Brown Engineering faculty appointed to named chairs by Corporation

During the May meetings of the Corporation of Brown University, a wide variety of topics related to academic excellence and strategic planning were discussed in committees and meetings of the whole, including the approval of the appointment of faculty to named chairs.

Five Brown Engineering faculty were among those honored, including  Banu Özkazanç-Pan (Barrett Hazeltine Associate Professor of the Practice of Engineering); Anita Shukla (Elaine I. Savage Associate Professor of Engineering); Kimani Toussaint (Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Professor of Science); Monica Martinez Wilhelmus (Thomas J. and Alice M. Tisch Assistant Professor of Engineering); and Roberto Zenit (Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence in Engineering).

Banu Özkazanç-PanÖzkazanç-Pan was named the Barrett Hazeltine Associate Professor of the Practice of Engineering, succeeding Jennifer Nazareno who was appointed interim associate dean for academic affairs and innovation at the University’s School of Professional Studies. Özkazanç-Pan also serves as Academic Director of the IE Brown EMBA program and is the Founder and Director of the Venture Capital Inclusion Lab at the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship. The Lab focuses on understanding and solving funding inequities in the VC industry through data-driven research, education and advocacy. Her research interests focus on diversity and inclusion in technology and innovation ecosystems as well as in entrepreneurial ecosystems nationally and globally. Her research on networks in technology incubators and accelerators demonstrates how the benefits of social networks in such contexts may not benefit women entrepreneurs and how such organizations may end up playing a gatekeeping role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Özkazanç-Pan’s teaching credits include undergraduate level courses on leadership in organizations, building entrepreneurial ecosystems, and tech entrepreneurship.  

Anita ShuklaShukla has been named the second holder of the endowed chair made possible with the generous support of multiple donors and named in honor of Elaine Savage Sc.M. '74 Ph.D. '76, who is the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in engineering from Brown. An associate professor, Shukla’s teaching includes courses on biomaterials, transport and biotransport processes, nanoengineering and nanomedicine, and recent advances in biomedical engineering. Her research focuses on designing responsive and targeted biomaterials for applications in drug delivery and regenerative medicine. She is a recipient of a Dr. Ralph and Marian Falk Medical Research Trust Transformational Award, a $1 million grant intended to provide the bridge to the technology transfer process for moving an exciting health care innovation to the next step in commercial development.  She is the recipient of several national and university honors and awards for both her research and teaching, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, an Office of Naval Research Director of Research Early Career Grant, and a Brown University Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

Kimani ToussaintToussaint, a professor and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Strategic Initiatives in the School of Engineering, was recently named Director of the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health. Toussaint teaches courses in electrical circuits and signals, and optical microscopy, and directs the laboratory for Photonics Research of Bio/nano Environments (PROBE lab). His research interests include innovations around health diagnostic technologies that can be brought to every home, and the development of novel optical physiological sensors that work equitably for all populations. His work on equitable pulse oximetry has been featured in several popular press and media outlets including CNN, NPR, STAT+, NBC News Now, and Forbes. Established in the early 1970s, the Watson chair at Brown was long held by physicist and Nobel Laureate Leon Cooper.

Monica Martinez WilhelmusMartinez Wilhelmus, named a Thomas J. and Alice M. Tisch Assistant Professor of Engineering, teaches both undergraduate and graduate level classes in vibrations of mechanical systems, as well as fluid mechanics. The Thomas J. and Alice M. Tisch junior faculty chair is named after the alumnus and former chancellor of Brown and his wife. Martinez Wilhelmus’ research combines experimental techniques and numerical analyses to understand transport phenomena within the intersection of biology, oceanography, and fluid mechanics, in order to bridge gaps in environmental science. She is a member of the American Physical Society, and the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, and an affiliated scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Roberto ZenitThe Royce Professorships were established to foster, promote, and reward teaching of the highest quality at Brown University. Royce Professorships are selected from all academic divisions of the University and are appointed for three-year terms. Zenit has been at Brown since the fall of 2019, after serving 19 years on faculty at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and as a researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones en Materiales. He has worked in a wide variety of subjects in fluid mechanics, including multiphase and granular flows, biological flows, rheology, and more recently, the fluid mechanics of art history. He teaches courses at Brown on fluid mechanics, two phase flows, complex fluids: non-newtonian fluid mechanics, and most recently introduced a popular new course, art fluids engineering.