Ishwar K. Puri, professor of mechanical engineering and executive associate dean of engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will become the head of Virginia Tech’s Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics Aug. 1.

"Dr. Puri has worked with some of the strongest mechanics groups in the world," said Hassan Aref, dean of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering. "His enthusiasm for his new job and the tasks at hand has been infectious to the point where I sometimes forget that he is not already here."

Puri obtained his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1982 from the University of Delhi. He received his master's degree and Ph. D. in engineering science from the University of California at San Diego in 1984 and in 1987, respectively.

He served as assistant research engineer at the University of California, San Diego from 1987 until 1990. He then moved to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) as assistant professor of mechanical engineering. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1994, and to full professor in 1999.

At UIC, he directed the mechanical and industrial engineering graduate programs from 1994 until 1997, and again during the1999-2000 academic year. He served as the associate dean for research and graduate studies the following year, and as executive associate dean of engineering from 2001 until 2004. He was on the steering committee of the UIC Institute for Environmental Studies and headed UIC's micro- and nanotechnology initiatives.

Puri has conducted research through major grants from NASA, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), State of Illinois, the natural gas industry, and other industry. He established a European-US consortium to conduct engineering student exchanges at the undergraduate and graduate levels that was funded through the US Department of Education FIPSE program.

He is the author of over 180 archival and conference publications in the field of combustion. He has edited a book on the environmental implications of combustion processes, and a textbook on advanced thermodynamics.

Puri is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was a distinguished guest of the Swiss Leonard Euler Center of the European Research Community of Fluid Turbulence and Combustion in 1998 and 1999. He was a 1993 American Association for the Advancement of Science- EPA Environmental Fellow, a 1992 NASA/Stanford University Center for Turbulence Research Fellow, and a 1991 Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

Puri succeeds Norm Dowling who has served as the interim department head during the international search.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 5,600 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.