Daniel Blankschtein, the Herman P. Meissner (1929) Professor in Chemical Engineering, has received the McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising, which “honors those faculty members who, through their lasting commitment to personal and professional development, help maintain the School of Engineering’s leadership in education and research.”
Nominators for this year’s award, which included faculty and undergraduates from the MIT community, referred to Blankschtein’s “both engineering rigor and caring mentoring.” Also mentioned were his “passion for mentoring students,” and descriptions such as “extraordinary professor” and “avid champion for the students.”
Blankschtein has a reputation for commitment to chemical engineering students. He has been recognized with the annual Course X Graduate Student Council Outstanding Faculty Award an unprecedented nine times: in 2015, 2011, 2008, 2005, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1993, and 1991.
Blankschtein began his MIT career in 1986 as an assistant professor and has served on several Institute and department committees, including his role as graduate officer for the Department of Chemical Engineering from 2001 to 2006. Blankschtein earned his BS (1977), MS (1979), and PhD (1983) from Tel-Aviv University.
Blankschtein's research is in the interdisciplinary field of colloid and interface science, which is becoming increasingly important to a large number of industrial, environmental, electronic, biotechnological, and biomedical applications where chemical engineers can play a pivotal role. Through the combination of theory, simulation, and experiment, his research group applies fundamental knowledge to several applications including detergency, emulsification, and wetting; adhesives, coatings, and thin films; petrochemical processes; food, paint, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and photographic technologies; controlled-release of active ingredients in pharmaceuticals and consumer products; removal of trace contaminants from water sources; bioseparations; and biomedical applications including transdermal and oral drug delivery.
Founded in 2005, the Capers and Marion McDonald program recognizes and honors diverse professionals in engineering and the applied sciences who, as exemplary mentors and advisors, have significantly and consistently supported the personal and professional development of others. The award was established by Capers McDonald (who earned a master's degree in engineering from MIT in 1976) and Marion McDonald, and is presented to a faculty member in the School of Engineering, who, through tireless efforts to engage minds, elevate spirits and stimulate high quality work, has advanced the professional and personal development of students and colleagues.
The award includes a bronze medallion and a cash prize, along with a letter of citation from the dean. Blankschtein’s name will be added to a plaque located in the School of Engineering dean’s conference room (Room 1-214). Blankschtein’s fellow chemical engineering faculty member Robert Cohen was the first recipient of the award at MIT in 2006.