Baillieul, Meller Win Inaugural Faculty Awards

The College of Engineering has established two new annual awards to recognize faculty members engaged in high-impact research. Dean Kenneth Lutchen announced that Professor John Baillieul (AME) has been awarded the first Distinguished Lecturer Series Award, and Associate Professor Amit Meller (BME) is the inaugural Early Career Research Excellence Award winner.

The annual Distinguished Lectures Series Award honors a faculty member engaged in outstanding, high-impact research. The award allows the selected faculty member a public forum to discuss and showcase research before the Boston University academic community.

Baillieul will present the inaugural lecture, “Control Theory, Networks and Life Itself,” on Wednesday, March 5 at 4 p.m. in the Life Sciences and Engineering Building.

A member of the Boston University community since 1985, Baillieul has held numerous positions within the College of Engineering. He holds professorial appointments in three departments: AME, ECE and MFG. He served as chairman of AME from 1992 to 1993 and from 1999 to 2006, and chairman of MFG from 1994 to 1999. He served as associate dean of Academic Programs from 1993 to 1996.

Baillieul’s research deals with robotics, control of mechanical systems and mathematical system theory. He is a sought-after public speaker and has served as editor-in-chief of journals including IEEE Control Systems Society, IEEE Transactions of Automatic Control, Society for Industrial and the Applied Mathematics and the Siam Journal for Control Optimization. He serves as IEEE’s vice president of publication services and products.

“John is a towering figure and one of the most influential intellects recognized both nationally and internationally in the systems and control field,” Professor Hua Weng (AME) said in recommending Baillieul for the honor. “John’s academic and professional achievements have been recognized by his peers in the highest forms.”

The annual Excellence in Research Award celebrates the significant, recent and high-impact research accomplishments of tenure-track ENG faculty who are within 10 years of their PhD.

Amit Meller joined the BME Department in 2006. His research has focused on advances in the use of nanopore technology and biophysical problems including rapid, inexpensive DNA sequencing, RNA folding kinetics and genetic regulation. His work with Associate Professor Zhiping Weng (BME), funded by a $2.2 million National Institutes of Health grant, is aimed at reducing the cost of genome sequencing.

Meller is an active member of the ENG Graduate Committee, the faculty director of the Shared Instrumentation Facilities and part of the University-wide biointerfaces initiative.

A fellow of the London’s Institute of Physics, Meller was the 2004 winner of the Nano-Innovations Award by the Physik Instrumente in Germany.

“Amit has played an integral service role in the BME Department,” said Professor Solomon Eisenberg (BME), the College’s associate dean for Undergraduate Programs. “As the first Early Career Research Excellence award winner, he has sent the bar very high in terms of the level of research achievements and general good citizenship that this award was designed to recognize.”