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MechE announces three new appointments

Professor Anette (Peko) Hosoi has been appointed associate head for education of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Professor John Leonard has been appointed associate head for research, both effective Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. Professor Martin Culpepper was recently appointed to a newly created position of maker czar, whose role is to be the voice of the makers and builders in the department and provide oversight of its machine shops.

Hosoi joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2002 as an assistant professor after receiving an AB in physics from Princeton University and an MA and PhD in physics from the University of Chicago. She was promoted to full professor in 2013. She currently serves as the chair of the Lincoln Labs Campus Interaction Committee and is director of the Hatsopoulos Microfluids Laboratory, undergraduate officer for the Department of MechE, and founder of the Sports Technology and Education @ MIT (STE@M) program for students and faculty. She is also the founder and director of the Battelle/MIT Postdoctoral Associate Program.

Hosoi’s research interests lie in developing and applying fundamental advances in fluid mechanics to enable new robotic capabilities. She and her students created the RoboSnail and the RoboClam, and she has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Den Hartog Distinguished Educator Award. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) as well as a MacVicar Faculty Fellow.

In her time as undergraduate officer since 2012 — a role she will maintain as associate head — Hosoi has displayed a sincere interest in the success of our students and has taken a strong lead as the Department of Mechanical Engineering revamped its innovative Course 2A program. She is known for her passion for engineering innovation, her dedication to student interests, and her sense of camaraderie.

Leonard is a professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He earned a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and Science from the University of Pennsylvania and a DPhil in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford. Currently, he serves as area head for Ocean Science and Engineering in MechE, as co-director of the Ford-MIT Alliance, and as head of the Marine Robotics Group in CSAIL. He has also served as an associate editor of the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering and of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation.

Leonard’s research addresses the problems of navigation and mapping for mobile robots and autonomous underwater vehicles, and, along with his students and collaborators, he has developed several state-of-the-art robot navigation and mapping systems for robots operating in underwater and terrestrial environments. He is the recipient of a Thouron Award, an NSF CAREER Award, and a Science Foundation Ireland E.T.S. Walton Visitor Award, as well as several Best Paper awards.

Leonard, who joined the MIT faculty in 1996 and was promoted to full professor in 2007, is well known throughout the Institute for his strong leadership in both MechE and CSAIL, his strong sense of community, and his energy and approachability.

Professor Martin L. Culpepper received his PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT, then became a professor here in 2001. He has received several awards since then, including the R&D 100 Award for his HexFlex — a flexure used for very fine positioning — the Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the TR100 award for top young innovators. He is the associate director of the Lab for Manufacturing and Productivity, and director of the Precision Compliant Systems Lab. He is a Fellow of ASME, the American Society for Precision Engineering, and the European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology.

Culpepper's research is focused on three main areas: nano-scale science and engineering, precision engineering, and biomedical engineering. He is well known in the Department for his passion for hands-on product design and manufacturing, his leadership of the annual De Florez Design Competition, and his good nature.

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