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.


  • Rodney Priestley
    Associate Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
    Princeton University

    I am interested in understanding the behavior of soft matter in confinement and at interfaces and exploiting that understanding for precision processing of nanomaterials. 

    Attending FOE was a great experience; the talks were excellent. I was motivated to expand my research vision and to think boldly about tackling societal issues of importance to me.  

  • Keren Bergman
    Professor of Electrical Engineering
    Columbia University

    My research is at the intersection of photonics and computing, exploring how the unique advantages of manipulating and moving information in the optical domain can enable transformative computational performance gains with ultra-efficient energy consumption.

    FOE was an opportunity to become completely immersed for three days among a truly diverse group of the very brightest engineer-scholars. The experience enabled in depth exploration of how multiple disciplines could be brought to bear on the most pressing technical challenges. The close interactions with colleagues have forged friendships that will last and flourish throughout my career.

  • Pawel Woelke
    Associate Principal
    Thornton Tomasetti

    I work on challenging design problems of structural systems such as pressure vessels, transportation vehicles, and civil and energy infrastructure, with special emphasis on material characterization, predictive failure analysis, and forensic failure investigation.

    FOE provides a great forum for interaction with talented engineers who are driving technological advancements that span multiple engineering disciplines.

  • Jaime Teevan
    Principal Researcher

    I am exploring microproductivity as a way for people to get big things done one small step at a time. 

    FOE broadened my understanding of engineering, providing me with insight into new areas, connections with people from a range of disciplines, and historical context.

  • Christopher Wilcox
    Electrical Engineer
    U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

    My research is in the exciting field of adaptive optics and software developed to mitigate atmospheric-induced optical aberrations that cause degradation in resolution and system performance, such as astronomical telescopes. 

    The NAE FOE has allowed me the unique opportunity to learn and collaborate with colleagues of various disciplines and has provided very valuable perspectives of my research from different points of view. 

  • Mariel Lavieri
    Associate Professor, Industrial & Operations Engineering
    University of Michigan

    My work focuses on managing chronic disease, creating analytical methods to personalize screening, monitoring, and treatment, and understanding conditions needed to achieve a sustainable healthcare system.

    FOE gave me the opportunity to meet many outstanding engineers from a wide variety of backgrounds and to start thinking how I could expand my own work by collaborating with disciplines I had not previously considered.

  • Features

  • News + Events

    • 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 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 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.
    • 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.