Several important changes to our faculty were recently announced…
First, Dean Martin-Vega has appointed Professor Gregory Parsons as Celanese Acetate Professor and Professor Michael Dickey as Alcoa Professor. Second, Dr. Nathan Crook has joined the department with the rank of assistant professor. Finally, Professor Chase Beisel has relocated to the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based infection research (HIRI) in Würzburg, Germany.
Professor Parsons is an inaugural member of the NC State University Research Leadership Academy (RLA) and received the Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award. In 2017 he received the 2017 Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professorship Award. The Award recognizes outstanding graduate teaching and mentoring, and in 2009 he was recognized for his teaching efforts with the NC State Outstanding Teacher Award and election to the Academy of Outstanding Teachers.
In addition to his responsibilities as a faculty member, Greg served as the inaugural director of the NC State Nanotechnology Initiative, which was established in 2006. In that role, he was responsible for coordinating cross-campus nanotechnology-related activities and expanding external visibility for nanotechnology efforts off campus. In 2014 he was selected as the 30th recipient of the prestigious R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Extension.
Professor Parsons’ research interests include: atomic layer deposition and related processes; physics of electronic materials and devices; polymer fiber and film formation, coating and chemical surface modification; metal-organic-framework (MOF) materials and thin films; and advanced energy storage and solar energy conversion.
He earned his B.A. in Physics at the State University of New York, College at Geneseo, and his Ph.D. in Physics at NC State.
Professor Michael Dickey is widely recognized for his pioneering advances in the area of stretchable wires and electronics using a common, non-toxic alloy of gallium and indium called EGaIn. The work has applications in a number of other areas including smart materials, and soft biomimetic electronics. His research interests also include photo-curable polymeric materials, particularly those used in both photo- and imprint lithography, organic photovoltaics used in energy harvesting devices, reconfigurable circuits, microfluidics, and self-folding sheets.
Professor Dickey earned his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering the Georgia Tech, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. His professional honors and awards include: the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Southeastern Section New Faculty Research Award (2013); the NC State Outstanding Teacher Award and appointment as a Member of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers (2012); and the Sigma Xi Faculty Award (2011). In 2013 he was selected as a University Faculty Scholar, and in 2010 he received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.
More recently he received the prestigious 2017 Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award from the NC State College of Engineering and the 2016 ASEE Curtis W. McGraw Research Award.
Professor Nathan Crook has joined the department with the rank of assistant professor. Professor Crook earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He completed a postdoctoral assignment in pathology and immunology at Washington University in Saint Louis.
Nathan’s research interests broadly encompass metabolic engineering, synthetic biology and microbial ecology, and his current application focus is the human gut microbiota. His ultimate goal in the short term is to design and assemble human gut microbial ecosystems as a matter of practice, enabling the conversion of food into a healthy mixture of energy, nutrients, and therapeutics. To do so, his lab develops new high-throughput experimental and computational genetic engineering techniques. In the long term, the Crook lab aims to uncover novel biological phenomena and accelerate research in metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, and microbial ecology.
Finally, Professor Chase Beisel has accepted a position as leader of the RNA Synthetic Biology research group at the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based infection research (HIRI) in Würzburg, Germany, and eventually will be leaving his position as a tenured associate professor. The HIRI is the first research institution worldwide to exclusively address the role of ribonucleic acids (RNAs) in infection processes. “Based on these findings, the HIRI will pioneer an integrative approach to exploit the vast potential of RNA as a diagnostic, drug, and therapeutic target for new strategies to combat infectious diseases.” The research group started in January 2018.
Congratulations to Professors Parsons and Dickey, welcome to Professor Crook, and best of luck to Professor Beisel!