Dennis Discher Elected to National Academy Of Engineering
Dennis E. Discher, the Robert D. Bent Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his accomplishments in "elucidation of the effects of mechanical forces on cell physiology and stem cell development."
Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature," and to the "pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."
Discher joined Penn Engineering in 1996 following a postdoctoral position as a U.S. National Science Foundation International Fellow at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, for studies of cell membrane physics and splicoform function.
Discher holds secondary appointments in Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, and he is a member of the Graduate Groups in Cell and Molecular Biology, Pharmacology, and Physics.
Discher is a leading scholar in soft matter and physicochemical approaches to cell and molecular biology. He has coauthored more than 150 publications with over 10,000 citations that range in topic from matrix elasticity effects on stem cells and mass spectrometry approaches to protein folding to self-assembling polymers applied to disease, with papers in Science, Cell, PNAS, and Nature Nanotechnology. His group’s paper on stem cells in Cell is a notable top-5 cited paper over the last 5 years for the journal. In 1999, Dr. Discher was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from the National Science Foundation, designating him as one of the nation’s most promising scientists and engineers. Additional honors and service include the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award from Germany’s Humboldt Foundation and membership on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science.