Wiesner Named National Academy of Engineering Members

Mark Wiesner, CEINT Director and the James L. Meriam Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been named member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE)—one of the highest professional distinctions for engineers.

Wiesner, who was cited for “contributions to membrane technologies for water treatment and understanding of environmental behavior and risk of nanomaterials,” is one of the 79 new members selected to join the academy in 2015.

“Mark is leading a broad and vigorous international team in the race to explore these new nanomaterials as quickly as they are being invented,” said John Albertson, chair of the civil and environmental engineering department at Duke. “Rather than waiting until environmental impacts have been observed over years, he is leading an approach of anticipating negative impacts before they happen. In the future we will look back at this as a turning point in how environmental engineering research is conducted.”

Wiesner came to Duke in 2006 from Rice University and helped found the Center for the Environmental Impacts of Nanotechnology (CEINT) in 2008, which he now directs. CEINT brings together institutions and researchers from around the world to explore the relationship between a vast array of nanomaterials— from natural, to manufactured, to those produced incidentally by human activities— and their potential environmental exposure, biological effects and ecological impacts.

Wiesner’s own research focuses on membrane processes, nanostructured materials, transport and fate of nanomaterials in the environment, colloidal and interfacial processes, and environmental systems analysis. In 2010, he helped demonstrate that nanomaterials accumulate in living organisms and can become more concentrated the further up the food chain they go, revealing the potential impacts nanotechnology could have on the environment.

“This is, of course, a very special honor,” said Wiesner. “And it’s an honor that reflects the incredible students, colleagues and mentors I have been lucky enough to work with over the years.”

As a NAE member, Wiesner will help carry out the academy’s mission of providing engineering leadership in service to the nation. He joins more than 2,400 peer-elected members and foreign members in the NAE, which serves as an advisor to the federal government and conducts independent studies to examine important topics in engineering and technology.

Membership in the National Academy of Engineering 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.