WORCESTER, Mass. – May 17, 2008 – Two outstanding members of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) faculty received the Chairman's Exemplary Faculty Prize today during the university’s 140th Commencement exercises. Established in 2007 through the personal philanthropy of Donald K. Peterson ’71, chair of the WPI Board of Trustees and former Chairman and CEO of Avaya Inc., the prize honors WPI faculty members for overall excellence.
Unlike WPI's Board of Trustees Awards, which recognize excellence in particular areas of faculty performance (teaching, research and scholarship, and advising), the Chairman's Exemplary Faculty Prizes recognize and reward faculty members who excel in all relevant areas of faculty performance. “They are true exemplars of the Institute's highest aspirations and most important qualities," WPI President Dennis Berkey noted in announcing the new awards last year.
Two prizes, each in the amount of $10,000, were presented to David S. Adams, professor of biology and biotechnology, and Alexander E. Emanuel, professor of electrical and computer engineering.
Adams was honored, in part, for his ability to seamlessly blend his work as a teacher, advisor, and researcher, “so that teaching becomes a way to ignite student’s passion for learning by exposing them to the frontiers of knowledge, and the research lab becomes a venue for nurturing talent,” his citation notes. Described as a gifted teacher adept at finding everyday examples that make even the most difficult concepts understandable, he received WPI’s Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1990 and the inaugural Board of Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Academic Advising in 2000.
Adams’s research focuses on the genetic and biochemical underpinning of Alzheimer’s disease, and on a class of neuroprotective peptides that may one day help slow or even prevent the brain disorder. His work has resulted in 36 presentations at national and international scientific meetings and 27 refereed publications in high-impact journals. Among those was a seminal 1995 paper in the prestigious international journal Nature that described the development of a transgenic mouse that expresses the amyloid protein believed to play a critical role in the development of Alzheimer’s. The mouse has become the established model for the investigation of the disease and has been cited more than 1,300 times in journal articles.
Also active in faculty governance at WPI (he has served on every major faculty committee and chaired five of them), Adams earned a PhD at the University of Texas and was a postdoctoral fellow at Rockefeller University, with funding from the American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health, before joining the WPI faculty in 1984.
Emanuel joined the WPI faculty in 1974 after holding engineering positions in Israel, Romania, and the United States, including that of senior research and development engineer at High Voltage Engineering in Westborough, Mass. Known as one of the university’s most devoted and passionate educators, he is the only faculty member to have received WPI’s Board of Trustees’ awards for outstanding academic advising, outstanding research and creative scholarship, and outstanding teaching. He has also won his department’s outstanding teaching award several times.
As a researcher, Emanuel has developed an international reputation for his work on power quality, power electronics, electromagnetic design, and high-voltage technology. Much of his groundbreaking work has focused on the effects of voltage and current waveform distortions on electrical systems. He has published nearly 200 articles and is the founder of the International Conference on Harmonics and Power Quality. His many awards and honors include the John Mungenast International Power Quality Award, the Power Systems Instrumentation and Measurement Award, and the R. H. Lee Award from the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Industry Applications Society. He is a Life Fellow of IEEE, a distinction bestowed on just one tenth of one percent of members.
At WPI, he has held both the George Ira Alden Professorship in Engineering and the Weston Hadden Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He holds BSc, MSc, and DSc degrees from the Technion in Israel.