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National Academy of Engineering honors Rob Clark

February 10, 2022

Membership is among the highest distinctions for an engineer.

Rob Clark, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Rochester, joins Institute of Optics alumnus Steve Fantone ’79 (PhD) and SpaceX founder Elon Musk among 111 newly elected members of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.

Clark, the former provost, senior vice president for research, and dean of the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, is being recognized for innovation resulting from a collaboration with Duke biologist Philip Benfey in the “development of automated tools for rapidly identifying and indexing desirable genetic traits for next-generation seed and biotechnology product development.”

An expert in the sciences of acoustics and bionanomanufacturing, Clark heads a research group that has explored the broad field of dynamic systems, measurement, and control. Their accomplishments include the development of new instruments for the exploration of single-molecule mechanics and genetic modification of seeds, the deposition and control of materials at the nanoscale required to enable an industry in bionanomanufacturing, and the development of scaffolds for tissue engineering through electrospinning and electrospraying processes.

Clark has more than 140 journal publications to his name and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Acoustical Society of America, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He is a recipient of the Lindsey Award from the Acoustical Society of America, the National Science Foundation Career Program Award, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and the NASA Group Achievement Award.

He earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Prior to joining the University of Rochester, Clark was dean of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, where he had been a member of the faculty since 1992.

Outside of academia, Clark has founded and supported multiple start-up companies and served as board member for several technology companies as well as the Austrian Institute of Technology in Vienna. He is currently lead independent director of Minerals Technologies Inc. which develops, produces, and markets specialty mineral, mineral-based and synthetic mineral products and related systems and services.

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Category: Science & Technology