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College of Engineering Welcomes Three Accomplished New Faculty Members

Professor Nianqiang (Nick) Wu

Nianqiang (Nick) Wu

Cathal Kearney (top) and Meghan Huber (bottom)

Cathal Kearney (top) and Meghan Huber (bottom)

The College of Engineering welcomes three exciting new faculty members, beginning in the spring semester of 2020: Professor Nianqiang (Nick) Wu, who will serve as the Armstrong-Siadat Endowed Professor in the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department; Assistant Professor Cathal Kearney in the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department; and Assistant Professor Meghan Huber in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department.

Professor Wu comes to UMass from West Virginia University (WVU), where he has been a professor and held the George B. Berry Endowed Chair Professorship in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. His research interest lies in: biosensing and photodynamic therapy (precision medicine); photocatalysts and photoelectrochemical cells for environmental and energy sustainability; and electrochemical energy storage. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and other funding agencies. He has authored or co-authored more than 180 journal articles. One of his papers was cited more than 2,800 times in a single year (2019), and he has achieved a total citation count of more than 20,000 throughout his career with an H-index of 65. Among many other accomplishments, Professor Wu was identified in the Highly Cited Researchers list by Clarivate Analytics (Thomson Reuters) in 2018 and 2019.  He is a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He earned his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at Zhejiang University in China.

Dr. Kearney comes to UMass as an assistant professor, and his research theme focus on precise control of therapeutic delivery, the effects of therapeutic timing on efficacy, and integration of these systems within biomaterial scaffolds. Previously, he was a senior lecturer in the Department of Anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) in Ireland, having joined RCSI in 2014. Before that, he undertook his Ph.D. training as a Fulbright Scholar through the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, where his research work focused on the use of a non-invasive, acoustic, shock-wave device to stimulate periosteal cell proliferation and the subsequent use of these cells for bone tissue engineering. He spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and the Wyss Institute with the goal of developing systems that could more precisely control cell behavior. His primary focus was on the development and application of an ultrasound-responsive, alginate-based system for the on-demand delivery of bioactive agents. In addition, he worked on several other drug delivery systems, with a particular emphasis on therapeutic delivery for tissue engineering.

Professor Huber comes to the MIE department after her postdoc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the principal investigator at the Human Robot Systems (HRS) Laboratory, where her mission is to advance how humans and robots learn to guide the physical interactive behavior of one another. “To achieve this,” she says, “our research aims to: develop new methods of describing human motor behavior that are compatible for robot control; understand and improve how humans learn models of robot behavior; and develop robot controllers that are compatible for human-robot physical collaboration. Huber’s interdisciplinary research lies at the intersection of robotics, dynamics, controls, human neuroscience, and biomechanics. She earned her B.S. at Rutgers University, her M.S. at the University of Texas at Dallas, and her Ph.D. at Northeastern University. (January 2020)

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