Diana Lados, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the university's Integrative Materials Design Center (iMdc), is one of 20 New England women being honored today by Mass High Tech magazine as Women to Watch. The awards honor women in biotechnology, electronics, IT, medical devices, nanotechnology, software, sustainable energy, and telecommunications for contributions to their fields and leadership in their communities.
A leader in materials science and engineering, Lados recently received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (the agency's most prestigious award for young faculty members) for a study aimed, ultimately, at increasing the use of lightweight metals like aluminum, titanium, and magnesium in cars, trucks, airplanes, boats, and other transportation applications. She was also the only woman on a team of five leaders in her field recently chosen to participate in a Department of Energy program to identify areas where materials science and engineering will shape business opportunities and research in the next decade. She received the 2012 Kalenian Award from WPI's Collaborative for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for her development of novel hybrid materials.
In 2010, she became the first WPI professor selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering's prestigious U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium; participants are nominated by fellow engineers or organizations and selected based on their exceptional engineering research and technical work. Also in 2010, she was awarded the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society's Robert Lansing Hardy Award, which honors young metallurgists who demonstrate "exceptional promise of a successful career in the broad field of metallurgy and materials science." She was named to Foundry Management & Technology magazine's 2009 list of Metalcasting's Next Generation of Future Leaders, and in 2008 she received the Orr Early Career Award and the Orr Best Paper Award from the Materials Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Lados, who joined the WPI faculty in 2006 as a research professor in the university's Metal Processing Institute, earned BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering at Polytechnic University of Bucharest, an MS in mechanical engineering at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and a PhD in materials science and engineering at WPI. She was named an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at WPI in 2007, the year she also established iMdc, a successful industry-government-university research and educational alliance dedicated to advancing the state of the art and practice in sustainable materials-process-component design and manufacturing for high performance, reliability, and recyclability. The center's membership includes some of the world's largest manufacturing companies and several government organizations.
Lados has published more than 50 articles and one book chapter and delivered more than 100 conference and industrial presentations and invited lectures on such topics as design and optimization of materials and processes for fatigue, fatigue crack growth, fracture resistance and fracture mechanics, advanced materials and processes for energy and nuclear applications, solidification processing and heat treatment, and aluminum foundry engineering. In addition to her early career awards, she has received WPI's Sigma Xi Outstanding Junior Faculty Researcher Award, the Axel Madsen Award from the Center for Powder Metallurgy Technology, the Sigma Xi Graduate Research Scientific Award for the best PhD thesis, the American Foundry Society's Aluminum Division Scholarship Award, and the ASM Worcester Chapter Chester M. Inman Award.