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May 19, 2022

Three engineering professors earn campus faculty fellowships

College of Engineering professors Padma Gopalan, Mikhail Kats and Victor Zavala are among the recipients of University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty fellowships for 2022-2023.

Padma Gopalan

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education selected Gopalan for a Kellett Mid-Career Award and Kats and Zavala for H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowships.

Gopalan is a professor of materials science and engineering. She works on developing materials and strategies to address problems that reside at the interface of materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering and biology. This includes fabricating very small features for microelectronics, as well as materials for rapid expansion of therapeutic cell lines.

Mikhail Kats
Mikhail Kats

The Kellett Mid-Career Award supports faculty promoted to tenured positions seven to 20 years ago and who have made key research contributions in their fields. The award, named for the late William R. Kellett, a former president of the WARF board of trustees and president of Kimberly-Clark Corporation, provides support and encouragement to faculty at a critical stage of their careers and comes with $75,000 to be spent over five years. This year, 11 UW-Madison faculty received the award.

Kats is a Jack St. Clair Kilby Associate Professor in electrical and computer engineering. His research areas includes optics and photonics, device physics, nanoscale science and quantum technologies, especially geared toward creating next-generation optical components to emit, modulate and detect light across the visible and infrared spectra.

Victor Zavala
Victor Zavala

Zavala is the Baldovin-DaPra Associate Professor in chemical and biological engineering. His research focuses on computational mathematics and their application to energy, agriculture and sustainability. He is also working to foster more diverse, inclusive and equitable academic environments within the College of Engineering.

The Romnes Fellowships recognize faculty with exceptional research contributions within their first six years from promotion to a tenured position. The award is named in recognition of the late WARF trustees president H.I. Romnes and comes with $60,000 that may be spent over five years. This year, 13 faculty members received the fellowships.

The awards are possible due to the research efforts of UW–Madison faculty and staff. Technology that arises from these efforts is licensed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the income from successful licenses is returned to the OVCRGE, where it’s used to fund research activities and awards throughout the divisions on campus.

“These awards provide an opportunity for campus to recognize our outstanding faculty,” says Steve Ackerman, vice chancellor for research and graduate education. “They highlight faculty efforts to support the research, teaching, outreach and public service missions of the university.”