Smits returns as mechanical and aerospace chair

Alexander Smits will become chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering as of July 1, returning to the position he held from 1998 to 2004.

Frontiers of health: Bugs for drugs

Bacteria have to work to earn their keep in the lab of David Wood, assistant professor of chemical engineering. Designed to respond to human hormones, the busy bugs may help identify new compounds to treat endocrine problems, including Graves' disease and estrogen-related disorders.

Frontiers of health: New spin on heart valves

In a roundabout way, propellers advanced Julie Young's latest project—a new and improved heart valve replacement. "The blades of a propeller look very much like the leaflets in a mechanical heart valve," said Young, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, who studied propellers for her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Texas at Austin. "The same principles apply on a much smaller scale."

Frontiers of health: Sight for sore eyes

Szymon Suckewer needs eye surgery, but he's not going under the knife just yet -- he'd rather wait until no knife is necessary. Having recently developed an incision-free eye surgery technique, he's confident that will soon be an option.

Frontiers of health: Killer proteins

Powerful proteins that are able to kill bacteria and viruses already exist in nature, but Kyle Vanderlick wants to make them even stronger. The chair of the chemical engineering department, Vanderlick conducts research on antimicrobial peptides -- short proteins that destroy disease-causing bugs by breaking down the membranes that surround them. The work, done in collaboration with biologists at the University of California, Irvine, could ultimately lead to the development of powerful new mic

Quest for ancient coins inspires a book and a course

Computer scientist Ken Steiglitz is happy to admit that he is an eBay addict. For starters, his pre-dawn "grazing" on the popular Internet trading site has yielded a trove of ancient bronze coins to add to his personal collection. Even more, he has discovered a wealth of information to advance the field of auction theory, which lies at the intersection of computer science, economics, mathematics and psychology.

Frontiers of health: Taking the scenic route

It might seem easy to visually distinguish between a kitchen and a beach, but Fei Fei Li recognizes the inherent complexity in telling sink from sand. Her research to understand the brain processes involved may ultimately enhance treatments for visual impairments and brain damage.

Frontiers of health: Deep into the surface

Mikko Haataja, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, views cell membranes as "very complicated beasts." As the beasts can't always be explored experimentally, he uses computer simulations to probe deep into their structure and function.

Frontiers of health: Deep in data

"We have millions of times more biological data now than we did just a few years ago," says Olga Troyanskaya. "But we don't know millions of times more about biology -- at least, not yet. The assistant professor of computer science and genomics is doing her part to change that by designing computer systems that analyze massive amounts of genetic data. The freely available systems are providing researchers throughout the world with the ability to generate new insights into cancer and a multi

Dean's Message - Frontiers of Health

Focus on fundamentals yields broad societal benefits Why is an aerospace engineer who developed control systems for a lunar module investigating the genetics of cancer? How did an expert in statistical finance come to identify genes involved in childhood tumors? In part, these unexpected combinations reflect the interdisciplinary approach that is increasingly common in academics: Solving complex problems often requires collaborations among people with different perspectives. At Princeton, ther