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Ganz and Peyton Selected as Outstanding Faculty Award Winners

Aura Ganz of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has been selected to receive the 2014 Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, and Shelly Peyton of the Chemical Engineering Department will receive the 2014 Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. “Their excellent contributions to scholarship and the profession bring distinction to our college,” said Dean Tim Anderson while announcing the annual awards. “Aura and Shelly, along with the CoE Outstanding Teaching Award winner Rama Janaswamy, will be recognized during the CoE Senior Recognition Celebration to be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Congratulations, Aura and Shelly!”

Dr. Ganz, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, has published over 250 journal and conference papers and received numerous best paper awards. Her research has been supported by multiple federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF).

Ganz is the Director of the Mobile Evolution Laboratory that pursues research in wireless networks and mobile platforms. This research is applied to developing socially responsible systems for the betterment of the world. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of two large projects: PERCEPT and DIORAMA. PERCEPT is a seeing-eye directory for the blind and visually impaired which will provide them with verbal directions, electronic signs, and a virtual information booth for finding their way in indoor environments via a smart-phone application. Recently, she received a $240,000 grant from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to install a prototype in the Arlington Metro Station.

Ganz has also been awarded grants of $400,000 and $1.6 million from the NIH to support research on her life-saving, disaster-management solution known as DIORAMA, an electronic system which can quickly organize chaotic, mass-casualty, disaster scenes, such as airliner, bus, and train wrecks, and cut the evacuation time of survivors in half.

Dr. Peyton is the Barry and Afsaneh Siadat Career Development Faculty Fellow. Among other research projects, she engineers authentic replicas of brain, lung, bone, liver, and other organs from synthetic polymers in her lab and uses these “tissue mimics” to test her new theory for the deadly problem of why breast-cancer cells metastasize to certain organs. Then she studies how to block cancer cells from spreading this way.

Her lab has received impressive funding to support various projects: a $2.4-million grant from the NIH; a $590,000 NSF grant; $198,000 from the American Heart Association; and $240,000 from the Pew Charitable Trusts, when it named her one of the 22 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences nationwide.

Peyton earned Chemical Engineering degrees from Northwestern University (B.S. in 2002) and the University of California at Irvine (M.S. in 2004 and Ph.D. in 2007). She later served a Post-Doc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Biological Engineering. (April 2014)