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Each year, the Design Automation Conference names the top five young, global innovators in the field of electronic design automation. Douglas Densmore, a College of Engineering associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, became one of two academic researchers to receive the honor in 2017. Densmore, a Kern Faculty Fellow and a research fellow at BU’s Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering, is also a founding member of the BU Biological Design Center and director of the Cross-Disciplinary Integration of Design Automation Research (CIDAR) group at Boston University.

Densmore’s work has earned him a reputation as a dedicated, influential researcher in the design automation community. He is widely recognized for his work making tools to help create computation in living cells, and his research is far-reaching, with applications in biosensors, biomaterials, and biomedicine. It uses methods from the area of semiconductor research for electronic computing.

DAC’s Under 40 Innovators Award recognizes design automation innovators in industry, research labs, startups, and academia who have made outstanding contributions to the discipline and society. These contributions can include commercial products, software, or hardware systems and algorithms.

The Under 40 Innovator award excites Densmore—who has participated in DAC since 2002for its potential to bring engineering disciplines together. “The award highlights how applicable electrical and computer engineering concepts can be toward biomedical engineering areas like synthetic biology,” he says.

The award nomination came from Clem Karl, an ENG professor and chair of the electrical and computer engineering department, and four colleagues outside of Boston University: Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli (University of California, Berkeley), Luca Carloni (Columbia University), Soha Hassoun (Tufts University), and Dennis Sylvester (University of Michigan).

An accomplished researcher, Densmore holds numerous appointments and awards. He is head of the National Science Foundation’s Living Computing Project and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery. His accolades include the NSF CAREER Award, BU Ignition Award, and BU College of Engineering Early Career Excellence Award. He holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.