Professors Carol Hall, Milad Abolhasani and Qingshan Wei were among 25 NC State faculty honored during the 2020 Celebration of Faculty Excellence. The NC State community includes more than 2,300 faculty members.
Normally held each spring, the Celebration recognizes outstanding faculty who have received prestigious awards, accolades or other distinctions during the previous year. In 2020, its ninth year, the Celebration was held virtually.
Prof. Hall, the Camille Dreyfus Distinguished University Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, was honored for being elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest scientific society, for her distinguished contributions to the field of thermodynamics using statistical methods and computer simulation methods to solve engineering problems involving macromolecules and complex fluids. Fellows are often the highest grade of membership of many professional associations or learned societies.
Prof. Hall is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and serves as its Home Secretary. She is also a Fellow of the AIChE and the American Physical Society. She is a recipient of the AIChE Founders Award, for outstanding contributions to the field, and the Foundations of Molecular Modeling and Simulation (FOMMS) Medal, to honor “profound and lasting contribution by one or more individuals to the development of computational methods and their application to the field of molecular-based modeling and simulation.” In 2008, she was named a member of the “One Hundred Engineers of the Modern Era” for her significant contributions to the profession of chemical engineering and to society by the AIChE.
In 2020, Prof. Hall received the Margaret H. Rousseau Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement by a Woman Chemical Engineer from the AIChE. It was recently announced that she is the Principal Investigator and Project Director for a 5-year, $2M newly-funded research project from the National Science Foundation (NSF). She received her B.S. degree from Cornell University and her Ph.D. degree from Stony Brook University, both in physics .
As described below, Professors Abolhasani and Wei each received a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development award, also known as the CAREER Award, from the NSF. According to the NSF web site, “The intent of the program is to provide stable support at a sufficient level and duration to enable awardees to develop careers not only as outstanding researchers but also as educators demonstrating commitment to teaching, learning, and dissemination of knowledge.”
Prof. Abolhasani leads a diverse research group that studies flow chemistry strategies tailored toward accelerated development and manufacturing of materials. To meet those goals, his research group studies fundamentals of process intensification and microscale transport phenomena using microreaction engineering concepts and principles of smart manufacturing.
Prof. Abolhasani received his B.S. and M.A.Sc. degrees in mechanical engineering from Sharif University of Technology and the University of British Columbia, respectively. He earned his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. Prior to joining CBE, he was a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT.
He has received numerous other awards and fellowships including an ACS-PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award, and AIChE Futures, and Emerging Investigator recognitions from the journals Lab on a Chip, Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, and Journal of Flow Chemistry. Earlier in 2020, Prof. Abolhasani was selected as a member of the 2020 class of AIChE 35 Under 35 award winners. The award honors “engineers under the age of 35 who have made significant contributions to the Institute and to the chemical engineering profession.”
Prof. Wei received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in polymer materials and engineering from Zhejiang University, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Purdue University. He conducted postdoctoral training in the Bioengineering and Electrical Engineering Departments at UCLA and he’s the recipient of a Nano Research Young Innovator Award in NanoBiotech. He is also a member of the NC State Emerging Plant Disease and Food Security Cluster.
Prof. Wei’s research is focused on developing next-generation field-deployable molecular imaging, sensing, and diagnostic tools for plants and humans. His research group has previously developed two portable sensors employing smartphone and lab-on-a-chip technologies.
Those are a device that allows farmers to identify plant diseases in the field and a device that can test for cyanotoxins in water. Cyanotoxins are toxic substances produced by cyanobacteria (a.k.a. “blue-green algae”) that can cause health effects ranging from headache and vomiting to respiratory paralysis and in rare circumstances, death.
Going forward, Prof. Wei will use funding from the CAREER award to support his project, “Smartphone-Based CRISPR Biosensor for Point-of-Care HIV Viral Load Testing.” The results of this research will significantly improve the quality and outcome of HIV treatment protocols. He also expects the developed sensory methodology will be broadly applicable to the detection of many other diseases in resource-limited settings in the future.
Congratulations to Professors Hall, Abolhasani and Wei for this recognition of your professional excellence!