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.


  • Ali Khademhosseini
    Professor, Division of Health Sciences and Technology
    Harvard University

    My research is based on developing micro- and nanoscale technologies for stem cell bioengineering and tissue regeneration.

    FOE allowed me to network with others and meet collaborators from different areas.

  • Rebecca Dylla-Spears
    Principal Investigator, Additively Manufactured Optics and Materials
    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    My research involves the development of 3D-printed transparent and reflective optics, allowing us to introduce gradients in structure or composition with the potential to improve component functionality.  

    The symposium and networking events at FOE provided a refreshing reminder of the broad and cross-cutting impact that engineers can have, even early in their careers. The experience renewed my confidence in my own ability and increased my resolve to make a difference.  

  • Constantine Samaras
    Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Carnegie Mellon University

    I use interdisciplinary modeling to advance robust civil engineering designs for the energy and transportation infrastructure of the future. 

    Engineers of the future need innovative ideas for solving our grand challenges, and great ideas often come from looking at problems from new perspectives. Participating in the FOE program has helped me get to know researchers from a wide range of backgrounds and has improved the ways I approach my current research.   

  • Christienne Mancini
    Systems Engineer
    Northrop Grumman

    My research involves the integration of unmanned aircraft operations into the airspace with government flight data processing systems, as well as enhancing systems engineering processes and procedures across the enterprise. 

    FOE provided a unique experience to understand and get a "bird’s eye view" of various engineering disciplines critically important to future growth, allowing ideas to flow in a collaborative environment that enhances the depths of one's own work and network.

  • Bryan Payne
    Engineering Manager

    My primary focus is security for production systems in the cloud, including bootstrapping trust, applied cryptography, service-to-service authentication and authorization, vulnerability management, and application security at scale.

    FOE brings together top researchers, scientists, and practitioners from a diverse set of fields early in their career. These cross-disciplinary connections help to expand horizons and spark ideas in ways that would not otherwise be possible.

  • Leia Stirling
    Assistant Professor, Aeronautics and Astronautics
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    I design integrated wearable technology systems and methods for mapping complex information to enable humans or systems to effectively interpret the data for decision making. 

    The FOE provided a community which expanded my understanding of fields other than mine, engaging all those involved in new areas. These captivating discussions inspired new research collaborations and moved some to new areas of personal advocacy outside of our own research.    

  • Features

  • News + Events

    • February 16, 2017
      Check out the list of 17 FOE alumni newly-elected as NAE members.
    • February 13, 2017
      Debasish Banerjee (USFOE 2015) of the Toyota Research Institute of North America and NAE member and FOE alum Xiang Zhang at the University of California, Berkeley separately have been studying how to build an invisibility cloak made from everyday materials.
    • February 9, 2017
      NAE member Eric Fossum at Dartmouth College has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for the invention of image sensor technology that is at the heart of every digital camera today, ubiquitous in personal visual communications, entertainment, automotive safety, medicine, science, security, defense, and social media.
    • February 6, 2017
      Tolga Kurtoglu (USFOE 2014) just became chief executive of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), considered the birthplace of personal computing, the graphical user interface, the Ethernet, the laser printer, and key elements of what became the Internet. Now, PARC's core interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and integrating devices, systems, and computing for everything from self-driving cars and robotics to virtual and augmented reality.
    • 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 30, 2017
      Georgia Tech's Justin Romberg (USFOE 2010) collaborated with MIT's Ramesh Raskar (EU-USFOE 2010) in the design of a machine that uses a terahertz scanner and shape recognition software to read, page by page, the interior of a book while the cover is still closed. The technology could potentially be used to read ancient scrolls that are too fragile to unroll and for non-invasive analysis of various layered materials.
    • January 26, 2017
      Contrary to the belief that seawalls cause a sense of complacency and consequently lead to lower evacuation rates, FOE alum Seth Guikema's analysis at the University of Michigan indicates that seawalls higher than 5 meters reduce damage and death, while coastal forests also play an important role in protecting the public.
    • January 23, 2017
      FOE alum Melissa Knothe Tate of the University of New South Wales is developing a fabric that can mimic the properties of periosteum, a tissue that surrounds bone in the body, that could be the basis for protective clothing, medical equipment, and even safer tires.
    • January 19, 2017
      FOE alum Markus Buehler at MIT has developed an almost completely hollow structure with a surface-area-to-volume ratio that makes it very strong. Potential applications include massive bridges, which would be ultrastrong, lightweight, and insulated against heat and cold.
    • January 17, 2017
      Check out the four FOE alumni selected as PECASE awardees.
    • January 9, 2017
      Google's Quoc Le (CAFOE 2015) searched for a new paradigm in AI and came up with the "Cat Paper," in which a computer could be trained to identify on its own the information that was absolutely essential to a given image. From there, the Google Brain team theorized that neural networks might be configured to handle the structure of language.
    • January 5, 2017
      Cornell University's Robert Shepherd (USFOE 2016) is developing a prosthesis that uses light to sense curvature, elongation, and force. Not only could the robotic hand grasp and test for shape and texture; it was also able to detect which of three tomatoes was ripe by gauging their softness.
    • January 3, 2017
      Chad Bouton (USFOE 2011) at Sanguistat is developing a portable device that will pass an electrical current through a nerve to kick the body’s blood clotting system into action. Beyond the centuries-old standard treatment of tourniquets, this method will be tested for internal bleeding, specifically postpartum hemorrhage, which is a leading cause of maternal death worldwide.
    • December 27, 2016
      FOE alum Bill Grieco's Energy & Environment division at Southern Research will serve as an independent, unbiased technical evaluator tasked with assessing performance of the competing technologies in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. The $20M global competition incents innovators to transform how the world approaches CO2 mitigation with the development of groundbreaking technologies that convert carbon dioxide emissions into valuable products.
    • December 19, 2016
      MIT's Sara Seager (USFOE 2015) pioneering theoretical work has led to a newer, more efficient way to detect exoplanets by using light, or its absence, to study the composition of alien atmospheres. It’s a way of seeing something by looking for what’s not there.
    • December 15, 2016
      Check out the list of 15 FOE alumni selected as NAI 2016 Fellows.
    • December 12, 2016
      NAE member and FOE alum John Rogers of Northwestern University is developing a stick-on patch incorporating flexible electronics and microfluidic channels that could analyze sweat to help diagnose disease and determine whether exercise regimes are actually doing any good.
    • December 8, 2016
      Michael Strano (USFOE 2007) at MIT is confining water in cylindrical nanotubes, changing its phase-transition temperature, with possible applications in electronics.
    • December 5, 2016
      MIT's Xuanhe Zhao (USFOE 2013) is using biocompatible and highly stretchable optical fibers made from hydrogel that may one day serve as sensors, lighting up in response to signs of disease.
    • November 17, 2016
      FOE alum Alan Russell at Carnegie Mellon University is using proteins that change the color of food packaging after the expiration date or enable paint to respond to the presence of a toxin in the room. The polymer-based protein engineering may also have therapeutic applications in treating cancer and other diseases.
    • November 14, 2016
      Dan Sievenpiper (USFOE 2005) at the University of California San Diego is developing the world’s first semiconductor-free, optically-controlled microelectronic device, which could lead to faster electronics and more efficient solar panels. Semiconductors are at the heart of modern computing devices but are approaching the physical limits of what they can achieve using current materials.
    • November 10, 2016
      FOE alum Nelson Tansu at Lehigh University reports that gallium nitride (GaN) resists wear almost as well as diamonds, which promises to open up applications in touch screens, space vehicles, and radio-frequency microelectromechanical systems (RF MEMS), all of which require high-speed, high-vibration technology. GaN can be made very thin yet still strong, which will accelerate the move to flexible electronics.
    • November 7, 2016
      MIT's Michael Strano (USFOE 2007) has engineered electronic systems into spinach plants to detect landmines and other explosives and then transmit that information to a handheld device.
    • November 3, 2016
      Noting current testing by Uber in Pittsburgh, FOE alum Daniel Lee at the University of Pennsylvania observes that use of autonomous vehicles is expected to accelerate in the next ten years.
    • October 31, 2016
      Harry Martz (USFOE 1997) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announces his new book, "X-Ray Imaging: Fundamentals, Industrial Techniques and Applications," which focuses on industrial applications such as improved inspection of fuel pipelines, chemical pipelines, and weapons.
    • October 27, 2016
      Neil DasGupta (USFOE 2016) at the University of Michigan has developed an aperture in a battery to observe the growth of dendrites, whiskers of lithium that grow inside batteries and can cause fires. Lithium sulphur and lithium air batteries have the potential to store 10 times more energy in the same space as current lithium ion batteries, but their all-metal electrodes are prone to forming dendrites, which reduce a battery’s performance, raise safety concerns, and cut short its lifetime.
    • October 24, 2016
      Jin-Oh Hahn (USFOE 2016) at the University of Maryland is mathematically modeling the human body's cardiac functions to create tools that will improve cardiovascular monitoring tools and unobtrusive ways to monitor patient vitals.
    • October 20, 2016
      Zhen Gu (USFOE 2016) at UNC Chapel Hill and NC State tackles cancer treatment innovations with inspiration from nature and his chemist father, who died of an aggressive form of leukemia when Gu was very young.
    • October 17, 2016
      Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg (USFOE 2001) vows to beat SpaceX to Mars, working with NASA to develop a heavy-lift rocket called the Space Launch System for deep space exploration. Boeing and SpaceX are also the first commercial companies NASA selected to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.
    • October 13, 2016
      Joseph Wartman (EU-US FOE 2011) at the University of Washington leads the Post-Disaster, Rapid Response Research (RAPID) Facility, one of the components of NSF's Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI). Researchers in NHERI are set to explore and test ground-breaking concepts for protecting homes, businesses, and infrastructure lifelines, and to enable innovations that will help prevent natural hazards from becoming societal disasters.
    • October 10, 2016
      Stanford's Stephen Quake (USFOE 1999 and NAE member) will co-lead the Biohub, a new biomedical science research center in a collaboration with University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). Funded by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan, the Biohub's immediate projects include the Cell Atlas and the Infectious Disease Initiative.
    • September 29, 2016
      FOE alum Jeff Karp at Harvard Medical School was delighted that his tissue adhesive successfully treated a dog with a mouth wound similar to cleft palate that was unresponsive to three surgeries. These glues can go on the skin, inside the heart, and on blood vessels and will be tested for vascular reconstruction on humans later this year.
    • September 26, 2016
      Rebecca Richards-Kortum (USFOE 1995 and NAE member), a bioengineer at Rice University, was among the 23 individuals recently named as MacArthur Fellows. Drawing from nanotechnology, molecular imaging, and microfabrication techniques, she has created numerous low-cost and highly practical medical tools to address global health disparities in low-resource settings by developing point-of-care medical technologies and a new approach to engineering education.
    • September 15, 2016
      At UC-Berkeley, Ronald Fearing (USFOE 2001) creates biologically-inspired robot teams that can cover rough ground while sending information to and receiving guidance from search and rescue personnel.
    • September 12, 2016
      Aerospace Corporation's Siegfried Janson (USFOE 1996) is developing plastic wrap-like technology to wrap around and remove space debris, thus protecting satellites and spacecraft from catastrophic impacts with the more than 7,000 metric tons of material currently in the near-Earth space environment.
    • September 8, 2016
      FOE alumni Jennifer Lewis and Robert Wood at Harvard use microfluidics to power their autonomous robot with a design inspired by the movement, strength, and elasticity of an octopus.
    • September 1, 2016
      FOE alum Jason Burdick at the University of Pennsylvania is developing hydrogels that can help prevent future heart damage in heart attack survivors. These hydrogels shore up enlarged hearts with thinned walls and scar tissue that can lead to heart failure.
    • August 29, 2016
      MIT's Emilio Frazzoli (GAFOE 2009) leads startup nuTonomy, which is developing driverless taxis offering convenient public transit while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These electric vehicles follow optimal paths for passenger pickup and dropoff, reducing traffic congestion.
    • August 25, 2016
      Rice University's Richard Baraniuk (EU-US FOE 2010) and Kimberly Turner (USFOE 2012) at the University of California, Santa Barbara will conduct frontier research focused on neural and cognitive systems with grants from NSF.
    • August 22, 2016
      Rajeev Ram (USFOE 1999) at MIT developed a tiny microbioreactor containing a microfluidic chip that could ultimately produce treatments at the point of care, with applications in the battlefield and remote villages.
    • August 18, 2016
      FOE alumni Andrea Alu at UT Austin and Yong Chen at Purdue have received grants for emerging frontier research aimed at manipulating light, high-frequency, and sound waves by unconventional methods.
    • August 15, 2016
      FOE alum Ju Li at MIT is developing a new approach to lithium-air batteries that could lead to more energy-efficient, faster-charging cells that last longer than conventional lithium-ion versions.
    • August 11, 2016
      Microsoft's Karin Strauss (USFOE 2011) is developing methods to store an exabyte (one billion gigabytes) of data in about one cubic inch of synthetic DNA material that could be readable for thousands of years. Storing that much data by conventional methods would require a warehouse-sized data center.
    • August 8, 2016
      Franklin Robotics co-founder Rory MacKean (JAFOE 2011) is testing Tertill, a Roomba-type device to cut grass that will cost the same or less than a lawn mower requiring human exertion. In a world where most people are pressed for time, outsourcing lawn maintenance to a robot seems destined to happen.
    • July 28, 2016
      Vulcan Aerospace president Charles Beames (USFOE 2008) and NAE member Burt Rutan are working on Stratolaunch's goal of revolutionizing access to space with more efficient methods of getting into orbit, mostly for commercial satellite operators.
    • July 25, 2016
      Sameer Sonkusale (USFOE 2015) at Tufts University and Ali Khademhosseini (USFOE 2012, 2011) at Harvard have integrated nanoscale sensors, electronics, and microfluidics into threads – ranging from simple cotton to sophisticated synthetics – that can be sutured through multiple layers of tissue to gather diagnostic data wirelessly in real time.
    • July 21, 2016
      Pablo Zavattieri (USFOE 2014) at Purdue University is developing super strong composite materials modeled on the tough herringbone structure of the mantis shrimp's powerful dactyl club. In a 3D-printed biomimetic composite, damaging stress could be more uniformly distributed, mitigating catastrophic structural failure.
    • July 18, 2016
      NC State University's Veena Misra (USFOE 2003) is designing a system that could track the wearer's wellness, particularly related to oncoming asthma attacks, so that users could change their activities or environment to help prevent them.
    • July 14, 2016
      Shantanu Chakrabartty (JAFOE 2014) at the Washington University of St. Louis is designing a “tattoo” made of biocompatible silk that, by emitting mild heat on locust wings, could make it possible to steer them by remote control. The team is tapping into locusts' fantastic sensitivity for odor to bioengineer the bomb-detection systems of the future.
    • July 11, 2016
      FOE alum and NAE member Frances Arnold is the first woman to be recognized with a Millennium Technology Prize by the Technology Academy Finland, host of the 2016 EU-US FOE. Inspired by the biological processes that drive natural selection, she launched a field called "directed evolution" and revolutionized the way researchers design more effective drugs and create cleaner industrial processes.
    • July 5, 2016
      Harvard's Robert Wood (EU-US FOE 2010) has created autonomous robotic insects capable of sustained, independent flight, with such minuscule component parts promising other applications from manufacturing to micro-surgery.
    • June 27, 2016
      Eighty-three of the nation’s brightest young engineers have been selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 22nd annual US Frontiers of Engineering (USFOE) symposium.
    • June 27, 2016
      MIT's Julie Shah (USFOE 2015) studies how humans and robots can work together more efficiently, especially in high-intensity situations, like manufacturing plants, search-and-rescue situations, and space exploration.
    • June 23, 2016
      Carnegie Melon University's Aaron Steinfeld (JAFOE 2016) is designing cooperative robots, or co-robots, to empower people with disabilities to safely travel and navigate unfamiliar environments, like subway systems. The team focuses on information exchange, assistive localization, and urban navigation -- essentially finding new ways for robots and humans to interact.
    • May 23, 2016
      Guihua Yu (USFOE 2015) at the University of Texas, Austin has developed a new gel that repairs and connects electronic circuits, creating opportunities to advance the development of flexible electronics, biosensors, and batteries as energy storage devices.
    • May 9, 2016
      Congratulations to FOE alum and NAE member Arup Chakraborty on his election to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
    • March 16, 2016
      Two Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Grants of $30,000 each have been awarded to attendees of the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 2015 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.
    • November 19, 2015
      Maryam Shanechi (USC) and Kathryn Whitehead (Carnegie Mellon) made the list of Popular Science's Brilliant 10 honoring the brightest young minds reshaping engineering, science, and the world.
    • September 29, 2015
      FOE alum Kartik Chandran is among the 2015 MacArthur Fellows who are shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways.
    • September 25, 2015
      Polina Anikeeva, Lars Blackmore, and Jeanette Garcia 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 3, 2015
      Scientific American recognizes visionaries who continue to reshape biotechnology and the world. The list includes three FOE alumni.