ICB Project Leaders Segalman and Hawker are Elected to the National Academy of Engineering

February 12, 2021
ICB Project Leaders Craig Hawker and Rachel Segalman.

ICB Project Leaders, Professors Craig Hawker and Rachel Segalman.

The ICB is proud to announce that two highly distinguished ICB project leaders, UCSB Professors Craig Hawker and Rachel Segalman have been elected to the 2021 class of the National Academy of Engineers (NAE). They are among 129 new members globally that also include former ICB founding Co-Director Frank Doyle, current dean of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

Segalman, the Edward Noble Kramer Professor and a professor of both Chemical Engineering and Materials, was recognized “for contributions to semiconducting block polymers, polymeric ionic liquids and hybrid thermoelectric materials.”

Hawker, the Alan and Ruth Heeger Chair in Interdisciplinary Science, who also serves as the director of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) and the Dow Materials Institute, was cited for “contributions to polymer chemistry through synthetic organic chemistry concepts and the advancement of molecular engineering principles.”

Both Segalman and Hawker are co-project leaders on their ICB project: Development of Materials and Techniques for Bio-Enabled 3-D Printing, part of the ICB’s Advanced Scientific Research focus area. They are also project leaders of separate projects within the ICB’s Bio-Enabled Materials research focus area.

Segalman’s lab participates in other collaborative research groups at UCSB through the Materials Research Laboratory and the Mitsubishi Chemical Center for Advanced Materials. With particular interests in energy, efficiency, sustainability, and materials and interfaces, Segalman’s research focuses on controlling self-assembly, structure and the properties in functional polymers. Structural control over soft matter through microscopic length scales is an essential tool to optimize properties for applications ranging from solar and thermal energy to biomaterials. Her work paves the way for the development of sophisticated materials for energy application such as photovoltaics, fuel cells and thermoelectrics.

“The perception is that this is an individual honor, but I see it as a recognition for the university and the decades of wonderful people who I’ve been able to work with,” said Segalman, referring to her collaborators, colleagues, mentors, students and supportive staff. “I also believe our selection is a testament to UCSB’s collaborative culture for creating an environment that allows scientists and students to be inspired together and pursue research in new directions.”

Hawker’s research activities focus on synthetic polymer chemistry, integrating cross-disciplinary studies to develop nanostructured materials having unique physical and mechanical properties for applications in biomaterials and energy research. His groundbreaking work has formed the basis for more than 80 U.S. patents and 10 startup companies. A number of these companies have developed drugs to improve the quality of life for people who suffer from chronic kidney disease. Last year, he received the American Chemical Society’s Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success in recognition of his “innovative leadership in creating, developing and commercializing revolutionary polymer-based therapeutics and personal care products through multiple successful start-up companies.”

“I am thrilled by this honor, especially when I think about all of the people over the years who made this happen, including Ed Kramer, who was Rachel’s graduate advisor at UCSB and a huge reason why I joined the faculty at UCSB,” said Hawker, who is also an elected fellow of the Royal Society, the National Academy of Inventors and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “Our election reflects the university’s status as a leader in materials and polymer science. It also shows UCSB’s unique collaborative culture where great science and engineering are built on a tradition of working across boundaries. The sum is certainly greater than any individual research success.”

The announcement was made on February 9, 2021. Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education." 

Individuals in the newly elected class will be formally inducted during the NAE's annual meeting on Oct. 3, 2021.