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Stanford Report, October 22, 2003

Ten promising faculty receive this year's Terman fellowships

BY RAY DELGADO

Ten scholars have been named the 2003-04 Frederick E. Terman Fellows and could receive up to $100,000 annually for three years to conduct their research.

The awards are given to promising young faculty in the schools of Engineering, Medicine, Earth Sciences, and Humanities and Sciences. To date, there have been 72 Terman Fellows named.

The program was launched in 1994 with a $25 million gift from alumni William R. Hewlett and David Packard, founders of the Hewlett-Packard Co. They endowed the fellowships as a tribute to Terman, who was university provost from 1955 to 1965 and whom they credit for much of their success, as well as Stanford's and Silicon Valley's.

This year's fellows and their research interests are:

School of Medicine

Matthew Bogyo, assistant professor in the Department of Pathology, joined the faculty in July and earned his Ph.D. in biological chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997. His area of research focuses on the application of chemistry to the study of complex biological processes associated with human disease. Bogyo and others in his laboratory are working on ways to interfere with protease activity as a strategy to develop new anti-malarial and anti-cancer therapeutics.

School of Engineering

Adrian Lew, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, joined the faculty in September after completing his Ph.D. in aeronautics at the California Institute of Technology in May. Lew's area of research focuses on simulating the response of materials and structures undergoing strong impacts or explosions. The research looks at fundamental atom-to-atom interactions with the hopes of predicting the collective behavior of millions of atoms, traditionally known as the "continuum" model.

Nicholas Melosh, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, joined the faculty in September and earned his Ph.D. at the University of California-Santa Barbara in 2001. Melosh's area of research will focus on the mechanisms by which biological systems create and regulate complex structural growth. He also hopes to develop a method in which molecules can be used as the active components in a circuit instead of silicon.

Heinz Pitsch, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, joined the faculty in 1999 and earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the Aachen University of Technology. With the aid of his new fellowship, Pitsch will extend his research interests to theoretical and computational combustion to create numerical simulations of combustion processes. It is hoped the research will lead to a better understanding of technical combustion systems, which will aid in the design and control of them.

School of Earth Sciences

Jef Caers, assistant professor of petroleum engineering, joined the faculty in April 1999 and earned his Ph.D. in engineering at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, in 1996. Caers' area of expertise is geostatistics, which is central to describing flow behavior in the heterogeneous rocks that hold oil, gas and water in the Earth's crust. His research will attempt to deliver practical methods, algorithms and software that are used in the industry to quantify, predict and manage the subsurface oil and gas reservoirs accounting for risk and uncertainty.

School of Humanities and Sciences

Brendan Bohannan, assistant professor of biological sciences, joined the faculty in September 1998 and received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1997. Bohannan is a microbial ecologist and evolutionary biologist whose research interests lie at the intersection of the disciplines of microbiology, ecology and evolution. He uses laboratory experiments with microorganisms to test the predictions of ecological and evolutionary theory, and he uses this theory to better understand microorganisms in their natural habitats.

Ian Fisher, assistant professor of applied physics, joined the faculty in September 2000 and received his Ph.D. in the field of superconductivity from the University of Cambridge in 1997. Fisher's research group is based in the Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials. He and his students work on the design, growth and characterization of new materials that have unconventional magnetic and electronic properties.

David Goldhaber-Gordon, assistant professor of physics, joined the faculty in September 2001 and received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999. Goldhaber-Gordon is a condensed matter physicist who is particularly interested in mesoscopic physics: the realm between the minuscule domain of atoms and the familiar macroscopic world. He studies small, confined electron systems that have quantum mechanical properties very different from those of bulk three-dimensional materials.

Dmitri Petrov, assistant professor of biological sciences, joined the faculty in June 2000 and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1997. Petrov is a molecular geneticist and a molecular evolutionist whose research focuses on the genetic forces that shape the diversity of genome architecture and function. This research has implications for understanding the history and function of genomes in various organisms, including our own.

Ravi Vakil, assistant professor in mathematics, joined the faculty in September 2001 and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1997. Vakil, a four-time Putnam Fellow, works in the general area of algebraic geometry. His research interests in moduli spaces are broad and interface with several major areas of mathematics, including combinatorics, group representation theory, symplectic geometry, string theory and topology.