Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
Mary Boyce, the Gail E. Kendall Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been named the next head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering effective July 1, School of Engineering Dean Subra Suresh announced this week.
Boyce, who received her bachelor's degree from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and her master's and doctoral degrees from MIT, is renowned for her research in the mechanics of polymers, networks and soft tissues and for her dedication to engineering education. The impact of her research has been recognized through the many awards she has received, which include election as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Academy of Mechanics.
For her innovation in education she was named a MacVicar Fellow and received the Joseph H. Keenan Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education. She has served MIT and her professional field in numerous capacities, including chair of the Executive Committee for Applied Mechanics at ASME, membership on the U.S. National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and the editorial board of the Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids.
Although women have served as associate department heads in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Boyce will be the first woman department head in MIT's School of Engineering.
"I am confident we will all benefit from her energy, her insight and her dedication to engineering education and the engineering profession," Suresh said.
The dean thanked the faculty advisory committee, chaired by Roger Kamm, Germeshausen Professor of Mechanical and Biological Engineering. Other members of the panel included professors Gang Chen, Martin Culpepper, Carol Livermore, Tony Patera, Nick Patrikalakis, Ian Waitz and Kamal Youcef-Toumi.
Suresh also thanked Rohan Abeyaratne, Quentin Berg (1937) Professor in Mechanical Engineering, for his "extraordinary and dedicated service" as head of mechanical engineering since 2001, and as associate head, a position he held for four years before becoming department head.
"I hope and expect to have an opportunity in the near future to thank Rohan more formally and to elaborate on his contributions," Suresh said. "I look forward to a continued and close collaboration with him."