Chemical Engineers Named Fellows of AIMBE

Two chemical and biological engineering experts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have been elected fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

Professors Shekhar Garde and B. Wayne Bequette will be honored by the professional society later this month at the AIMBE annual conference in Washington. They join 11 other current and past Rensselaer faculty elected as fellows of the institute.

Elected by their peers, AIMBE fellows represent the top 2 percent of leaders and innovators in medical and biological engineering community, according to the organization. The AIMBE said its fellows are “considered the life-blood of AIMBE and work towards realizing AIMBE’s vision to provide medical and biological engineering innovation for the benefit of humanity.”

Shekhar Garde

Garde, an expert in molecular theory and simulations of bio- and nanosystems, is the Elaine S. and Jack S. Parker Professor at Rensselaer and head of the university’s Howard. P. Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE). His research focuses on understanding the role of water in biological structure and function, and he collaborates with researchers from a wide range of academic disciplines to further the fundamental understanding of molecular-scale processes that lie at the foundation of bio- and nanotechnologies.

Garde joined the School of Engineering at Rensselaer in 1999, and was named head of CBE in 2007. The author of 80 papers published in leading scientific journals, Garde’s work has been cited more than 5,000 times. He has received several awards for his research, including a prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the 2011 Robert W. Vaughan Lectureship at the California Institute of Technology.

Additionally, Garde is one of three executive producers of the Molecularium Project. Funded by the NSF and others, the Molecularium team has created two animated movies to teach young children about the world of atoms and molecules. The movies, Riding Snowflakes and Molecules to the MAX!, have won many awards and are currently playing in educational theaters around the world. The project’s NanoSpace website, an online science “theme park” featuring games, videos, and educational resources, won a “2013 Best of the Web” award from the Center for Digital Education.

Garde received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Bombay, and his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware.

B. Wayne Bequette

A professor in CBE, Bequette also serves as associate director of the Rensselaer Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS), where he is a member of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, a nonprofit organization involved in the development and deployment of Smart Manufacturing Systems. His research spans a wide range of topics, from biomedicine and healthcare to energy and sustainability.

Bequette is currently developing a closed-loop artificial pancreas for individuals with Type 1 diabetes. This system automatically adjusts an insulin infusion pump based on signals from a continuous glucose monitor. In addition to testing these prototypes in a clinical environment, more than 2,000 nights of in-home overnight studies have been conducted.

Bequette worked in industry prior to joining the Rensselaer faculty in 1988. He is the author of two textbooks, Process Control: Modeling, Design and Simulation (2003) and Process Dynamics: Modeling, Analysis and Simulation (1998), and has published more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. He is a founding member of the editorial board of the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, and is on the editorial board of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Bequette is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and he was inducted into the Arkansas Academy of Chemical Engineers. He has received several awards for his work, including the Rensselaer School of Engineering Research Excellence Award and the Jerome Fischbach Faculty Travel Award. Bequette received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and his doctoral degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas in Austin.