News from the Whiting School

Honors for Paulette Clancy, David Gracias, Ryan Hurley, and Taekjip Ha

Paulette Clancy, chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been elected to the board of directors of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, chemical engineering's professional society. Clancy, who leads one of the nation's top groups studying atomic- and molecular-scale modeling of semiconductor materials, plans to help the organization continue its efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion, an area in which she has been active for more than three decades.

David Gracias, a professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society. Election as an APS fellow is a major recognition of professional accomplishment from the leading organization of physicists. Gracias is known for the design, development, and characterization of miniaturized devices, intelligent materials, and systems. His fellowship citation was for "the elucidation of fundamental concepts and the development of methods to self-fold bio-, micro-, and nanomaterials by mismatch strain, differential swelling, and capillary forces."

Ryan Hurley, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a fellow of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute, has received an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program Award. The award will support Hurley's project titled "Effects of Material and Morphology on 3D Particle and Pore Dynamics During Rapid Compaction of Granular Materials." The dynamics of individual particles in a granular material undergoing rapid compaction are of fundamental importance in manufacturing processes, planetary science, and defense applications. Hurley's goal is to be able to reconstruct the full 3D history of particle dynamics and stresses during impact events that occur over the course of several microseconds in granular materials of varied material and particle shape. His findings could be used to aid in validating models of planetary impact, projectile impact into soils, and ignition of energetic powders.

Taekjip Ha, the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, Biophysics, and Biomedical Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, considered one of the health and medicine fields' highest honors. Ha's research focuses on visualizing the way single molecules behave in complex biological systems, such as proteins and DNA. He and his team bring together cutting-edge biophysical techniques with fluorescence imaging to see and manipulate DNA, RNA, and protein molecules. This close-up view allows scientists to understand, for example, how cells maintain the genome. Ha is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.