Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
Angela M. Belcher, professor of materials science and engineering and biological engineering, has been awarded the Germeshausen Professorship for a five-year period effective Dec. 1, 2005.
Kenneth Germeshausen established the professorship in 1968 "to support MIT's strong interests in combining humanitarian advance with technological progress."
Germeshausen set up the fund to support one faculty member, but in the nearly 40 years since the professorship was established, his fund has been invested as part of MIT's endowment and its value has grown along with the overall stock market. The fund now produces enough income each year to support an additional professor.
Belcher thus joins Professor Roger Kamm of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Biological Engineering Division, the other holder of the Germeshausen Professorship.
The Germeshausen Foundation, through which Germeshausen made his gift to MIT, agreed recently to modify the terms of the Germeshausen Professorship in order to allow MIT to award this prestigious honor to more than one faculty member at a time. This change provides additional flexibility to MIT in the use of its resources and allows MIT to recognize additional faculty members for their commitment to world-class teaching and research.
Germeshausen was a member of the MIT Class of 1931. After graduation, he formed a partnership with Professor Harold E. "Doc" Edgerton to study high-speed photographic and stroboscopic techniques and their applications.
In 1934, they were joined by Herbert E. Grier of the Class of 1933, and together they went on to form EG&G, a technology company whose work was considered fundamental in the development of radar and other electronic technologies.
Germeshausen served as chairman of EG&G until his retirement in 1972.