Three CoE Faculty Named to NAE

February 5, 2015

College of Engineering faculty members Deepak Divan, Vigor Yang and Ajit P. Yoganathan were recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

Divan is a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Vigor Yang is the chair and William R.T. Oakes professor in the School of Aerospace Engineering; and Ajit P. Yoganathan is a Regents professor, Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biomedical Engineering, and associate chair for research in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. The professors were among the 67 new members and 12 foreign associates elected.

Election to NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

“Deepak, Vigor and Ajit have made exceptional contributions to their fields and to Georgia Tech,” said Gary S. May, dean of the College of Engineering. “This is a tremendous honor for these outstanding and deserving researchers. We are honored to have them as part of our engineering faculty.”

Divan was recognized by the NAE for “design and commercialization of advanced power conversion technologies for improved quality and controllability of the power grid.” He obtained his bachelors of technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1975, and his master's and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Calgary in 1979 and 1983, respectively.

"During his 30-year career, Deepak has made seminal contributions in the electrical energy arena and has been incredibly successful in commercializing technologies that have come out of his research," said Steven W. McLaughlin, professor and Steve W. Chaddick School Chair in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "I am thrilled that Deepak has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering; he is very deserving of this honor."

He joined Georgia Tech in 2004 to create a strong program in the application of power electronics and related technologies to power systems and demanding defense and industrial applications. He has 40 issued and pending patents and has published about 250 technical papers, including more than 12 prize papers. Most recently he has been president, chief technical officer, and co-founder of Varentec, Inc., a company that builds power management and monitoring solutions for the electric grid.

NAE recognized Yang for his “contributions to combustion physics in propulsion systems and to aerospace engineering education.” Yang received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1984.  Following a year as research fellow in jet propulsion at Caltech, he joined the Pennsylvania State University in 1985, becoming the John L. and Genevieve H. Chair in Engineering in 2006.  He joined Georgia Tech as the aerospace engineering school chair in January 2009.

“Vigor is a world-class scholar and a gifted teacher. He has raised a generation of student researchers who have gone on to be highly successful in industry and academia,” said Lakshmi Sankar, Regents Professor and associate chair for undergraduate programs in the School of Aerospace Engineering. “His innovations are in wide use within industries and government labs. This is a well-deserved, long overdue recognition of all he has done for our nation and our field.” 

Yang’s research encompasses a wide spectrum of topics, including combustion instabilities in propulsion systems, chemically reacting flows in air-breathing and rocket engines, combustion of energetic materials, high-pressure transport phenomena and combustion, active control of gas-turbine combustion dynamics, and nanotechnologies for propulsion and energetic applications. He has established, as the principal or co-principal investigator, more than 68 research projects dealing with fluid dynamics and combustion in aerospace propulsion and power systems. 

Yoganathan was elected for his contributions to “improvements in the biomechanics of prosthetic heart valves and the development of heart repair devices.” He came to Georgia Tech in 1979, and his research deals with experimental and computational fluid mechanics as it pertains to artificial heart valves, left and right sides of the heart, and congenital heart diseases. His work involves the use of laser Doppler velocimetry, digital particle image velocimetry, Doppler ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging to non-invasively study and quantify blood flow patterns in the cardiovascular system.

“Ajit is one of the finest scholars in the field of biomedical engineering. The impact he has had in combining mathematical modeling with experimental validation on improving heart valve performance can be measured only by our ability to measure the value of saved lives,” said Ravi Bellamkonda, chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. “I am proud of his career. His continued translational efforts and his transparent passion to invent better cardiovascular therapies represent the very best that GT/Emory BME and Georgia Tech as a whole have to offer.

Yoganathan has published more than 250 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters in leading biomedical journals and books. He received the H.R. Lissner award, for his contributions to the field of bioengineering, in 1997 from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In 2004 he was appointed to the prestigious Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Chair in Biomedical Engineering. In 2005 he was awarded the Theo Pilkington award, for his contributions to biomedical engineering education, by the American Society of Engineering Education.

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