First eight CMI Fellows chosen

Seven MIT professors from five departments and the director of the Technology Licensing Office have been named Fellows of the Cambridge-MIT Institute for 2001-02.

Under the Cambridge University-MIT strategic alliance agreement, the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) will work with faculty and students from both universities for at least the next five years to develop collaborative educational and research programs. CMI activities include an exchange of undergraduate students during their junior year. Presently, 27 MIT juniors are at Cambridge and 33 Cambridge students are studying in eight departments at MIT.

All of the new Fellows were cited for roles they played during the formative stages of CMI. Three of them will spend time at Cambridge this year.

The Fellows are Professor Rohan C. Abeyaratne of mechanical engineering; Professor Lorna J. Gibson of materials science and engineering; Professor Daniel E. Hastings of aeronautics and astronautics, director of the Technology and Policy Program; Professor Rebecca M. Henderson, the George Eastman Kodak Leaders for Manufacturing Professor of Management; a joint appointment of Professors Paul T. Matsudaira of biology and Roger D. Kamm of mechanical engineering, both of whom are affiliated with the Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Health; Professor Anthony J. Sinskey of biology, a member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; and Lita Nelsen, director of the Technology Licensing Office.

Abeyaratne facilitated MIT's review and mapping of the third-year mechanical engineering courses at Cambridge against MIT course requirements. This work led to the first department-to-department exchange agreement in 2000-01 and served as the model for this year's exchange agreements. He accompanied the first MIT exchange students to Cambridge last year and helped arrange their orientation. He then continued on sabbatical at Cambridge, strengthening the ties between the engineering schools and acting as an on-site mentor for the current MIT exchange students.


Gibson was the department coordinator for last year's MIT exchange students and for the development of the departmental-level agreement needed for material sciences and engineering to participate in 2001-02. In addition, she pioneered the first CMI common curriculum project. Recognizing the importance of the research and teaching program at Cambridge, she organized a short course taught in January 2001 that brought Cambridge strengths to MIT. The course will be offered again in January 2002.


As director of the Technology and Policy Program, Hastings provided leadership for the first program to be presented through the CMI Professional Practice program. Initially thought to be a straightforward transfer of course material, the proposal development became a learning experience for all of CMI as it worked to understand how to move the MIT experience into areas new to the University of Cambridge.


Henderson has agreed to offer her executive short course annually at CMI and to prepare a distance-enabled version so she can teach it again without traveling. Enrollment in the course is limited to 90 at MIT even though it is offered three or four times a year.


Matsudaira and Kamm are teaching molecular and cell biomechanics while in residence at the University of Cambridge this fall. They are also collaborating with a Cambridge colleague to develop a version for students in applied mathematics, engineering and chemical engineering, based on one they taught four years ago at MIT in separate graduate and undergraduate versions. While in Cambridge, Matsudaira and Kamm will be available to help advise the MIT students in CMI.


As a professor of microbiology, Sinskey has a long history of interdisciplinary teaching, an important element in the CMI program. He will play an active role in helping CMI to foster and develop collaborative projects in biosciences. He will also participate in the Integrated Research portfolio management and review process.


For more than a year, Nelsen has voluntarily devoted time and energy to working with CMI management and her counterparts at the University of Cambridge to create a strategy and implementation plan for strengthening the intellectual property function at Cambridge. In addition, she helped organize workshops last spring that addressed the question of how British universities should approach intellectual property.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 14, 2001.

Topics: Faculty, Global

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