Skip to Main Content
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Laboratory Assessments Board
LAB Home
About LAB
Current Projects
LAB Reports
Staff and Contact Information

Panel on Review of the Engineering Laboratory

at the National Institute of Standards and Technology

JEREMY ISENBERG (NAE) is recent past-President and CEO of Weidlinger Associates, Inc., a structural and civil engineering and software development firm. Dr. Isenberg is an expert in the computational modeling of dynamic response of structures, especially those exposed to blast loads. He initiated the conversion of computational mechanics technology at Weidlinger Associates from defense applications to civilian uses such as geological prospecting, design of ultrasound search units for medical imaging, and for optical inspection of sub-micron features on silicon wafers. He is active on several professional committees of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Concrete Institute and is recent past president of the Structural Engineering Institute, ASCE. He served as a member of the Federal Highway blue ribbon panel on Bridge and Tunnel Security. He is a registered civil or professional engineer in several states. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Isenberg received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from Cambridge University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar.
DONALD B. BIVENS is an Independent Refrigerant Applications Consultant, retired from his former position as Senior Technology Fellow from DuPont Fluoroproducts. At DuPont, his research focused on flurocarbons alternatives, particularly for refrigeration and air conditioning and the reduction of building greehhouse emissions through integrated approaches to design, systems, and operations. Dr. Bivens received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
JOSEPH P. COLACO (NAE) is president of CBM Engineering Inc, a structural engineering consulting firm. He has served as the principle in charge of many tall buildings and other major construction projects including the Texas commerce Tower, Houston, Tex., Two Prudential Plaza, Chicago, Ill., Lake Robbins Bridge, the Woodlands, Tex., and the Guoman Hotel/Office building, Kuala Lumpur, among others. Structural designs of tall concrete, steel and composite buildings are his primary interests. In this area, his focus is on the development of new structural systems that are cost-effective and constructable. He is also very involved in technology transfer to third world countries. He is a visiting lecturer at the University of Houston School of Architecture and has also lectured at Rice University. Dr. Colaco received an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois.
MEREDITH B. COLKET, III is a Senior Fellow in the Thermal and Fluid Sciences Department of United Technologies Research Center, where he has been employed for 31 years. He is an internationally known expert on the gas-phase kinetics of hydrocarbon fuels, on fuel pre-processing, probe phenomena, diagnostics for combustion-derived pollutants, and soot formation. Recently, he has led development of new physics-based tools for simulation of combustion phenomena, including emissions, in combustors and ignition of military augmentors. In addition, he has been helping to develop technologies for detection of toxic gases, fire suppression, and burner control. He has been awarded 6 patents, and has been Principal Investigator/Program Manager for a variety of government contracts, including four funded by AFOSR and two by AFRL He has participated as member in a variety of panels for DOE, NSF, NRC, AIAA, and NASA. This past year he was a colloquium Chair for the 32nd International Symposium on Combustion. He is currently a member of the Executive Board of the Combustion Institute, an associate editor for Combustion Science and Technology, is the task leader for the Jet Fuels Surrogate Working Group, sponsored by AFOSR, and is a member of a review committee for the Implications of Natural Gas Interchangeability for the California Energy Commission. Dr. Colket earned a Ph.D. in Aerospace and Mechanical Sciences from Princeton University.
CARLOS FERNÁNDEZ-PELLO is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He also serves as an Associate Dean in the Graduate Division at Berkeley, where he oversees the Graduate Diversity Program, the American Indian Graduate Program, Graduate Division’s academic services, fellowships, publications, and websites. His research interests are in combustion, heat and mass transfer, microgravity combustion, micro and meso-scale combustion, ignition and flame propagation, smouldering and transition to flaming combustion. While he has research experience in several topics of combustion, he is known for his contributions in three main topics: Flame spread over solid fuels, smouldering combustion and microscale combustion. Dr. Fernández-Pello has served as the Principal Investigator for dozens of projects sponsored by a wide range of institutions: US NASA Space Flight Program, DARPA, the European Space Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Spanish Ministry for Industry and Technology, the French and the Italian Centers for National Research, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Japan New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, the U.S. Army Research Office, and Osaka Gas. He is a Fellow of the Spanish Royal Academy of Engineering, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Combustion Institute, the International Association for Fire Safety Science, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Dr. Fernandez-Pello received a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, an M.Sc. degree at U.C. San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics and Engineering Science from University of California, San Diego.
GERALD G. FULLER (NAE) is a Fletcher Jones II Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. He is currently in the Chemical Engineering Department Chair at Stanford, and a participant in Stanford's CPIMA—a joint venture with the University of California and IBM. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his contributions to the understanding of the rheology of complex fluids and fluid interfaces and the development of unique rheo-optical techniques. Dr. Fuller has also authored a textbook on the optical rheometry of complex fluids. He earned a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary, an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Caltech.
ERIC GUILLAUME is Research and Development Manager of Tests Direction within the Fire Safety Studies Department at the Laboratoire National de Metrologie et d’essais (LNE) in Paris, France. He is a fire expert involved in various missions, including teaching, standardization and regulation, fire toxicity and modelling fire behavior of materials. He formerly led the Fire Behavior Department of the French Railway. He is also convenor of standardization committees that concern fire models for toxicity testing, smoke opacity and corrosivity of plastics. He earned a D.U.T. in the Department of Physical Measurements in the Université de Lorraine and a M.Sc. and Engineering degree in Chemical Process Technology from the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.
TIMOTHY G. GUTKOWSKI is Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research areas include sustainable manufacturing, design and manufacturing for the environment, remanufacturing and energy savings, energy use in microelectronics manufacturing, material efficiency, and resources used in manufacturing. Dr. Gutkowski received a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin, an M.S. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
MICHAEL R. JAHADI is Technical Fellow at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. He is responsible for the identification and prioritization of new technologies in support of product design manufacturing and analysis of all CAD/CAM/CAE related research and development activities within LM Aeronautics and across Lockheed Martin Corporation. He has more than 24 years of experience in engineering disciplines related to design, analysis and CAD/CAM/CAE engineering and system integration, as well as supervising/implementing and managing the development of advanced CAD/CAM systems and methods, long-range planning, and providing technical lead and direction for the CAD/CAM activities in support of all programs at LM Aero-Fort Worth. Dr. Jahadi holds a B.S. and M.S. in Structural Engineering from Mississippi State University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Methodist University.
RICHARD G. LITTLE is a private consultant in infrastructure policy and a Visiting Research Scholar in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute working on issues of disaster preparedness and community resilience. He was formerly Director of the Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy in the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California where he researched and developed policy positions aimed at informing the discussion of infrastructure issues critical to California and the nation. Prior to joining USC, he was Director of the Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment of the National Research Council (NRC) where he directed a program of studies in building and infrastructure research. He has conducted numerous studies dealing with life-cycle management and financing of infrastructure, project management, and hazard preparedness and mitigation and has lectured and published extensively on risk management and decision-making for critical infrastructure. Mr. Little has over forty years’ experience in planning, management, and policy development relating to civil infrastructure, including fifteen years with local government. His comments and positions on infrastructure and public finance issues appear regularly in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times. He has been certified by examination by the American Institute of Certified Planners and is Editor of Public Works Management & Policy. He was elected to the National Academy of Construction in 2008 and appointed to the California Public Infrastructure Advisory Commission in 2009. He received an M.S. in Urban-Environmental Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
MICHAEL F. MCGRATH is currently Vice President of systems and operations analysis at Analytic Services, Inc. he has previously been Vice President for government business at the Sarnoff Corporation, a leading Research and Development company with both commercial and government clients. Prior to joining Sarnoff, Dr. McGrath was the Assistant Deputy under secretary of defense (dual use and commercial programs), where he was responsible for policy, strategies, and programs to help the services and defense agencies make routine use of commercial technologies and industrial capabilities in defense systems. He directed the Commercial Technology Insertion Program, the Commercial Operating and Support Savings Initiative, and DOD's Title III investment program to establish sources for critical materials and technologies. Dr. McGrath also served as the Assistant Director for manufacturing in DARPA's Defense Sciences Office. He was the agency focal point for manufacturing technology and the Program Manager for three DARPA programs (Agile Manufacturing, Electronic Commerce Resource Centers, and Affordable Multi-Missile Manufacturing). He also served in leadership positions for several DOD-wide initiatives to improve manufacturing and reduce the cost of defense systems. Before that, Dr. McGrath was the Director of the DOD CALS Office in the Pentagon, where he guided the Computer-Aided Acquisition and Logistics Support program from its inception. He has also held positions in weapon system logistics planning and management, first at the Naval Air Systems Command and later in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Expertise includes: Military field expert, Federal (DoD) research and development program organization and management. Dr. McGrath holds a B.S. in Space Science and Applied Physics, an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering both from Catholic University, and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from George Washington University.
R. SHANKAR NAIR (NAE) is Senior Vice President with exp U.S. Services Inc. He was formerly a Principal with Teng and Associates in Chicago, RTKL Associates in Baltimore, and Alfred Benesch & Company in Chicago. In 45 years of engineering practice, Dr. Nair has developed the structural designs of many major bridges and buildings, including the longest tied arch in the world and buildings of up to 90 stories in height. Active as a researcher and leader of professional activities, he has published numerous technical papers and has served as Chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat; he is currently chairman of the Committee on Specifications of the American Institute of Steel Construction.  Dr. Nair earned a B.Tech. in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
NABIL NASR is Assistant Provost and Director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability and Director of the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology. Dr. Nabil Nasr is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS), whose mission is to deliver innovative educational programs in sustainability and to conduct related world-class research. He is also responsible for the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies (CIMS) a technology development and transfer arm of GIS. He founded the National Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery (NC3R) at RIT, a leading source of applied research and solutions in remanufacturing technologies. NC3R and CIMS at Rochester Institute of Technology serve as resources for remanufacturers, original equipment manufacturers, and government agencies. Dr. Nasr’s background is in sustainable production, remanufacturing, clean production, and sustainable product development. For over 23 years Dr. Nasr has been a leader in the research and development efforts in his field. He has developed strong ties to industry through efforts to implement and improve sustainable design processes at hundreds of companies from diverse sectors. Dr. Nasr earned a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Rutgers University.
S. SHANKARA SASTRY (NAE) is Dean of the College of Engineering and Professor of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the Director of the Richard C. Blum Center for Developing Economies, and the Director and PI of NSF Science and Technology Center “TRUST:” Team for Research in Ubiquitous Security Technologies. He also holds a Nippon Electronics Corporation (NEC) Distinguished Professorship in the College of Engineering and the Walter A. Haas School of Business. His areas of research are embedded and autonomous software for unmanned systems (especially aerial vehicles), computer vision, computation in novel substrates such as quantum computing, nonlinear and adaptive control, robotic telesurgery, control of hybrid and embedded systems, network embedded systems and software. Most recently he has been concerned with cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection, and has helped establish an NSF Science and Technology Center, TRUST (Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technologies. Dr. Sastry received his Ph.D. in 1981 from the University of California, Berkeley.
SURENDRA P. SHAH (NAE) is Walter P. Murphy Professor Emeritus in the Center for Advanced Cement Based Materials in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northwestern University. Dr. Shah’s research involves connecting microscopic behavior to structural response of concrete. Such bridging of scales is important to develop improved materials, which are tougher, greener and more durable. He has developed innovative nondestructive tools to detect fracture. These include Electronic Laser Speckle Interferometry, and Digital Image Correlation. He has done pioneering research in fiber-reinforced concrete, high-performance concrete, and fracture mechanics of quasi-brittle materials. His current research projects include: carbon nanotube fiber reinforced cement based composites, monitoring in-site properties of concrete at early age using ultrasonic method, computational model for fatigue fracture, utilization of waste material, early age cracking of high-performance concrete, innovative processing and nanotechnology, rheology, and self-compacting concrete. Dr. Shah is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from Cornell University, a B.E. from B.V.M. College, Bombay, and an M.S. from Lehigh University.
E. SARAH SLAUGHTER is President of the Built Environment Coalition. She was formerly the Senior Lecturer and Sustainable Lab Coordinator at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Her research focuses on sustainable and disaster-resilient infrastructure. Dr. Slaughter founded and operated MOCA Systems, Incorporated, a technology firm that developed a construction simulation software system. Prior to establishing MOCA Systems, Dr. Slaughter was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where her research and teaching interests focused on construction engineering and management; building system design and construction; construction innovation; and computer-aided process simulation of construction activities. Dr. Slaughter received an S.B. in Civil Engineering and Anthropology, an S.M. in Technology Policy, and a multidisciplinary Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Departments of Management and Civil Engineering.
SUSAN SMYTH is the Chief Scientist for Global Manufacturing and the Director of the Research and Development Manufacturing Systems Research Lab at General Motors (GM). In this capacity, she directs the creation of GM’s global advanced manufacturing strategies and oversees innovation and implementation of GM’s advanced manufacturing portfolio. Susan is recognized as one of GM’s key strategic technology leaders inside and outside General Motors. She chairs the Technology Leadership Council for Manufacturing at USCAR, the preeminent technical organization for precompetitive automotive technology. She is a member of Northwestern’s Master of Manufacturing Management Executive Governance Council at the Kellogg School of Management, and she is an Executive Advisor to the Tennenbaum Institute at Georgia Tech. She also is the co-Director of Collaborative Research Labs at University of Michigan, MIT, and Shanghai Jiao-Tong University. She was previously the Global Math Process Leader for Manufacturing Engineering, responsible for developing and implementing math-based strategies for GM Manufacturing, driving towards a virtually integrated manufacturing system design. She holds a B.S. in Physics, M.S. in Optoelectronics and Information Technology, and a Ph.D. in Physics.
WILLIAM A. THORNTON (NAE) is a Corporate Consultant with Cives Engineering Corporation. His research interests include the analysis and design of connections for steel structures with an emphasis on the application of first principles to develop and evaluate rational connection design methods and to determine the lower bound capacity of connections in existing structures and the application of current state-of-the-art connection analysis and design procedures to failure analysis. Dr. Thornton is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He received a B.C.E. in Civil Engineering from Manhattan College, an M.S. in Engineering Mechanics from Case Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in Structural Mechanics from Case Western Reserve University.
GALIP ULSOY (NAE) is the C.D. Mote, Jr. Distinguished University Professor and the William Clay Ford Professor of Manufacturing at the University of Michigan. He serves at the University of Michigan as the Director of the Ground Robotics Research Center, and as the Deputy Director of the Engineering Research Center for Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems. Prior to his current assignments, he served as the Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department, the Technical Editor of the “ASME Transactions J. Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control,” and as the Director, Civil and Mechanical Systems Division, National Science Foundation. Dr. Ulsoy has made basic research contributions to the mechanics of axially moving elastic systems (e.g., translating bands, rotating shafts), and to control system design (e.g., adaptive control, state derivative feedback, coupling between modeling and controller design, time-delayed systems) as well as major research contributions to manufacturing systems (e.g., reconfigurable manufacturing, sawing, turning, milling, drilling, robotics, stamping), automotive systems (e.g., accessory drive belts, active suspensions, vehicle lateral control), and other engineering systems (e.g., disk drives, mineral processing operations). Dr. Ulsoy received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and a B.S. degree in Engineering from Swarthmore College.
BRUCE H. VARNER is a Retired Fire Chief of Santa Rosa Fire Department where he served for six years. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Fire Chief in Carrollton, Texas for 12 years. Chief Varner began his fire service career with the Phoenix (Arizona) Fire Department, where he served for 25 years, promoting to the rank of Deputy Chief in 1985. His experience in the fire service includes administration, operations, communications, safety, airport operations, training, fire prevention and investigations. He has taught numerous firefighter training classes throughout the United States and is recognized for his expertise in fire fighter protective clothing. He also serves on the NFPA Technical Correlating Committee on Fire Service Protective Clothing and Equipment, the Safety and Health Committee of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, he is a Fireman’s Fund Heritage Foundation Board Member and a Board Member of the Redwood Empire Dispatch Communications Authority (REDCOM). He also chairs the NFPA Committee on Electronic Safety Equipment for Fire and Emergency Services. He is an active member of the following professional organizations: California State Firefighters Association, California Fire Chiefs Association, Sonoma County Fire Chiefs Association, National Fire Protection Association, Fire Department Safety Officers, International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the Institution of Fire Engineers. Chief Varner holds an Associate in Arts Degree in Fire Science from Phoenix College and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Trinity College.
THERESA WESTON is a Research Fellow with DuPont Building Innovations. As a member of the DuPont™ Building Knowledge Center, Dr. Weston works with industry to develop building envelope systems and construction methods to produce durable, energy efficient and comfortable buildings. Her focus is building envelope performance research and applications of water and air barriers, flashing products and insulation. In addition to this research, Dr. Weston manages DuPont Building Innovations advocacy related to building codes, energy codes and standards. Today, Dr. Weston leads building science and construction technology research for DuPont Building Innovations. She has developed and introduced many new products and is an inventor of four U.S. patents. Dr. Weston is also active in publishing technical papers and presenting at construction industry and building science conferences. Her areas of expertise include: water management in building assemblies; energy efficiency, durability of buildings and the built environment; sustainable/green building and building and energy codes. Dr. Weston participates extensively in industry research programs and in standards and codes development. Dr. Weston received a B. S. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Masters and Doctorate degrees in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.
RYAN B. WICKER is Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director and Founder of the W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation at the University of Texas, El Paso, where he also holds the endowed Mr. and Mrs. MacIntosh Murchison Chair in Engineering. The Keck Center represents a world-class research facility that focuses on the use and development of additive manufacturing technologies for fabricating 3D objects that are plastic, metal, ceramic, of bio-compatible materials, composite materials, or that contain electronics. Major research efforts are underway at the Keck Center in the areas of additive manufacturing technology development; closed-loop process control strategies for additive manufacturing; additive manufacturing of various powder metal alloy systems; and 3D structural electronics in which electronics, and thus intelligence, are fabricated within additive manufacturing-fabricated mechanical structures. Dr. Wicker earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.
JIANSHUN (JENSEN) ZHANG is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in Syracuse University’s L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (LCS) and Director of SU’s Building Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES) Laboratory. His areas of expertise include: heat, air, moisture and pollutant transport; indoor air quality, material pollutant emissions, air filtration/purification and ventilation; integrated design and intelligent control of building energy and environmental systems. He has developed advanced experimental methods and apparatus, computer simulation models and environmental control technologies. Dr. Zhang teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in HVAC system design and analysis; building environmental systems measurements, control, modeling and simulations; and heat and mass transfer. Dr. Zhang earned B.S. and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Engineering from the Beijing Agricultural Engineering University and a Ph.D. in Built Energy and Envinromental Systems from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
STEVE J. ZINKLE (NAE) is Governor’s Chair Professor in the Nuclear Engineering Department with a joint appointment in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Prior to October, 2013, he was the Chief Scientist of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate and a Corporate Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Much of his research has utilized materials science to explore fundamental physical phenomena that are important for advanced nuclear energy applications. His research interests include deformation and fracture mechanisms in structural materials and investigation of radiation effects in ceramics, fuel systems, and metallic alloys for fusion and fission energy systems. He previously served as the Director of the ORNL Materials Science and Technology Division from 2006 - 2010, and in a variety of Research Scientist and program management roles since he joined ORNL as a Eugene Wigner fellow. Dr. Zinkle received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering and an M.S. in Materials Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.