in recognition of scientific and engineering excellence.

In addition, alumnus and distinguished professor-in-residence in electrical & computer engineering Anthony DeMaria ’56 (ENG), ’65 Ph.D., received the 2013 CASE Distinguished Service Award for his enduring contributions to the Academy as a charter member, fourth president, and past-president.

The new UConn members of CASE and their fields of expertise are as follows:

Thomas Barber has served as a professor-in-residence in mechanical engineering in the School of Engineering since 2000. He enjoyed a distinguished career with Pratt & Whitney and the United Technologies Research Center prior to joining the University. Barber is an Associate Fellow of AIAA and a member of ASME, and he has served as an associate editor of the AIAA Journal for Propulsion and Power. His induction into CASE recognizes his contributions to computational fluid mechanics, his leadership in expanding and managing the professional Master of Engineering degree program, and oversight and expansion of the mechanical engineering senior design program.

Wilson Chiu is a professor of mechanical engineering in the School of Engineering who is recognized for his pioneering work in heat and mass transfer, including his development of new approaches to understanding micro- and nano-structure induced transport phenomena in energy, photonics, and semiconductor materials. Chiu’s honors include the Rutgers University School of Engineering Medal of Excellence Award for Distinguished Young Alumni, the ASME Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award in Heat Transfer, the U.S. Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. He is an associate editor of the ASME Journal of Heat Transfer and the International Journal of Thermal Sciences.

Robin Côté, professor of physics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and his research group study the theory behind atomic, molecular, and optical physics in a variety of systems, and are particularly interested in ultracold atomic and molecular gases. His recent work has applications to quantum information science and ultracold chemistry. Côté is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and received the Cottrell Research Innovation Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. He was editor for the proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Atomic Physics and guest editor for Journal of Physics B. His work has been funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.

Nalini Ravishanker, professor of statistics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has broad research interests including statistical methods in time-series analysis and signal processing. Her interdisciplinary work spans actuarial science, marketing, environmental engineering, transportation engineering, and finance. She received a National Science Foundation Early Career Development Grant in 1995. Ravishanker’s work has been funded by the U.S. Army Research Office, the U.S. Department of Transportation, IBM, and the Connecticut Cooperative Highway Research Program. She is editor of the journal Theory and Methods, Applied Stochastic Models in Business and Industry, and associate editor of The American Statistician and the Journal of Forecasting. She was a 2006 Fellow of the National Statistical Association, and is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

Dr. Frank M. Torti is the executive vice president for health affairs and medical school dean at the University of Connecticut Health Center. Torti is a well-known physician and clinical investigator who has designed and executed clinical trials in urologic cancer that have been used throughout the world. He has been routinely selected by his peers in polls and in national magazines’ lists of “America’s Top Doctors” and “Top Cancer Doctors.” Torti is involved in many national organizations, and was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Association of American Cancer Institutes and of the National Coalition for Cancer Research. He served on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and was recently appointed to the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee and the Board of Scientific Advisors. He has been continually funded by an NIH RO1 grant for his basic science research since his lab was established in 1988. He holds a MERIT award from the NIH, an honor bestowed on only five percent of all NIH grantees.

Suzy Torti, an accomplished cancer researcher, is a professor in the UConn School of Medicine’s Department of Molecular, Microbial, and Structural Biology, and the Center for Molecular Medicine at the UConn Health Center. She is interested in the molecular and cell biology of iron metabolism in breast cancer and other malignancies. Her lab is also investigating the use of nanomaterials as anticancer agents. Her honors include postdoctoral fellowships at the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and a Research Excellence Award from Wake Forest University. She was also honored with the Outstanding Invited Presentation award during the 11th World Congress on Advances in Oncology and 9th International Symposium on Molecular Medicine.

J. Evan Ward, professor of marine sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has contributed significantly to the field of marine biology by advancing knowledge of the feeding processes of invertebrate animals. He developed the technique of video endoscopy to examine feeding in live organisms, and is lead PI and director of Connecticut’s Oceans and Human Health training consortium. He received two Fulbright Foreign Scholarships for research at the University of Exeter in 2011-2012 and the University of Panama, 2004-2005, and a National Science Foundation Early Career Development Grant in 1994. He served on the Living Marine Resources Subcommittee of the US-EPA Long Island Sound Study from 2000-2004, and has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Shellfish Research since 1999. Ward is a past president of the National Shellfisheries Association and received the Association’s Meritorious Award in 2001.

Mei Wei is a professor of materials science & engineering and the newly appointed associate dean for research & graduate education for the School of Engineering. Wei has established a world-renowned research program in the areas of biomaterials and tissue engineering. She has collaborated extensively with researchers at the UConn Health Center on groundbreaking bone regeneration and scaffolding studies. Wei’s honors include the 2007 Connecticut Women of Innovation’s Academic Innovation and Leadership Award in recognition of her contributions in the field of biomaterials.

The 2013 CASE Distinguished Service Award-winner Anthony DeMaria has served as a distinguished professor-in-residence in the University’s electrical & computer engineering department in the School of Engineering since 2003. He founded and served as chairman and CEO of DEOS, a Bloomfield, Conn.-based leading manufacturer of sealed-off, RF excited waveguide CO2 lasers for industrial and governmental applications, which was purchased in 2001 by Coherent Inc. He remained chief scientist at the company until his retirement in 2012. DeMaria is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering (1976) and the National Academy of Science (1997) for his pioneering development of picosecond laser pulse physics. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and IEEE, and a Fellow and past president of the Optical Society of America and SPIE. In 2004, he received the Connecticut Medal of Technology, and in 1984 he was awarded the IEEE Centennial Medal.