Building Preeminent Teams

2014–2015 Preeminent Teams

The first round of the next Preeminent Teams competition will take place on September 4, 2014, followed by the second round competition on October 9, 2014.

2013–2014 Preeminent Teams

Purdue University's College of Engineering has named four research teams that will be a priority for faculty hiring during the coming year.

The teams were chosen because the work they do has the potential for dramatic impact and international pre-eminence and is part of the college's strategic growth plan that will add as many as 107 faculty over five years. In addition to the team hiring, other hires are related to strengthening disciplines and taking advantage of opportunities to enhance quality or diversity.

The strategic growth plan is part of Purdue Moves, a range of initiatives designed to broaden Purdue's global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students.

The Preeminent Teams Process

What areas will define Purdue Engineering research in the next ​decade? Building Preeminent Teams is a research-centric approach to faculty hiring that asks: How would you put your research expertise and leadership skills to use to form a team (approximately 4-8 current + new faculty) to catapult your research area, or an emerging research area of potential, to international preeminence? What existing faculty expertise and infrastructure exist at Purdue and what is still needed to maximize our potential for success in this area? These investment areas are being developed through a public process akin to that where entrepreneurs pitch a proposal to venture capitalists, and is part of the College’s ongoing theme of bringing characteristics of the entrepreneurial world to the research world. Criteria for the Preeminent Teams competition included:

  1. Strong leadership
  2. Promise of transformative impact
  3. Promise of preeminence
  4. Potential for collaboration
  5. Potential for diverse sources of research funding
  6. Contribution to the education enterprise
  7. Contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship
  8. Leveraging existing strengths and infrastructure

The four 2013-14 teams were selected from 32 teams that competed in a two-stage process conducted in September/October 2013. In the first round, each team presented a 5-minute pitch followed by 5 minutes of questions and answers from the panel of 13 distinguished faculty from the colleges of Engineering, Science, and Agriculture.

12 teams advanced to round 2, where the panel included both internal and external panelists: Purdue faculty from Engineering and outside Engineering and alums who have spent their careers making decisions about future directions, leadership, and investments. Round 2 pitches were 10 minutes plus a 10-minute question and answer session.  Based on the recommendation of the panel, four teams were selected for investment of faculty lines, resources, and space.

The 2013-14 Preeminent Teams

Implantable Networks of Wireless Nanoelectronic Nodes will Catalyze a Paradigm Shift in Medical Treatment

Team Leader:

Pedro Irazoqui, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Team Members:

Ashraf Alam, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Bill Chappell, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Mark Lundstrom, Don & Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The team is led by Pedro P. Irazoqui, director of Purdue's Center for Implantable Devices, associate head for research, associate professor in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. Wireless implantable devices are being developed for various potential applications including monitoring and suppression of epileptic seizures; prosthesis control for injured military personnel; modulation of cardiac arrhythmias; treatment of depression, and gastroparesis, a partial paralysis of the stomach; and monitoring of intraocular pressure and therapeutic intervention for glaucoma. The research calls for a partnership among the Center for Implantable Devices with the National Science Foundation NEEDS (Nano-Engineered Electronic Device Simulation) initiative led by Mark Lundstrom, the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; the Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine neurosurgical practice; and the Indiana University School of Medicine. "The key enabling technologies come from nanotechnology," Irazoqui said. "Access to them comes from our partnership with NEEDS, and the clinical impact, which is the overarching goal, happens as a result of our partnership with the hospitals in Indianapolis." 

Energetic Materials: Science, Engineering, Sensing, and Detection for Defense and Security Applications

Team Leader:
Steve Beaudoin, Professor of Chemical Engineering

Team Members:
Bryan Boudouris, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
Charlie Bouman, Showalter Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Wayne Chen, Professor or Aeronautics and Astronautics and Professor of Materials Engineering
Jeff Rhoads, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Steve Son, Professor of Mechanical Engineering

New methods to study energetic materials, including explosives, propellants and pyrotechnics, for applications largely focused on national defense and security. The research team is led by Stephen Beaudoin, a professor of chemical engineering. Researchers are working to characterize, detect and defeat existing and emerging energetic materials and to develop new and improved materials for military applications. The primary driver is in homeland security environments, work that aims to transform the way that explosives screening is performed, allowing the implementation of arrays of complementary sensors designed to detect and track explosives when they are at large distances from intended targets. Some technologies being developed will analyze the spectrum of light shining through vaporized samples. Others will analyze solid residues. The research includes work focusing on detecting traces of explosives, characterizing homemade explosives so that their threat can be better assessed, and using CT and other scanners to detect and identify bulk explosives in containers such as luggage and cargo cases. "The work we do aims to improve screening for explosives at airports, sea ports and other public venues like football arenas and the civilian infrastructure," Beaudoin said. 

Flexible and Efficient Spectrum Usage

Team Leader:
David Love, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Team Members:
Bill Chappell, Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Ed Delp, Charles William Harrison Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Jim Krogmeier, Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Techniques to more efficiently use the increasingly congested radio spectrum for communications in commercial, military and emergency services applications. The growing number of mobile devices in operation threatens a coming spectrum crisis. Advances are needed to ensure reliable communications to reduce dropped calls and slow downloads and to ease congestion over the airwaves. The research team is led by David Love, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and University Faculty Scholar. The effort dovetails with a recent national focus on the problem. Congress approved a national broadband plan in March 2010. The White House announced a $100 million investment in spectrum initiatives earlier this year, and efforts also involve multiple government agencies including the National Science Foundation and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The research aims to help reduce interference in radio communications and allow high-priority radios for the military and disaster-relief to operate with minimal disruption and loss of life, Love said. Researchers are developing advanced models and mathematical theory to better analyze and understand radio transmissions.

Quantum Photonics

Team Leader:
Vlad Shalaev, Robert and Anne Burnett Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Team Members:
Chris Greene, Distinguished Professor of Physics
Andy Weiner, Scifres Family Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Collaborators:
Alexandra Boltasseva, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Yong Chen, Associate Professor of Physics
Gary Cheng, Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Young L. Kim, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Evgenii Narimanov, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Minghao Qi, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Xianfan Xu, James J. and Carol L. Shuttleworth Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Quantum photonics, which could make possible future quantum information systems far more powerful than today's computers. The research team is led by Vladimir M. Shalaev, scientific director of nanophotonics at Purdue's Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Robert and Anne Burnett Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The technology hinges on using single photons – the tiny particles that make up light – for switching and routing in future computers that might harness the exotic principles of quantum mechanics. The quantum information processing technology would use structures called "metamaterials," artificial nanostructured media. The metamaterials, when combined with tiny optical emitters, could make possible a new hybrid technology that uses quantum light in future computers. Computers based on quantum physics would have quantum bits, or qubits, that exist in both the on and off states simultaneously, dramatically increasing the computer's power and memory. Quantum computers would take advantage of a strange phenomenon described by quantum theory called entanglement. Instead of only the states of one and zero, there are many possible entangled quantum states in between one and zero. "Other important quantum information applications include, for example, a quantum internet, secure information, quantum simulators, atomic clocks, ultra-powerful sensors, quantum cryptography and teleportation," Shalaev said. 

Additional Information

On November 7, 2013, The College of Engineering announced the faculty hiring aimed at creating preeminent teams in 4 areas. See the press release and presentation at the President's Forum.  

Search plans are under development and formal ads will be posted soon.

Purdue College of Engineering current open searches — Preeminent Teams searches will be listed as the search committees are formed and the search launched.

Please direct questions about faculty hiring at Purdue to Professor Klod Kokini, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, at Kokini@purdue.edu.