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Julie Chen, professor of mechanical engineering, has agreed to serve as interim vice provost for research, relieving Prof. Partha Chowdhury, who has served in that capacity since February 2007. Chen will hold the position, pending completion of a nationwide search.
Chowdhury will return to teaching and research as professor of physics.
Chen joined the faculty at UMass Lowell in 1997, leaving a faculty position at Boston University. She holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MIT. She is a co-director of the Nano-manufacturing Center at UMass Lowell and co-director of the Advanced Composite Materials and Textile Research Laboratory, and is considered one of the region's leading experts on nanotechnology.
Chen was the program director for materials processing and nanomanufacturing at the National Science Foundation, 2002 ߝ 2004. She was an invited participant in the National Academy of Engineering, Frontiers of Engineering Program (limited to 100 top young engineers) and was invited to testify to the Committee on Science and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives.
About the position of vice provost for research, Chen says, “The vice provost can help advance research and scholarship, lead strategic discussions and promote the campus externally to increase the success of our hard-working faculty and staff. As interim, I will extend the transition to new leadership and research directions, and will foster ongoing endeavors. Good people, strategic use of resources and a supportive environment are all critical to research success.”