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Crossing disciplines, Kothare wins kudos

Mayuresh V. Kothare, the R. L. McCann Professor of Chemical Engineering, was cited by IEEE for his work with multivariable constrained control systems.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics  Engineers (IEEE) is the world’s largest professional association devoted to advancing technological innovation.

It is also one of the most selective organizations anywhere.

IEEE annually elevates fewer than 0.1 percent of its 400,000 worldwide members to the rank of fellow.

Mayuresh V. Kothare, one of 330 new fellows elected by IEEE’s board of directors in November, achieved a second distinction when he was chosen.

The R. L. McCann Professor of Chemical Engineering at Lehigh, Kothare is one of just two new IEEE fellows who are chemical engineers. He was cited by IEEE for “contributions to multivariable constrained control systems and model predictive control.”

Given his wide-ranging research interests, Kothare’s achievement in an association of electrical and electronics engineers is perhaps not surprising.

A short list of his interests includes microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), microchemical systems, microreactors, control of biomedical systems, neuroengineering and closed-loop neuroprosthetic systems.

Control systems for a variety of applications

The common theme to Kothare’s work is the development of control systems, which measure and respond to feedback, much as a heating system switches on a hot-air duct to raise room temperature if it has dropped too low.

“Control theory crosses many boundaries,” says Kothare, who joined the faculty in 1998. “It is common to electrical, aerospace, mechanical and chemical engineering and many other applications.”

Recently, Kothare and fellow chemical engineering professor Shivaji Sircar were one of three teams out of 50 to receive competitive awards from the University City Science Center in Philadelphia. The two researchers have filed a patent on a device that separates oxygen from ambient air for people with lung diseases. Their device is smaller and more energy-efficient than typical portable medical oxygen concentrators.

In another project, Kothare is collaborating with neurologists at Johns Hopkins University, where he serves as visiting professor of biomedical engineering. The group is seeking to improve brain-computer interface technology that helps patients regain control of functions lost to brain damage or disease.

Kothare has graduated 11 Ph.D. students. Three hold faculty positions, one on the U.S., on in the Netherlands and one in Kuwait. One, Leonidas Bleris, received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2006 and is now assistant professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering at the University of Texas in Dallas. Another student, Panos Vouzis, whom Kothare co-advised, earned a Ph.D. in computer science and is now a postdoctoral researcher in the chemical engineering department at Carnegie Mellon University.

Kothare’s national awards include the Outstanding Young Researcher Award from the Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the Ted Peterson Award from AIChE’s CAST division, and the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, as well as several awards from Lehigh.

He has served as associate editor of Automatica and the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, and was co-editor of a special issue of the Journal of Process Control that published papers from joint IFAC (International Federation of Automatic Control) conferences on Dynamics and Control of Process Systems and on Computer Applications in Biotechnology.

Last year, Kothare was appointed deputy editor-in-chief of IFAC PapersOnLine, an archive of all peer-reviewed conference proceedings sponsored by IFAC. He is the 2013 chair-elect of AIChE’s CAST division.


Story by Kurt Pfitzer

Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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