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.


  • Margot Hutchins
    Research & Development Engineer
    Sandia National Laboratories

    I support scientifically-based decisions in complex, high-impact areas, including cybersecurity for critical infrastructure and defense systems, by developing, populating, validating, and exercising models, algorithms, and methodologies in partnership with diverse stakeholders.

    FOE was an incredible opportunity to be inspired by the work of my peers in complementary disciplines – and an opportunity to identify how seemingly unrelated work could support my own. The participants were a warm, interesting, and collaborative group. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet them and to continue engaging with many of them.  

  • Maneesh Agrawala
    Professor, Computer Science
    Stanford University

    My research interests are in visualization, human computer interaction, and computer graphics. I investigate how cognitive design principles can be used to improve the effectiveness of audio/visual mediain order to discover the design principles and then instantiate them in both interactive and automated design tools. 

    FOE is a fantastic program, a unique opportunity to learn about exciting, cutting-edge research from experts who work in a variety of engineering disciplines.  

  • Megan Valentine
    Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
    University of California, Santa Barbara

    My research focuses on understanding the physical origins of cellular mechanics, transport, and bioadhesion using custom-built, force-sensitive imaging tools.

    The FOE program not only expanded my appreciation of global engineering challenges, but provided opportunities to partner with a diverse and talented group of academic and industrial engineers to tackle them.

  • Alejandro Dominguez-Garcia
    Assoc.Prof., Elec. & Computer Engr.
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    My research lies at the intersection of power and energy systems, control theory, and communication networks. My goal is to address the challenges that the integration of new technologies such as renewable energy resources, storage capable loads, and advanced controls pose in the modeling, planning, and operation of electrical energy systems.

    At FOE, I met extremely talented individuals and learned about their cutting-edge work solving problems with high-societal impact -- a truly inspirational experience.

  • Amy Lo
    Systems Engineer
    Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems

    I research mathematical simulations, mission architecture development, proposal development, and optical systems engineering.  My current assignment is the NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in 2018 which will observe some of the most distant events and objects in the universe, and near-by exoplanets.

    Attending FOE symposiums is a revelatory experience! FOE has exposed me to a wider range of cutting edge topics in engineering than I have ever encountered. Getting to interact with folks at the top of their field gives new context and energy to the work that I do.

  • Peter DiMaggio
    Sr. Principal and Weidlinger Protective Design Practice Leader
    Thornton Tomasetti

    My primary research focuses on high-performance building, bridge, and tunnel structures, and their ability to safely resist extreme loadings such as blast, impact, flood, earthquake, and high winds using a multi-hazard design approach.

    FOE has been extremely valuable due to its ability to bring together some of the brightest, most innovative individuals in the world, and have them provide input and feedback on cutting-edge research topics.

  • Features

  • News + Events

    • 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.
    • May 25, 2017
      Gert Cauwenberghs (USFOE 2000) at the University of California, San Diego is developing high-resolution implants combining silicon nanowires and wireless technology, potentially restoring sight that has been lost due to diabetes and macular degeneration and other neurodegenerative diseases that affect millions and currently have no effective treatment.
    • May 22, 2017
      FOE alum Michael McAlpine at the University of Minnesota is developing a method for printing flexible tactile sensors that could give the sense of touch to prosthetic limbs and surgical robots. The new stretchy sensors could be 3D printed onto a variety of surfaces, including directly onto human skin, where it could be used for remote health monitoring.
    • May 18, 2017
      Sumita Pennathur (EU-USFOE 2013) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was among six recipients of a 2017 Pathway Visionary Award from the American Diabetes Association for her research project that aims to apply novel engineering approaches to develop a painless, minimally invasive, accurate, and disposable continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) patch.
    • May 15, 2017
      Oren Etzioni (USFOE 1999) at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence is working to teach computers to answer science questions at a grade-school level — a task that might sound simple, but requires the computer to decipher images and diagrams and understand contextual meaning.
    • May 8, 2017
      Popular Mechanics has recognized FOE alum Mona Jarrahi at UCLA with its 2016 Breakthrough Award for her work in terahertz scanners which can see through clothes and inside organs, detecting unique chemical signatures from substances like water without damaging DNA. She's been able to build scanners as small as a deck of cards and hopes to one day be able to spot breast cancer with a smartphone.
    • May 4, 2017
      The State University of New York (SUNY) has appointed NAE member Kristina Johnson (USFOE 1995) as chancellor, based on her proven leadership, innovation, cross-sector experience, and strong belief in the power of education. The current founder and chief executive officer of Cube Hydro Partners, LLC, which develops hydroelectric generation facilities that provide clean energy to communities and businesses throughout the country, will assume the role in September.
    • May 1, 2017
      Mihri Ozkan (USFOE 2008) at the University of California, Riverside has developed a low-cost technique to turn glass from discarded bottles into electrodes for lithium-ion batteries that significantly outperform conventional cells with graphite electrodes.
    • April 27, 2017
      Seth Darling (USFOE 2016) at Argonne National Laboratory has developed a reusable sponge that can absorb oil from water both on and below the surface. It could be ready for widespread use to clean up oil spills in five years, and the recovered oil can even be reused.
    • April 24, 2017
      Purdue University's Peter Bermel (USFOE 2015) is using off-the-shelf silicon wafers to design and fabricate a structure that absorbs lots of sunlight without re-radiating as much heat.
    • April 20, 2017
      MIT's Nicholas Fang (USFOE 2010) discusses the Albert Einstein Foundation's project, which pushes the limits of existing technologies. While 3D printing a book may seem like mere art, the combination of engineering and creativity is in line with Einstein's assertion that “science will stagnate if it is made to serve practical goals.”
    • April 5, 2017
      FOE alum and NAE member Rebecca Richards-Kortum at Rice University is listed among the world's 50 greatest leaders, according to Fortune magazine. They have in common three lessons, including bringing followers physically together, as the Frontiers of Engineering program does.
    • March 27, 2017
      FOE alum Kara Kockelman at the University of Texas at Austin suggests that demand for parking spaces could be cut by 85 percent in the next couple decades as self-driving vehicles reduce the need for parking near destinations.
    • March 23, 2017
      FOE alum Kevin Fu at the University of Michigan has found a vulnerability that allows him to take control of or secretly influence standard components in consumer products like smartphones, fitness monitors, and even automobiles.
    • March 20, 2017
      Shaochen Chen (CAFOE 2015) at the University of California, San Diego is 3-D printing lifelike, functional networks of synthetic blood vessels that, in animal trials, have successfully integrated into living subjects. This could be a first step towards a long-desired goal of printing functional organs and other regenerative therapies.
    • March 16, 2017
      Michael Dickey (USFOE 2014) at North Carolina State University is using light wavelengths to control how polymer origami structures fold. Self-assembling structures could have applications ranging from shipping things in a flat package and having them assemble on site to having devices self-assemble in ‘clean’ environments for medical or electronic purposes.
    • March 13, 2017
      Takanari Inoue (JAFOE 2014) at Johns Hopkins University is working to engineer single-cell organisms that will seek out and eat bacteria that are deadly to humans, combining the fields of biology and engineering in an emerging discipline known as synthetic biology. Because amoebas are able to travel on their own over surfaces, the engineered cells also could be used to clean soil of bacterial contaminants or even destroy microbes living on medical instruments, and could have important implications for research into cancer and other diseases.
    • March 9, 2017
      MIT's Julie Shah (USFOE 2015) is designing robots that can shadow people in highly instinctual jobs, like head nurses, and detect patterns in how they make decisions. Working with humans rather than replacing them may be the most important frontier for robots.
    • March 6, 2017
      FOE alumni Maria Paz Gutierrez and Luke Lee at the University of California, Berkeley are engineering solar panel technology that makes greywater from sinks, baths, and laundry reusable while creating thermal energy in the process. What is now wastewater would be used at least twice, cutting demand, and the free solar energy can be captured as well.
    • March 2, 2017
      Georgia Tech's dean of engineering Gary May (USFOE 2000) will become chancellor at the University of California, Davis in August. He was chosen as a "dynamic leader and an accomplished scholar and engineer with a passion for helping others succeed."
    • February 27, 2017
      University of Michigan's Shorya Awtar (USFOE 2011) has developed a new type of mechanical instrument to perform complex, minimally-invasive procedures, also known as laparoscopic surgery, that could lead to less trauma for patients and shorter recovery times after surgery. The handheld instrument provides greater precision and functionality but at a lower cost compared to existing robotic surgical systems, which could result in new capabilities for rural hospitals and other medical centers with limited financial resources.
    • February 23, 2017
      Ireena Erteza, a Sandia National Laboratories electrical engineer and USFOE 2005 alum, has been named a 2017 Asian American Engineer of the Year (AAEOY). The award program, celebrated each year during National Engineers Week, salutes Asian-American professionals in science, technology, engineering, and math who demonstrate exceptional leadership, technical achievements, and public service.
    • 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 15, 2016
      Check out the list of 15 FOE alumni selected as NAI 2016 Fellows.