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Professor Alice P. Gast, associate chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, has been named MIT's vice president for research and associate provost.
In addition to her administrative positions, Dr. Gast will be the Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering.
Professor J. David Litster will continue to serve as vice president and dean for research until Professor Gast arrives on campus.
"Alice is a renowned researcher, scholar and educator and a tremendous advocate for research," said Provost Robert A. Brown in announcing the appointment, which is effective in the fall. "She will add a wonderful perspective to the leadership of MIT in these and other important areas."
Professor Gast will coordinate policy regarding research and graduate education and oversee the Institute's large inter-school laboratories. She will work with Provost Brown in coordinating these areas through the budgeting process and through the planning, assignment and utilization of space at the Institute. She also will report to Chancellor Phillip L. Clay on matters of graduate education policy.
"Alice Gast has an ideal background, interests and skills to foster interdisciplinary research at MIT," said MIT President Charles M. Vest. "Her own work has been at the interface of science and engineering, and she has thought deeply about how to create supportive environments and facilities for faculty who want to pursue research and education that cross traditional boundaries. I very much look forward to working with her. "
Professor Gast, who joined the Stanford faculty in 1985 after earning the PhD from Princeton University, is an expert on complex fluids and colloids. Her research explores the frontiers of the chemical physics of colloidal and polymer solutions, polymer adsorption and most recently proteins, using experimental scattering methods and statistical mechanics.
She has been a notably effective teacher at Stanford and is the co-author of a classic textbook on colloid and surface phenomena. Her achievements have been recognized with an array of honors, including a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award and the Allan P. Colburn Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. She was elected to the National Academy of Engineering this spring.
Professor Gast was the valedictorian of the class of 1980 at the University of Southern California when she received the BSc in chemical engineering. She went on to earn an MA (1981) and PhD (1984) from Princeton. Professor Gast is a member of The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Physical Society.