Penn Engineering is pleased to announce the names of the recipients of four scholarly chairs: Drs. Danielle Bassett, Russell Composto, Boon Thau Loo and Mark Yim. These are all well-deserved honors and we celebrate the privilege of having each of these scholars among us.
Danielle Bassett has been named the J. Peter Skirkanich Professor of Bioengineering.
Dr. Bassett is a Professor in the department of Bioengineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. She holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Cambridge and completed her postdoctoral training at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before joining Penn in 2013.
Dr. Bassett has received numerous awards for her research, including an Alfred P Sloan Research Fellowship, a MacArthur Fellowship, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and, most recently, an Erdos-Renyi Prize in Network Science to name but a few. She has authored over 190 peer-reviewed publications as well as numerous book chapters and teaching materials. She is the founding director of the Penn Network Visualization Program, a combined undergraduate art internship and K-12 outreach program bridging network science and the visual arts.
Dr. Bassett’s research is in the area of complex systems and network science, with applications to biological, physical and social networks. She examines dynamic changes in network architecture, the interaction between topological properties of networks, and the influence of network topology on signal propagation and system function. To learn more about Dr. Bassett and her research, please visit her faculty profile.
The J. Peter Skirkanich Professorship was established to honor J. Peter “Pete” Skirkanich, an alumnus, trustee and member of the School of Engineering and Applied Science Board of Overseers who also served as co-chair of Penn Engineering’s “Making History through Innovation” capital campaign and was a member of the University’s “Making History” steering committee. His generous support for Penn Engineering paved the way for Skirkanich Hall.
Russell Composto has been named the Howell Family Faculty Fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Dr. Composto is a Professor in the department of Materials Science and Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He joined Penn in 1990 after an appointment as a Research Scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Massachusetts. He is an alumnus of Cornell University, where he received his doctoral degree in 1987.
Dr. Composto is a member of a number of centers and institutes and is the director of Research and Education in Active Coatings Technologies (REACT) for human habitat, a Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Composto is a previous recipient of the Provost’s Award for Distinguished PhD Teaching and Mentoring. He also serves at the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education at Penn Engineering.
Dr. Composto’s research is in the area of polymer science and biomolecular engineering. His interests extend to polymer surfaces and interfaces, adhesion and diffusion, and nanocomposite polymer blend and copolymer films. His biomaterials work centers around manipulating the surface of polymers to elicit control over protein adsorption, as well as cell adhesion, orientation, and function, and he has an active research program at the interface of polymer science and biomolecular engineering, which combines block copolymer self-assemble as a basis for orienting stiff biological molecules. To learn more about Dr. Composto and his research, please visit his faculty profile.
The Howell Family Faculty Fellow was established to provide financial support to a faculty member in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. This faculty fellow helped launch the dean’s strategic goal to increase the School’s number of named, endowed faculty positions.
Boon Thau Loo has been named the RCA Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Dr. Loo is a Professor in the department of Computer and Information Science at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley and conducted postdoctoral research at Microsoft Research before joining Penn in 2007.
Dr. Loo is the recipient of numerous awards including the NSF CAREER award, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award, and Penn’s Emerging Inventor of the year award. He currently serves as Penn Engineering’s Associate Dean for Master’s and Professional Programs.
Dr. Loo’s research focuses on distributed data management systems, Internet-scale query processing, and the application of database technologies to networked systems. He is particularly interested in developing information-centric network architectures that can be easily extended, composed, and formally verified. His recent projects include applying declarative networking techniques in the areas of dynamic network composition, adaptive mobile ad-hoc networks, and scalable knowledge-based networks. He is also exploring novel database-inspired techniques for diagnosing, securing, and verifying network protocols. Dr. Loo is an active entrepreneur and has founded and helped start several new companies. To learn more about Dr. Loo and his research, please visit his faculty profile.
The RCA Professorship was established with the support of RCA, originally the Radio Corporation of America, which was one of the earliest and most successful consumer electronics companies, known for nearly 100 years of innovations in wireless communication, radio, audio, and television.
Mark Yim has been named the Asa Whitney Professor of Mechanical Engineering.
Dr. Yim is a Professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and was a senior researcher at the Palo Alto Research Center for several years before joining Penn in 2004.
Dr. Yim is the recipient of several awards including the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. He is a World Technology Network Fellow, was inducted into MIT’s TR100 in 1999 and was named a National Academy of Inventors Fellow in 2018. He is also the Director of the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory at Penn Engineering.
Dr. Yim’s research expertise centers on the design and building of modular self-reconfigurable robots. His most recent project is SMORES-EP, a modular robot that can reconfigure itself into different shapes depending on the task and environment at hand. His other research interests include product design, reactive art and architecture, snake locomotion, flying robots, and self-assembling floating structures. He has been issued over 40 patents for his work. His other research interests include product design, reactive art and architecture, snake locomotion, flying robots, and self-assembling floating structures. To learn more about Dr. Yim and his research, please visit his faculty profile.
The Asa Whitney Professorship was established to honor Asa Whitney, benefactor of Penn’s first endowed professorship, whose bequest established the Asa Whitney Professor of Dynamical Engineering in 1877.