Georgia Tech Professor Honored with NAE Award

Professor Robert Nerem to receive Founders Award

During its 2008 annual meeting, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will present two awards for extraordinary impacts on the engineering profession. NAE's Founders Award will be given to Robert M. Nerem, who has made important contributions to the field of bioengineering. G. Wayne Clough will receive the Arthur M. Bueche Award for leadership in science, technology, and engineering policy. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 5.

Nerem is an NAE member and professor and director of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He will receive the Founders Award for 'seminal research on fluid mechanics and atherogenesis, being a pioneer in the field of tissue engineering, founder of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and his leadership in engineering nationally and internationally.' The award recognizes outstanding professional, educational, and personal achievement to the benefit of society, and it includes $2,500 and a gold medallion.

Nerem began his career in the 1960s and 1970s making important contributions to aeronautical engineering while he worked as professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering and associate dean of the graduate school at the Ohio State University. During this time, he became a leader in the developing field of bioengineering, using his background in fluid dynamics to advance heart and blood vessel research. Nerem discovered how fluid dynamics can be used to understand the location in blood vessels of lesions that are associated with atherosclerosis, a major component of heart disease.

From 1979 to 1986, Nerem was professor and chair of the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston-University Park. In 1987, he took his expertise to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he continues to serve in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. Here Nerem's research focused on tissue engineering - the use of a combination of cells, engineering, and materials to produce implants with biological function - and he was among the first researchers to produce engineered blood vessels in the laboratory with the ultimate goal being to replace damaged arteries. He also has been instrumental in studying the role of stem cells in vascular tissue regeneration.

Nerem provided the leadership that allowed bioengineering to develop in concert with other engineering disciplines, and this led to the formation of the joint Department of Biomedical Engineering between Georgia Tech and Emory University. He has been the director of the Georgia Tech-Emory Center for the Engineering of Living Tissues since its inception in 1998. The center is an Engineering Research Center sponsored by the National Science Foundation and was the first federally-funded center for tissue engineering. It has since evolved to focus on regenerative medicine and stem cell technology.

Nerem was the primary influence in the formation of AIMBE, the public policy voice for the bioengineering discipline, and served as founding president from 1992 to 1994. AIMBE holds workshops and stakeholder meetings to gather information and provide recommendations on important legislation -- such as the Biomaterials Access Assurance Act of 1998 -- and for creation of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health.

In addition to being a member of the NAE (1988), Nerem was also elected to the Institute of Medicine in 1992. He has served on dozens of advisory boards in the service of academia and government and has contributed services to many government and private research funding agencies. He is the author of more than 200 publications and has been awarded numerous honors in recognition of his achievements. He received a Ph.D. in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the Ohio State University in 1964.

G. Wayne Clough, a member of the NAE and secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, will be presented the Arthur M. Bueche Award for 'outstanding accomplishments advancing civil engineering and higher education, and for leadership at the local, state, and national level in policy analysis and advisory roles.' He will receive $2,500 and a gold medallion in recognition of his statesmanship in U.S. public policy on technology, and for promoting ties among academia, industry, and government.

Clough's early career was marked by successes in research and teaching. He held posts at Duke and Stanford Universities; served as head of the civil engineering department and dean of the college of engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; and was provost for academic affairs at the University of Washington. He has received nine awards for his work in research and teaching from the American Society of Civil Engineers, including the 2004 Outstanding Projects and Leaders Award for lifetime contributions to higher education.

In 1994, Clough was named president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, his alma mater. During his tenure at Georgia Tech, he transformed the university from a good regional engineering school to an internationally preeminent science, engineering, and technology institute. The undergraduate engineering program grew to have the largest enrollment in the country and he increased research expenditures and private gifts to the university as a whole. Georgia Tech is consistently ranked among the top 10 on US News and World Report's annual list of the best colleges and universities.

Clough is widely recognized for his ability to turn engineering expertise into policy recommendations. In 2001, Clough was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST). In addition, Clough was appointed by President Bush in 2004 to the National Science Board, becoming the only individual to have ever served simultaneously on both bodies.

Since 1997, Clough has served on the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, and while on its executive committee, co-chaired the Council's National Innovation Initiative (NII). Many recommendations from PCAST and NII during his time of service were reflected in the National Academies' report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, which contributed to President Bush's decision to create the American Competitiveness Initiative in an effort to increase research and development investments.

At the local level, he has been appointed by two governors to chair two separate task forces that provide technical advice to the state of Georgia, and was appointed by the mayor of Atlanta to form a panel advising the city on water issues. He was instrumental in preparing Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics and readying the Georgia Tech campus to serve as the Olympic Village.

Clough has served on several advisory committees and has served as a consulting board member for 18 major civil engineering projects. He has authored more than 130 papers and reports. He received a Ph.D. in civil engineering in 1969 from the University of California, Berkeley.

The National Academy of Engineering is a private, nonprofit institution that provides technology advice under a congressional charter. NAE also salutes leaders in engineering for their lifetime dedication to the field, and their commitment to advancing the society through great achievements. NAE dedicates more than $1 million annually to recognize these leaders, and to bring better understanding of engineering's importance to society. In addition to the Founders and Bueche awards, NAE presents the Charles Stark Draper Prize, the Frit J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize, and the Bernard M. Gordon Prize. For more information about these awards, please contact Deborah Young, NAE awards administrator, at 202-334-1266, or visit the NAE Web site at