Click on each recipient's name to view his portion of the tribute video.
Medicine - Joshua T. Mendell, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Joshua Mendell is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a Professor of Molecular Biology, a member of the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine and the Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Scholar in Cancer Research at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern). Dr. Mendell received a B.A. degree from Cornell University and M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Mendell was an Assistant Professor and later Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from 2004 to 2011. Dr. Mendell joined the faculty at UT Southwestern in 2011.
Dr. Mendell’s research group is focused on the regulation and function of noncoding RNAs in normal physiology and in diseases such as cancer. In particular, the Mendell laboratory at UT Southwestern has made major contributions to our understanding of the microRNA (miRNA) pathway. The Mendell lab has been at the forefront of defining miRNA functions in normal mammalian physiology and in cancer in vivo. Dr. Mendell’s research group provided one of the first demonstrations that miRNAs function as components of critical oncogenic and tumor suppressor pathways and that miRNAs represent potent and non-toxic anti-cancer therapeutic agents when delivered systemically. The Mendell lab has also used mouse models to demonstrate a critical role for specific miRNAs in wound healing. Dr. Mendell’s group has identified new mechanisms that control the production of miRNAs during development and in cancer cells. More recently, the Mendell lab has demonstrated that other types of noncoding RNAs, including long noncoding RNAs, similarly regulate cancer-relevant processes including genomic stability.
Dr. Mendell’s contributions have been recognized with several awards, including a March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Scholar Award in 2004, a Rita Allen Foundation Scholar Award in 2006, a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award in 2008, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist Award in 2009, and a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Recruitment of Rising Stars Award in 2011. Dr. Mendell received the Allan C. Davis Medal for the Outstanding Young Scientist in the State of Maryland in 2007 and the American Association for Cancer Research Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cancer Research in 2010.
Engineering - Andrea Alù, Ph.D.
Dr. Andrea Alù is an Associate Professor and the David & Doris Lybarger Endowed Faculty Fellow in Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is also the Chief Technology Officer of Silicon Audio RF Circulator, an Austin-based company commercializing magnetic-free isolators and circulators. He received the Laurea (magna cum laude), M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Roma Tre, Rome, Italy, in 2001, 2003 and 2007, respectively. From 2002 to 2008, he periodically worked at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he developed significant parts of his Ph.D. and postgraduate research. After spending one year as a postdoctoral research fellow at UPenn, in 2009 he joined the faculty of UT Austin. In 2015, he became a Royal Academy of Sciences Visiting Professor in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He is also a member of the Applied Research Laboratories and of the Wireless Networking and Communications Group at UT Austin.
He is the co-author of an edited book on optical antennas, over 300 papers in top scientific journals, over 450 conference papers, and over 20 book chapters. He has introduced seminal concepts in the areas of metamaterials and plasmonics, electromangetics, optics and photonics, radio-engineering and acoustics, and his results regularly appear in highly-cited scientific journals, including Science and Nature (over 13,000 citations until October 2015, h-index 53), and in the national and international press. Among his achievements, his group presented the first metamaterial invisibility cloak for 3D objects, and the first circulator for sound waves. He is regularly invited to deliver plenary and keynote talks at international conferences, including a TEDx talk with over 65,000 views. He served as Technical Program Committee Chair of Metamaterials’2013 and Metamaterials’2014 conferences, and is the current Technical Program Committee Chair for the upcoming 2016 Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation.
Dr. Alù is an IEEE Fellow, an Optical Society of America (OSA) Fellow, and American Physical Society (APS) Fellow, and a full member of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI), and serves as OSA Traveling Lecturer since 2010, as IEEE AP-S Distinguished Lecturer since 2014, and as the IEEE joint AP-S and MTT-S chapter for Central Texas. He is currently on the Editorial Board of Physical Review B, Scientific Reports, and Advanced Optical Materials, and serves as Associate Editor of four journals, including the IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters and Optics Express. He has guest-edited special issues for the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, the Journal of the Optical Society of America B, Optics Communications, Metamaterials and Sensors on a variety of topics involving metamaterials, plasmonics, optics and electromagnetic theory.
Over the last few years, Dr. Alù has received several prestigious awards and recognitions for his scientific production, including the National Science Foundation’s Alan T. Waterman Award in 2015, the United States' highest honorary award for scientists 35 years of age or younger in any field. He also received the OSA Adolph Lomb Medal in 2013, the URSI Issac Koga Gold Medal in 2011, the Franco Strazzabosco Award and Medal of Representation from the President of the Republic of Italy in 2013, the KNAW Visiting Professorship from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015, the International Union of Pure and and Applied Physics’ Young Scientist Prize in Optics in 2013, the IEEE MTT Outstanding Young Engineer Award in 2014, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) Early Career Investigator Award in 2012, the NSF CAREER award in 2010, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award in 2010, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Young Investigator Award in 2011, Young Scientist Awards from URSI General Assembly in 2005 and URSI Commission B in 2010, 2007 and 2004, as well as several other awards and recognitions.
Science - Alessio Figalli, Ph.D.
Dr. Alessio Figalli is a Full Professor and the R. L. Moore Chair Holder in the Department of Mathematics of The University of Texas at Austin.
He received his master's degree in mathematics from the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa in 2006, and in 2007 earned his doctorate in mathematics from the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon. In 2007, he was appointed Chargé de Recherche at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, then in 2008 he went to the École Polytechnique as Professeur Hadamard. In 2009, he moved to The University of Texas at Austin as Associate Professor and was promoted to Full Professor in 2011. Since 2013 he has held the R. L. Moore Chair.
Dr. Figalli’s research embraces several areas of mathematics, including partial differential equations, calculus of variations and geometric measure theory. These areas have applications to physics, biology, and economics. For instance, one of Dr. Figalli’s main focuses of research is the “optimal transport problem,” which states: given a distribution of mass, find the most efficient way to transport it from one place to another. This problem has important applications in economics, however, more recently, this problem has found new unexpected applications to other areas of mathematics, as well as biology and meteorology.
Dr. Figalli has authored more than 100 papers and has also published two books. His editorial duties include several international journals and he has organized important conferences in many places all around the world.
Among his many recognitions, he has been awarded the Harrington Faculty Fellowship in 2009, the Peccot-Vimont Prize of the Collège de France in 2011, the Prize of the European Mathematical Society in 2012, and the Stampacchia Medal in 2015. In addition, he has been an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2014.
Technology Innovation - Van N. Truskett, Ph.D.
Dr. Van Truskett is the Director of Jetting Technology for Canon Nanotechnologies, Inc. (CNT). Dr. Truskett received her Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University and B.S. from The University of Texas at Austin, with both degrees in chemical engineering. Her Ph.D. focused on the patterning of small particles using interfacial flows driven by surfactant enhanced Marangoni-Bénard instabilities. To this day, she is still working on patterning, but just on a much smaller length scale.
Previously, Dr. Truskett worked for an equipment manufacturing start-up called Molecular Imprints, Inc. (MII) for some 12 years. The semiconductor business of MII was acquired by Canon, Inc. of Japan in 2014 and is now known as Canon Nanotechnologies, Inc. Dr. Truskett developed multiple innovations in drop-on-demand (DOD) dispense methods to enable the production of MII’s and CNT’s industry-leading, high-resolution, low cost-of-ownership nanoimprint lithography systems for hard disk drives, semiconductors, and flat panel display applications. Jet and FlashTM Imprint Lithography has revolutionized the approach to making nanoscale patterns for these applications by making it possible to directly print features onto substrates. She has introduced over six novel jetting systems over the last 10 years, reducing the drop volume resolution from 200 pL to much less than 1 pL., while fulfilling the challenges associated with producing nanoimprint lithography tools. Her contribution covers not just the development of the printhead, but also the fluid delivery method to the printhead, the software and hardware integration to control the drop ejection, fluid pressure to the printhead, and the targeted pattern generated by coordinating the jetting nozzles.
Dr. Truskett has 71 patents (15 U.S. and 56 international). These patents not only constitute the company’s core jetting technology, but have guided the design and manufacture of every related part of MII’s and CNT’s nanoimprinting process. These patents underlie foundational jetting technologies for MII’s and CNT’s next generation of nanoimprint lithography tools. Dr. Truskett’s work has taken jetting technology from scholarship to practice in the U.S. and Asia, enabling a novel path for lower production costs for the semiconductor industry. Dr. Truskett is the recipient of the 2014 Industrial Research & Development Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.