Paula T. Hammond, the David H. Koch Professor in Engineering, has been named the new head of the Department of Chemical Engineering (ChemE), effective July 13. She is the first woman and first person of color appointed to the post.
The announcement was made this morning in a special faculty meeting of the department. “We are fortunate to have someone with Professor Hammond’s vision and dedication to lead this distinguished department,” says Ian A. Waitz, dean of the School of Engineering. “She has a deep knowledge of the Institute and has led a remarkable career as a researcher and educator. Please join me in congratulating Paula on this appointment.”
Hammond succeeds Klavs Jensen, the Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering, who has been the department head in ChemE since 2007; Jensen will reengage full time with teaching and research in the department. “Klavs has been a superb colleague, and he has set a very high bar for leadership of a department,” Waitz noted.
Hammond is a core faculty member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and was a founding member of the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. She has collaborators in academic departments throughout the Institute, and has worked with clinicians and researchers at various Boston-area hospitals. Her research group focuses on biomaterials and drug delivery. Their research focuses on the self-assembly of polymeric nanomaterials; the core of her work is the use of electrostatics and other complementary interactions to generate functional materials with highly controlled architectures, including the development of new biomaterials and electrochemical energy devices. She and her former students and postdocs have started a range of biotech companies.
Hammond’s many awards and honors include the Alpha Chi Sigma Award for Chemical Engineering Research in 2014, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Charles M. A. Stine Award in Materials Engineering and Science in 2013, the Ovarian Cancer Research Program Teal Innovator Award in 2013, the Junior Bose Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2000, an NSF Career Award in 1997, and the MIT Karl Taylor Compton Prize in 1992 (in recognition of achievements in citizenship and devotion to the welfare of MIT). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a director of the Board of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and a fellow of the American Physical Society and American Institute of Biomedical and Biological Engineering, among other honors.
She has taught several classes over the past several years, including the 10.467 (Polymer Science Laboratory), 10.569 (Synthesis of Polymers), and 10.10 (Introduction to Chemical Engineering). Hammond previously served as executive officer of the department in 2008 through 2011. Hammond received her BS in chemical engineering from MIT in 1984, her MS from Georgia Tech in 1988, and earned her PhD from MIT in 1993.