Current Recipient

Grinstaff Professor Mark Grinstaff

Professor Mark Grinstaff

Professor Mark Grinstaff (BME, MSE, Chemistry) will present the 2015 Charles DeLisi Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, April 2 at 4 p.m. in the Photonics Colloquium Room (PHO 906). The Charles DeLisi Award and Lecture recognizes faculty members with extraordinary records of well-cited scholarship, senior leaders in industry and extraordinary entrepreneurs who have invented and mentored transformative technologies that impact our quality of life, and provides the recipient with a public forum to discuss his or her work before the Boston University academic community and the general public.

For two decades, Grinstaff has pursued highly interdisciplinary research aimed at elucidating underlying fundamental chemistry and engineering principles, and applying them to develop new materials and devices for clinical applications. Supported by the Grinstaff Group, a lab with more than 20 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, Advanced Energy Consortium, the Center for Integration of Medicine & Innovative Technology, and other agencies, he has advanced several major biomaterials that range from a joint lubricant that could bring longer- lasting relief to millions of osteoarthritis sufferers, to a highly absorbent hydrogel that not only seals wounds, but can later be dissolved and gently removed.

He has co-founded three companies to translate some of his ideas into clinical products. The first, Hyperbranch Medical Technology, produces biodegradable surgical sealants that are already widely used by surgeons. The others, advancing products that have not yet completed clinical trials, are Acuity Bio (flexible films to prevent tumor recurrence after surgical resection) and Affinergy (leading edge assays and research tools aimed at improving scientific and diagnostic outcomes).

Grinstaff has published more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts, garnered more than 10,000 citations, filed more than 200 patents, and delivered more than 275 oral presentations. His students and fellows have given more than 125 oral presentations and 350 posters at national and international meetings. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nanomedicine, American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering, and National Academy of Inventors. His numerous awards include the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award, NSF Career Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, and Edward M. Kennedy Award for Health Care Innovation. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology.

At BU Grinstaff directs the Center for Nanoscience and Nanobiotechnology (CNN) and NIH-funded Translational Research in Biomaterials program, and is the inaugural College of Engineering Distinguished Professor of Translational Research and inaugural recipient of the Innovator of the Year Award from BU’s Office of Technology Development. He was also named a College of Engineering Distinguished Faculty Fellow and a Kern Faculty Fellow.

Past Recipients

2014: Professor Christos Cassandras

A member of the BU faculty since 1996, head of the College's Division of Systems Engineering and cofounder of BU's Center for Information and Systems Engineering (CISE), Christos Cassandras is the recipient of the College's 2014 Distinguished Scholar Award, honoring senior faculty members who have helped move their field and society forward through outstanding, high-impact research.

"I am honored to be selected as the 2014 College of Engineering Distinguished Lecturer," said Cassandras, who also specializes in hybrid systems, stochastic optimization and computer simulation. "I have always enjoyed research which involves new, relatively unexplored areas and unusual ways to tackle 'real world' problems, from contributing to the establishment of the field of discrete event dynamic systems to envisioning new ways to design and manage complex systems such as 'smart cities.'"

In conjunction with his award, Cassandras delivered a public lecture, "Complexity Made Simple (at a Small Price)," ( highlighting methods he's developed to solve difficult problems by exploiting their specific structure, asking the "right" questions and challenging some conventional engineering approaches - and showing how these methods have resulted in energy savings, enhanced security and other benefits.

Cassandras has published five books and more than 300 refereed papers; was editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control from 1998 through 2009; and the 2012 president of the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS). He has chaired several technical conferences and served as plenary speaker at various international conferences, including the American Control Conference in 2001 and the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control in 2002, and Distinguished Lecturer for the CSS.

2013: Professor Thomas Bifano

Professor Thomas Bifano’s research focuses on the design and manufacture of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) in optical applications. For more than a decade, Bifano has developed deformable mirrors that are widely used to compensate for optical aberrations in telescopes and microscopes. His “adaptive optics” technique uses MEMS technology—electrostatic actuators and flexible layers of silicon—to shape the mirrors precisely and to bring images of everything from cells to planets into sharper focus.

In collaboration with Joslin Diabetes Center, Bifano recently developed a prototype scanning laser ophthalmoscope that uses deformable mirrors to compensate for optical aberrations of the eye, yielding unprecedented cell-scale, in vivo images of the retina to track disease progression and evaluate the effectiveness of clinical treatments.

In his public lecture scheduled for the spring semester, “Shaping Light: BU Deformable Mirrors Untwinkling the Stars and Deblurring our Eyes,” Bifano will describe his efforts at BU and at Boston Micromachines Corporation (as founder and CTO) to design, fabricate and control MEMS deformable mirrors (DM) for adaptive optics applications, particularly those related to telescopes and retinal imaging systems.

“MEMS-DM research offers the rare opportunity to introduce technology that is both more economical and more capable than the state-of-the-art,” he said.

Bifano has served as a BU professor of mechanical engineering for 25 years, chair of the Manufacturing Engineering Department from 1999-2006, and chair of the University Research Council from 2008-2011. He also directs the Boston University Photonics Center, where since 2006 he has led programs for education, research and development of advanced photonic device prototypes for commercial and military applications.

A member of the U.S. Army Science Board, he has served as conference technical session chair for five professional societies; member of the Board of Directors of the American Society for Precision Engineering; and associate editor of International Journal of Manufacturing Science and Production and Society of Manufacturing Engineers Journal of Manufacturing Processes. He has authored or co-authored more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference publications.

“His summary article, ‘Adaptive Imaging: MEMS Deformable Mirrors,’ which appeared in Nature Photonics in 2010, serves to underscore his position as an international leader in this field,” said Mechanical Engineering Chair and Professor Ronald Roy. “Tom is a courageous intellect, and his ability to transition fundamental research into useful and widely used technologies is reflected in his five patents, his two R&D 100 Awards (2007 and 2010) and the 2009 Bepi Colombo Prize for his work in ‘micro-deformable mirrors for astronomical telescopes.’”

2012: Professor H. Steven Colburn

Professor H. Steven Colburn, founder and director of the Boston University Hearing Research Center, is the 2012 Distinguished Scholar award recipient. He will present the lecture “Information Processing in the Binaural Auditory System” on March 22, 2012.

As a member of the Boston University College of Engineering faculty for more than 30 years and associate chair for undergraduate studies, he chaired the Biomedical Engineering Department throughout the 1980s and was named BME Professor of the Year in 2002, 2006 and 2008.

Colburn’s research exploits experimental data and mathematical modeling tools to gain deep understanding of the auditory system. Much of his work aims to develop an integrated representation of binaural interaction and its role in human sound perception, including the interpretation of acoustic cues in complex sound environments.

A Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and recipient of the Acoustical Society of America Silver Medal and Javitz Neuroscience Award, Colburn has written widely in the past 40 years on challenges faced by the binaural system in complex acoustic environments, and on issues associated with hearing impairments and hearing aids, including cochlear implants.

“His body of work has had a profound influence on the criteria employed to define what it means to be a serious auditory scientist today,” said Solomon Eisenberg, professor and chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department.

In addition to Colburn’s outstanding direct contributions to auditory science, he has made enormous indirect contributions in both teaching and administrative roles. His devotion to students and his excellence as a teacher are evidenced by his superior work as housemaster while serving as a faculty member in MIT’s Electrical Engineering Department; the many teaching awards he has received at BU; the great warmth shown to him by all of his students; and the substantial contributions these students have themselves made to auditory science.

Presenting On

“Information Processing in the Binaural Auditory System”

Abstract | Event Poster

2011: Professor Theordore D. Moustakas


Dr. Moustakas is the Associate Head, Division of Materials Science and Engineering and has been a Professor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Boston University since 1987 and Professor of Physics since 1991. He received the B.S. degree in Physics from Aristotle University (Greece) and the Ph.D. degree in Solid State Science and Engineering from Columbia University. Prior to joining Boston University he worked at Harvard University as a Research Fellow and Exxon Research Corporate Research Laboratories as a Senior Scientist.

Dr. Moustakas' research contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics in opto-electronic materials and devices, including nitride semiconductors, amorphous semiconductors and diamond thin films. He is the co-editor of eight books, including Gallium Nitride I (Academic Press, 1998) and Gallium Nitride II (Academic Press, 1999) and the author of more than 300 publications. He has been granted 25 U.S. patents. Intellectual property that resulted from his work has been licensed to a number of companies, including major manufactures of blue LEDs and lasers (Cree and Philips-LumiLeds in United States and Nichia in Japan)

Dr. Moustakas was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1994 and of the Electrochemical Society in 1997. In 2003 he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the Aristotle University for "outstanding contributions to research and teaching". In 2010 he was awarded the MBE Innovator Award for "pioneering contributions in the development of MBE growth of nitride materials and the development of nitride optoelectronic devices prepared by MBE".

Presenting On


Abstract | Event Poster

Distinguished LEcture Series

College of Engineering 2011 Distinguished Scholar Theodore Moustakas, renowned expert on nitride semiconductors and their applications, speaks on the fabrication of nitride semiconductors for high-performance LEDs used in solid-state lighting and water/air purification. Hosted by the College of Engineering (ENG) on March 3, 2011.

2010: Professor Irving J. Bigio

2009: Professor Malvin Carl Teich

2008: Professor John Baillieul