Two faculty members have been appointed to named professorships.
Professor Guosong Liu of the Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biology will hold the Edward J. Poitras Assistant Professorship for a three-year term. The chair was established by a gift of the late Edward Poitras, a 1928 graduate of MIT.
Professor Liu's research is in the area of neurobiology. In particular, he is investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms of synaptic transmission and plasticity, which have been proposed as a mechanism underlying several forms of learning and memory. He received the MD from the Chuanbei Medical School in Sichuan, China in 1981, and the PhD in physiology from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1990. After completing postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA and Stan-ford University, Professor Liu was appointed assistant professor in cellular neurobiology in brain and cognitive sciences in 1996.
Professor L. Mahadevan of mechanical engineering has been appointed to the Karl Van Tassel Career Development Professorship. The chair was established by Karl Van Tassel, a member of the class of 1925.
Professor Mahadevan joined the MIT faculty in 1996. He received the BTech in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras in 1986, the MS in engineering mechanics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987, and the MS in mathematics (1992) and the PhD in applied mechanics (1995) from Stanford University.
His research interests are in the applications of mechanics and mathematics to nonlinear problems in materials science, biophysics and geophysics. Professor Mahadevan has worked on problems associated with the buckling behavior of thin elastic sheets and filaments, and some of the patterns induced in flowing films and jets. Currently, he is interested in questions associated with the mechanics of biological macromolecular assemblies, and cell adhesion, migration and aggregation.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 28, 1998.