Palmore and Toussaint named Senior Associate Deans

Tayhas Palmore, Elaine I. Savage Professor of Engineering, has been named the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Professor Kimani Toussaint has been appointed as the Senior Associate Dean for Research and Strategic Initiatives. Both positions start September 1, and are for three-year terms.

Palmore will help to provide strategic leadership, planning and guidance for academic affairs in the School of Engineering. Working with the dean’s leadership team, she will support academic planning, including curriculum planning, teaching assignments, new academic program planning, orienting new faculty, and supporting efforts to recognize faculty accomplishments for internal and external awards. 

“This important new role will be central to advancing a number of strategic priorities, including faculty recruitment, strengthening faculty diversity, providing greater support and mentorship for faculty, and enhancing our academic and curricular planning,” said Sorensen Family Dean of Engineering Tejal Desai. “Given Tayhas’ substantial knowledge, skills, and experience, she is especially well qualified for this position, and I look forward to collaborating with her.”

The Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will work on faculty hiring, as well as engage with planning on tenure and promotion cases. This role serves as a faculty liaison, and spearheads the strategic development of faculty, lecturer, adjunct, and Hibbitt and Hope Street postdoctoral fellows, including searches, appointments, re-appointments, promotions, retentions, teaching, sabbaticals, and leadership commitments. 

Palmore is an electrochemist/materials engineer specializing in materials for energy conversion and storage. Her research is focused on the discovery of new materials and device designs as they relate to the capture and conversion of carbon dioxide, sodium-ion batteries, biofuel cells, and quantum information processing in the human brain. Her research has been supported by both federal and private funding sources including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, DARPA, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Laboratory, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She is widely published in journals such as Advanced Materials, Chemistry of Materials, Biomaterials, Nature, and Science and holds ten patents based on her research.

Palmore’s teaching experience includes courses on engineering thermodynamics, soft materials, analytical methods of materials characterization, and organic chemistry. She received her Ph.D. in chemistry from MIT and was an NSF postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. She joined the Brown faculty in 2000 and co-founded the graduate program in biomedical engineering in 2002. She was the Grass Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in 2006. Recently, she was PI and Director of the NSF-sponsored Brown-Yale Center for Chemical Innovation: Center for the Capture and Conversion of Carbon Dioxide. She also served as PI and Director of ADVANCE at Brown.

Toussaint is currently the senior associate dean, and will remain a part of the senior leadership team but his new role will have a greater emphasis on research.

“Given the University’s plan to double research in the next five to seven years, this new senior role will be critical to the School’s success,” said Desai. “In the past year, Kimani has led several large scale grants, and brought faculty together from different fields for the Home Health Technologies ’32 workshops. We want to expand these types of interdisciplinary grants.”

In his new role, Touissant will provide leadership and vision in planning and implementing the School’s research agenda, including strengthening school-wide systems for the planning, preparation and implementation of proposals for major research initiatives and the attainment of research funding. He will provide guidance and resources to the faculty who are developing proposals for research and scholarly activities with a particular emphasis on facilitating interdisciplinary and large scale center and program project grants.

Toussaint directs the laboratory for Photonics Research of Bio/nano Environments (PROBE Lab), an interdisciplinary research group which focuses on both developing nonlinear optical imaging techniques for quantitative assessment of biological tissues, and novel methods for harnessing plasmonic nanostructures for light-driven control of matter. His research has been supported by a diverse array of federal and private funding sources including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. 

He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Boston University in 2004 for his work in quantum optics, and received an NSF minority postdoctoral fellowship in biology during his time at the University of Chicago before joining the faculty at Illinois in 2007.