The Frontiers of Engineering program brings together through 2-1/2 day meetings a select group of emerging engineering leaders from industry, academe, and government labs to discuss pioneering technical work and leading edge research in various engineering fields and industry sectors. The goal of the meetings is to introduce these outstanding engineers (ages 30-45) to each other, and through this interaction facilitate collaboration in engineering, the transfer of new techniques and approaches across fields, and establishment of contacts among the next generation of engineering leaders.


  • Anne Co
    Associate Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
    Ohio State University

    We study electrochemical reactions and design real-time analytical methods, new electrodes, and electrocatalyst materials for improving electrical storage and conversion devices such as batteries and fuel cells.

  • Baratunde Cola
    Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
    Georgia Tech

    I research optical rectenna (rectifying antenna) devices, breakthrough approaches for thermal energy harvesting, and the harvesting of ubiquitous RF energy to power the future of IoT devices.

    FOE helped me make professional connections for collaboration and community support that are required to be successful at the frontiers of research.

  • Lama Nachman
    Intel Labs

    My research focuses on creating contextually-aware experiences that understand users through sensing and sense-making and proactively act on that context to assist with many aspects of their lives.

    I found FOE to be really valuable because it exposed me to engineers from different backgrounds and technical fields that I wouldn’t have met in my usual circles and conferences. Getting a chance to network with these people and hearing about their research helped me expand my scope and think about new areas to explore.  

  • Chad Seidel
    Corona Environmental Consulting

    I serve the drinking water community by directing research to solve small water systems' challenges and providing treatment process engineering services to address contaminant issues.  

    The FOE program introduced me to incredible people tackling our world’s challenges with creative and thoughtful approaches. The relationships and knowledge gained will continue to grow for a lifetime.

  • Adrienne Stiff-Roberts
    Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
    Duke University

    I research techniques to integrate novel functions into organic-based films and devices that are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve otherwise.

    Presenting my research at the FOE symposium challenged me to think about my work from a new perspective so that I could share its excitement with people from vastly different research areas. The reflection required to accomplish this goal also clarified my own appreciation for the impact of my work. The opportunity to participate in such a gathering was invaluable, and I benefited as a researcher and a communicator.  

  • David Mascarenas
    Research and Development
    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    I perform research in structural health monitoring, video processing, human-machine interfaces, wearable computing, wireless sensor networks, and cyber-physical security. 

    The FOE program was very valuable for me in that it helped me form multiple collaborations with researchers in different fields that have resulted in new research directions we would not have otherwise pursued.  

  • Features

  • News + Events

    • December 14, 2017
      Konrad Kording (USFOE 2017) at the University of Pennsylvania is using cryptographic techniques to decode brain data to predict which direction monkeys will move their arms. The same cryptography-inspired technique could eventually be used to decode more complex patterns of muscle activation for use in prosthetic devices or even speech, to aid those with total paralysis.
    • December 11, 2017
      Stanford's Eric Pop (JAFOE 2014) is developing semiconductors just a few atoms thick for the next generation of feature-filled and energy-efficient electronics.
    • December 7, 2017
      Sheng Lin-Gibson (CAFOE 2011) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology describes the potential shift from the traditional paradigm of health care to one with greater focus on regenerative and curative treatments.
    • December 4, 2017
      MIT's Timothy Lu (CAFOE 2017) founded two companies spun off from his labwork that are looking to manipulate the bacteria in our bodies by adding or removing microbial agents to solve very different problems.
    • November 30, 2017
      NAE member Michael Strano (USFOE 2007) at MIT has developed sensors that when printed on leaves could tell farmers when to water crops.
    • November 17, 2017
      Virgin Orbit's Will Pomerantz (EU-US FOE 2017) founded the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program, which offers paid internships and executive-level mentorship to extraordinary undergraduate women seeking careers in aviation or space exploration. Application deadline is December 5.
    • November 13, 2017
      Pieter Abbeel (USFOE 2012) and his new startup Embodied Intelligence are intent on bringing a new level of robotic automation to the world’s factories, warehouses, and perhaps even homes, using an algorithmic method called reinforcement learning — a way for machines to learn tasks by extreme trial and error.
    • November 9, 2017
      Rice University's Matteo Pasquali (USFOE 2008) is developing fibers that when configured as wireless antennas can be as good as copper antennas but 20 times lighter. The strong, flexible, and conductive fibers could help engineers in streamlining materials for airplanes, spacecraft, and wrist-worn health monitors and clothing.
    • November 6, 2017
      Cornell's Robert Shepherd (USFOE 2016) has created a thin membrane that contorts into complex 3-D shapes — much like the shape-shifting skin of an octopus — that can inflate in seconds to the shapes of everyday objects, such as potted plants or a cluster of stones.
    • November 2, 2017
      Mechanical engineer Marcello Canova (CAFOE 2011) at Ohio State University won the regional qualifying competition and is heading for the 2018 Genoa World Pesto Championship, where he will employ a traditional mortar and pestle to go for the title.
    • October 30, 2017
      CalTech electrical engineer Azita Emami and chemical engineer Mikhail Shapiro, who both participated in USFOE 2017, have developed a technique which allows smart pills, aka capsule endoscopes, to be located in the body using magnetic fields.
    • October 23, 2017
      Duke University's Lingchong You (CAFOE 2017) demonstrated that bacteria can be programed to self-organize into a form that the cells themselves can transform into components of a working sensor. This approach could be attractive because tweaking growth instructions to create different shapes and patterns could be much cheaper and faster than casting the new dies or moulds needed for traditional manufacturing.
    • October 19, 2017
      Christopher Bowman (USFOE 2002) at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Arup Chakraborty at MIT were among the 70 regular members and 10 international members recently elected by National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.
    • October 16, 2017
      FOE alum Andrew Alleyne at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has been named a recipient of the 2017 Advocating for Women in Engineering Award. The award is presented by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and honors individuals who have demonstrated professional excellence in their chosen STEM fields and have proven to be advocates of women in engineering and SWE’s objectives.
    • October 12, 2017
      Emmanuel Candès (EU-US FOE 2010) at Stanford University was among the 24 individuals recently named as MacArthur Fellows. With applications in healthcare, digital photography, radar imaging, and wireless communications, the framework he developed holds promise for phase retrieval, a problem arising in many applications such as crystallography, diffraction imaging (X-ray), and astronomical instrumentation.
    • October 9, 2017
      FOE alum Shu Yang at the University of Pennsylvania is using a $100,000 grant from the Keck Futures Initiative—a project of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that supports forward-thinking, highly interdisciplinary collaborations—to develop a garment that gathers health information from its wearer through his or her sweat. Her team's nanotechnology-inspired yarn can be knitted like its conventional counterparts and could alert the wearer to potential adverse health indications, such as heat stroke.
    • October 5, 2017
      Cornell University's Jenny Sabin (USFOE 2017) collaborates across disciplines on architectural designs that can adapt and respond to environmental conditions. By exploring new ways to construct 3-D structures out of 2-D surfaces that can be manufactured and transported easily, they can achieve economy through saving materials for assembly and construction and efficiency of digital fabrication planning.
    • September 21, 2017
      At Carnegie Mellon University, FOE alumni Kathryn Whitehead and Alan Russell have created a packaged protein that survives digestion-like conditions and is easily transported across the intestinal barrier in a cell culture model, paving the way for oral alternatives to injectable medications.
    • September 18, 2017
      FOE alum Philip LeDuc at Carnegie Mellon University has taken a multidisciplinary approach to combining computational design search methods with biomechanical fundamentals to develop synthetic muscles for applications in regenerative medicine or robotics.
    • September 14, 2017
      FOE alum Dennis Hong at UCLA encourages his students to push the limits when building faster, stronger robots that do the three "D"s - work that is dirty, dull, or dangerous.
    • September 11, 2017
      FOE alum James Gregory at Ohio State University set world records for speed and longest out-and-back for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of any size, pending verification. With sustained average speeds of 147 mph over a 28-mile course, the 70-pound autonomous jet aircraft opens up new capabilities for applications such as rapid package delivery or search-and-rescue, where both high speed and long range are mission critical.
    • September 7, 2017
      Amanda Randles (USFOE 2017), Jenna Wiens (JAFOE 2016), Phillipa Gill (GAFOE 2015), Franziska Roesner (USFOE 2015), and Suchi Saria (USFOE 2017) are among the inspiring and creative innovators selected this year for working on the most important emerging technologies across a broad spectrum of engineering fields.
    • August 31, 2017
      NAE member and FOE alum John Rogers of Northwestern University is developing wireless biosensors that combine big data and artificial intelligence technologies to enable portable access to collection, storage, and analysis of health information, with particular applications in remote rural areas.
    • August 28, 2017
      FOE alum William Schneider at the University of Notre Dame is designing catalysts that can reduce nitrogen oxide emissions at lower exhaust temperatures, such as in congested urban driving and from future vehicles that operate more efficiently.
    • August 21, 2017
      Purdue University's Alina Alexeenko (USFOE 2015) is developing the FEMTA (Film-Evaporation MEMS Tunable Array) thruster that uses heaters to create water vapor, which flows into the vacuum of space through tiny capillaries. Such reductions in mass, volume, and power in micropropulsion technologies may one day integrate with small spacecraft.
    • August 17, 2017
      Georgia Tech's Zhiqun Lin (USFOE 2010) is using a meniscus-assisted solution printing (MASP) technique that boosts power conversion efficiency by controlling crystal size and orientation.
    • August 14, 2017
      FOE alum Rashid Bahsir at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed a point-of-care device that quickly identifies markers of sepsis infection from a single drop of blood. Helping doctors identify sepsis, which can rapidly lead to organ failure and death, at its onset, could even point to a prognosis.
    • August 10, 2017
      Electrical engineer and computer science expert Gary S. May (USFOE 2000) became chancellor at the University of California, Davis, where he will oversee all aspects of the university’s teaching, research, and public service mission. He looks forward to boldly leading the university to new heights in academic excellence, public service, diversity and upward mobility for students from all backgrounds.
    • August 3, 2017
      Georgia Tech's Mark Prausnitz (USFOE 2008) has successfully tested a flu vaccine patch that delivered as much protection as a traditional jab with a needle, which doctors and public health experts hope will boost the number of people who get immunized and prevent some of the half-million worldwide flu deaths each year.
    • July 31, 2017
      FOE alum Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo at Princeton has developed a smart window featuring solar cells that selectively absorb near-ultraviolet (near-UV) light, so the new windows are completely self-powered.
    • July 27, 2017
      Christopher Chen (USFOE 2001) at Boston University and NAE member Sangeeta Bhatia (USFOE 2000) at MIT have created an expandable liver the size of a contact lens that they hope will help patients with deadly diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.
    • July 24, 2017
      At North Carolina State University, Mehmet Ozturk (USFOE 1996) and Michael Dickey (USFOE 2014) have designed a flexible thermoelectric energy harvester that could rival the effectiveness of existing wearable electronic devices that use body heat as an energy source.
    • July 17, 2017
      Tune in for the webcast beginning on July 19 of the 2017 Global Grand Challenges Summit (GGCS), which aims to spark global collaborations that lead to innovative ways of addressing critically important engineering challenges and inspiring the next generation of change makers.
    • June 21, 2017
      Eighty three of the nation’s brightest young engineers have been selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 23rd annual US Frontiers of Engineering (USFOE) symposium.
    • June 19, 2017
      Boston University's Christopher Chen (USFOE 2001) has developed a 3D-printed patch with embedded cells that line the interior of blood vessels. Not only did the patch result in the growth of new vessels, but the bioengineering team was actually able to give structure to the growth, helping the vessels operate more effectively.
    • June 15, 2017
      At the University of Washington’s Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering, Kate Starbird (USFOE 2013) studies the ways people and technology interact. She argues that conspiracy talk, when mapped, points to an emerging alternative media ecosystem of surprising power and reach.
    • June 12, 2017
      John Lee (USFOE 2008) at the University of Wisconsin is developing systems that will give drivers appropriate levels of trust and accurate expectations of vehicle automation.
    • June 8, 2017
      FOE alum Robert Schoelkopf at Yale has been selected for the 2017 Connecticut Medal Of Science for his seminal contributions to the field of quantum science and to the new field of circuit quantum electrodynamics.
    • June 5, 2017
      FOE alum Markus Buehler at MIT is working to replicate the unique, extra-tough structure of conch shells, which could lead to enhanced and personalized impact-resistant equipment such as helmets and body armor.
    • June 1, 2017
      Xuanhe Zhao (USFOE 2013) at MIT has developed a workout suit which incorporates microbial cells into flaps that allow it to self-ventilate, perfectly melding biological systems with engineering.
    • February 16, 2017
      Check out the list of 17 FOE alumni newly-elected as NAE members.
    • February 2, 2017
      Read papers from the 2016 US FOE online, or purchase the publication in print. Included is leading-edge research in virtual reality headsets, autonomous precision landing of space rockets, new materials for emerging desalination technologies, and engineering immunity against cancer, among other topics.
    • January 17, 2017
      Check out the four FOE alumni selected as PECASE awardees.
    • December 15, 2016
      Check out the list of 15 FOE alumni selected as NAI 2016 Fellows.