Professor Linda Schadler Appointed Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 01 July 2014 10:26

To: The Rensselaer Community
From: Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics
Professor of Engineering Sciences
Date: July 1, 2014
Re: Professor Linda Schadler Appointed Vice Provost and Dean forUndergraduate Education

It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Dr. Linda Schadler as Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education, following a national search. Dr. Schadler, the Russell Sage Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the School of Engineering, will assume this new role on Oct. 13, 2014.

In this position, Dr. Schadler will be responsible for overseeing the Institute's undergraduate degree programs. Along with enhancing the core curriculum and growing opportunities for undergraduate research and international experiences, she will strengthen programs focused on student advising, retention, graduation, and other student support services.

Dr. Schadler also will play an important role in the implementation of Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (CLASS), and advancing Institute-wide initiatives in teaching and learning, such as the Mandarin Project and Art Across the Curriculum.

Our undergraduate programs, renowned for their intellectual rigor and innovative pedagogies, are at the core of the Rensselaer undergraduate experience. Dr. Schadler is a world-class researcher and a gifted academic administrator. Her passion for education is proven and palpable. As Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education, her contributions will be critical as we continue toward our bicentennial in 2024.

Following a postdoctoral researcher position at IBM Yorktown Heights, Dr. Schadler started her academic career as a faculty member at Drexel University in Philadelphia before joining Rensselaer in 1996. She was named associate professor in 1999 and full professor in 2003. In 2009 she was appointed associate dean for academic affairs for the School of Engineering, and in 2012 was named the Russell Sage Professor.

Active in materials research for over 23 years, Dr. Schadler is an experimentalist and her investigations have focused on the mechanical, electrical, and optical properties of two-phase systems, primarily polymer composites. She is the author or co-author of more than 140 journal publications, several book chapters, and one book. Additionally, Dr. Schadler is one of three leaders of the Molecularium Project, which has led to the creation of two award-winning animated movies and an award-winning educational website, all engineered to teach young children about the world of atoms and molecules.

As associate dean in the School of Engineering, Dr. Schadler led the implementation of two important new programs. In 2013, the School introduced a new "Code of Honor" to reflect and showcase its expectations for students to demonstrate the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Also last year, the School established a new Student Service Hub, a place for students to get answers to their academic services questions.

Dr. Schadler is a fellow of ASM International and a former member of the National Materials Advisory Board of the National Research Council. She received her B.S. from Cornell University and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, both in materials science and engineering.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Schadler as she begins the next chapter of her career at Rensselaer.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 10:31
Deepak Vashishth appointed to PLOS ONE Editorial Board PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 17 June 2014 10:52

Deepak Vashishth appointed to PLOS ONE Editorial Board

Deepak Vashishth has been appointed to the PLOS ONE Editorial Board and will serve as an Academic Editor.

About the journal:
PLOS ONE is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication. PLOS ONE welcomes reports on primary research from any scientific discipline. PLOS ONE features reports of original research from all disciplines within science and medicine. By not excluding papers on the basis of subject area, PLOS ONE facilitates the discovery of the connections between papers whether within or between disciplines.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 10:55
Professor Shekhar Garde Appointed Dean of Engineering PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 06 June 2014 07:42

June 5, 2014 Troy, N.Y. – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute today named Shekhar Garde as dean of the School of Engineering. The appointment is effective July 1. Garde, the Elaine S. and Jack S. Parker Chaired Professor in Engineering at Rensselaer, has served since 2007 as head of the university’s Howard. P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE). “Dr. Garde is a distinguished researcher, an exceptional educator, and a skilled leader,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “He brings an exciting vision and tremendous enthusiasm to the role of dean of the School of Engineering, as we move forward toward the bicentennial of Rensselaer in 2024. The contributions and leadership of Dr. Garde will be pivotal as we continue to educate the technology leaders of tomorrow and pursue innovative and interdisciplinary research to address the most pressing challenges facing our world.” “The School of Engineering at Rensselaer has a rich tradition of innovation and excellence in engineering education, and a global reputation for its leading-edge research,” Garde said. “I am honored and excited to lead the school at this important time. By striving for quality and excellence in research and education, building bridges across various schools at Rensselaer, cultivating and celebrating diversity, and promoting the accomplishments of our faculty, students, and staff, we will continue to elevate the impact and the transformational nature of engineering at Rensselaer.” Garde is an expert in molecular theory and simulations of biomolecular and nanoscopic systems. His research focuses on understanding the role of water in biological structure and function, and he collaborates with researchers from a wide range of academic disciplines to further the fundamental understanding of molecular-scale processes that lie at the foundation of bio- and nanotechnologies. He joined the School of Engineering at Rensselaer as an assistant professor in 1999, and was promoted to associate professor in 2004 and full professor in 2006. He was appointed as the Parker Chaired Professor in 2006 and was named head of CBE in 2007. Under Garde’s leadership, CBE transformed itself into an intellectually vibrant department with internationally recognized faculty and a strong and growing student body. Garde helped recruit seven new chemical engineering faculty members, and grew the graduate program to more than 80 doctoral students. During Garde’s tenure as department head, CBE undergraduate enrollment doubled to more than 340 students, and the undergraduate curriculum evolved to incorporate modern courses and updated facilities. Garde also established a new program to recognize outstanding teaching assistants and research mentors, as well as the CBE Outstanding Teacher Award to honor dedicated educators. With a generous gift from Howard P. Isermann ’42, Garde in 2013 helped establish special fellowships to attract outstanding women and underrepresented minority graduate students to CBE. Garde is the author of 85 papers published in leading scientific journals, and his work has been cited more than 5,400 times. He has received several awards for his research, including a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) in 2001 from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the 2003 Rensselaer School of Engineering Research Award, and the 2011 Robert W. Vaughan Lectureship at the California Institute of Technology. He is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Additionally, Garde is one of three leaders of the Molecularium Project. Supported by the NSF and private funding, the Molecularium team has created two animated movies to teach young children about the world of atoms and molecules. The movies, Riding Snowflakes and Molecules to the MAX!, have won numerous awards and are currently playing in educational theaters around the world. The project’s NanoSpace website, an online science “theme park” featuring games, videos, and educational resources, won a “2013 Best of the Web” award from the Center for Digital Education. Garde received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Bombay, and his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware. Founded in 1824, Rensselaer is the oldest technological university in the English-speaking world. For nearly two centuries, the Institute has been a driving force behind breakthroughs in engineering and science in virtually every arena – from transportation and infrastructure to business, medicine, outer space, and cyberspace. Today, more than 3,000 undergraduate students and 700 graduate students are enrolled in the School of Engineering at Rensselaer, and 76 percent of incoming first-year engineering students were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class. The School of Engineering’s seven academic departments offer 22 different degree programs. Research conducted at Rensselaer addresses some of the world’s most pressing technological challenges – from energy security and sustainable development to biotechnology and human health – and the School of Engineering’s 140 research-active faculty members are at the leading edge of their fields. The School of Engineering is one of five schools at Rensselaer, through which students at all levels are engaged in and researching a wide array of critical 21st-century challenges. In addition to Engineering, the university offers more than 145 programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels in the schools of Science; Architecture; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; and the Lally School of Management; as well as an interdisciplinary degree in Information Technology. Contact: Michael MullaneyPhone: (518) 276-6161E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Friday, 06 June 2014 07:47
Xing Wang, Biochemist and Researcher in DNA/RNA Bio-Nanotechnology, Joins Rensselaer PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 20 May 2014 14:47

May 16, 2014

Troy, N.Y. – Xing Wang, a biochemist investigating the bio-nanotechnology potential of DNA and RNA, has been appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Wang joins Rensselaer from the University of South Florida, where he served as an assistant professor.

“Xing’s research offers broad promise in drug delivery, bio-imaging, as a platform for research, and for other therapeutics and diagnostics,” said Laurie Leshin, dean of the School of Science. “We are thrilled he is joining the School of Science, and we welcome him to Rensselaer.”

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid) are familiar to us as the molecules that encode and transcribe the genetic instructions for building and sustaining all living organisms. Both DNA and RNA are composed of simple units called nucleotides that function as modular units, strung together in a genetic code much as dots and dashes are strung together in Morse code. Wang’s research seeks to repurpose the modular nucleotides as building blocks for self-assembled nanoscale (one billionth of meter) structures and machinery.

“DNA and RNA have a lot of advantages as bio-nanotechnology materials,” said Wang. Among the advantages, DNA and RNA are bio-compatible, they can be readily synthesized or cloned, the rules that govern the interactions between nucleotides are highly predictable, and chemical properties of nucleotides are easily modified using current lab techniques.

In previous research, Wang investigated programming sequences of DNA strands that can self-assemble into two- or three-dimensional structures.

“You can draw something on paper, a two- or three-dimensional structure, and then you can program sequences of DNA strands that will form your design,” said Wang. “Currently, this design process can even be assisted by semi-automated computer programs.”

Self-assembled DNA nanostructure can serve as a prototyping “breadboard” to study the interactions of elements – such as proteins, drugs, nanoparticles, or semiconducting “quantum dots” – attached to the platform. A similar platform might serve as a sort of circuit board for nanoparticles aligned to form an electrical device. DNA might also be used in a drug delivery system, designed to enclose and protect a drug as it travels in the body, and bind to molecular receptors found only on the drug target.

Wang also researches RNA, which uses a slightly different set of nucleotides. Interactions among RNA chains are more complex than those among DNA chains.

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Researchers To Unveil Green Wall Prototype PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 25 April 2014 14:47

Plant-Filled Wall Panels Filter Impurities From the Air, School of Architecture Researchers Find

Troy, N.Y. – Researchers from the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute working at the Institute’s Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) in New York City have spent the past several years researching ways to harness plants’ natural abilities to filter toxins out of the air into an application that could be used in indoor spaces like office buildings.

On Monday, May 12, those researchers will unveil the first public-scale prototype of their green wall. Two panels of plants, each 6 feet long and 7 feet tall and containing about 30 densely packed plants, will hang on a wall in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) building on the Rensselaer campus.

“The work that will be unveiled at CBIS is the result of years of interdisciplinary research at CASE spanning the fields of environmental and mechanical engineering, biology, and architectural sciences. We have recently expanded the team to include collaborators from the Rensselaer Smart Lighting Research Center and the departments of chemistry and chemical engineering. The technologies CASE researchers are developing, like this green wall, have the potential to revolutionize our ability to deliver clean air to urban populations, and reduce the carbon footprint of cities and buildings, by reducing the fossil fuel consumption of the heating, cooling, and ventilation systems,” said Anna Dyson, director of CASE.

CBIS is supporting the installation as part of an ongoing interest in expanding the boundaries of biotechnology research – beyond the core disciplines of science and engineering – to include interdisciplinary projects in architecture, humanities, arts and social sciences, and management.

“We are very pleased to host the first public-scale prototype of this technology in CBIS,” said Deepak Vashishth, director of CBIS. “Our partnership with CASE is one example of the broad spectrum of research we are developing. As our efforts mature, we expect to draw many more partners under our roof, and realize the vision of CBIS as a true campus hub of research. ”

The concept of bringing the outdoors inside buildings isn’t a new one in architecture, but what makes this green wall prototype different is the way air is pulled through the plants to maximize the amount of airborne toxins filtered out.

“This particular green wall takes a step beyond previous green walls in that it seeks to improve air quality by amplifying the air filtration that naturally occurs in plants,” said Matt Gindlesparger, a lecturer at CASE who has led the research and prototyping of the green wall.

Removing toxins from the air is an increasingly important area of research, Gindlesparger said, because nearly every material used in building construction – including paint and carpeting – involves synthetic finishes that contain, and slowly release, volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. By harnessing the power of plants, the effects of those VOCs can be mitigated.

Gindlesparger said CBIS was a natural choice as a venue to showcase the green wall prototype: “CBIS is uniquely situated as part of the larger research culture of the Rensselaer campus and so this is a strategic alliance of the work we’re doing at CASE and the School of Architecture and the larger Institute.”

The prototype green wall is designed to be mobile so research on its effects can be conducted in different settings. The two panels can be coupled or de-coupled and moved into different environments within the building; they will initially be connected directly to the plumbing at CBIS, but the system is also designed with a water tank so it can operate without being directly connected to plumbing.

The green wall will be unveiled at 2 p.m. Monday, May 12, in the atrium of the CBIS building.



Last Updated on Friday, 09 May 2014 13:31
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