Three engineering alumni are among the 68 new national members and nine foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). They are Stuart L. Cooper, Ohio State University, Columbus; Cato L. Laurencin, University of Connecticut, Farmington and Mihalis Yannakakis, Columbia University in the City of New York.

According to the Academy’s website, membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,” and to the “pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.” Stuart L. Cooper, professor in the William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Ohio State and the department’s chair since 2004, was recognized for his contributions to polymer chemistry, biomedical polyurethanes, blood compatibility, and academic administration

He has a B.S. from MIT and a Ph.D. from Princeton, both in chemical engineering. In 1967, after completing his graduate degree, Cooper joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin. He moved to the University of Delaware in 1993 and became the chair of the department of chemical engineering.

That same year, Cooper became a founding fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. He also is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Society for Biomaterials. Since its inception in 1988, Cooper has served as co-editor for the Journal of Biomaterials Science, Polymer Edition.

He has published over 350 papers and co-authored six books. Among the awards bestowed upon him are the Clemson Award for Basic Research of the Society for Biomaterials and the Charles M. A. Stine award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Cato T. Laurencin is the Van Dusen Endowed Chair in Academic Medicine; Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Chemical, Materials, and Biomolecular Engineering; dean, School of Medicine; and vice president for health affairs at UConn.

Laurencin was recognized by the NAE for his contributions to biomaterial science, drug delivery, and tissue engineering involving musculoskeletal systems, and for academic leadership

Laurencin’s research has combined his interests in orthopaedic surgery and engineering, leading him to gain advances in shoulder and knee surgery and repairs, along with technological work on the regeneration of knee tissue. His innovative pursuits have been honored with many awards, such as Obama’s 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence. Laurencin was recently was named one of 50 top innovators by Scientific American Magazine and was chosen to be among “100 Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era” by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

In addition, he is the 2009 winner of the Pierre Galletti Award, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering’s highest honor, and has had the distinction of being elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2004.

A graduate from Princeton in 1980 with a B.S.E. in chemical engineering, Laurencin’s medical degree is from Harvard Medical School his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology is from MIT. Both advanced degrees were received in 1987.

Mihalis Yannakakis is the Percy K. and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. He was elected to membership in the NAE for his contributions to algorithms and computational complexity. As stated by Shree Nayar, department chair and NAE fellow, Yannakakis’s “contributions to computer science are remarkable in terms of their depth and impact. His foundational work on algorithms and computational complexity has led to new approaches to important optimization, approximation, and testing problems in broad areas of computer science.”

Yannakakis attended the National Technical University of Athens in Greece, where he received a diploma in electrical engineering in 1975. His Ph.D. in the same major was from Princeton. From 1978 to 2001.Yannakakis was employed at Bell Labs Research, first as a member of the technical staff and later as head of the Computing Principles Research Department. This was followed by a period as Director of Computer Principles Research at Avaya Labs and as professor of computer science at Stanford University. He joined the faculty at Columbia in early 2004.

Yannakakis has published and presented more than 200 papers and has been an active member of various conference and program committees and editorial boards. He is also a fellow in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was presented with the Donald E. Knuth Prize in 2005 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and ACM SIGACT.