Alumna Van Truskett Wins Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award

Head shot of alumna Van Truskett who won a 2016 Edit and Peter O'Donnell AwardThe Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (TAMEST) has named alumna Van Truskett (B.S. ‘96) as a 2016 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award recipient.

The Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards recognize rising Texas researchers who are addressing the essential role that science and technology play in society, and whose work meets the highest standards of performance, creativity, and resourcefulness.

A TAMEST video focused on Truskett’s work will be premiered Jan. 21, 2016, when the awards will be presented during a banquet celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards.

The 2016 awards recipients are:

TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION: Van N. Truskett, Ph.D., ‎Director of Jetting Technology at Canon Nanotechnologies, Inc., is recognized for her impactful body of work in science, inventorship, and engineering on some of the most fundamental and important problems for enabling nanoscale manufacturing in semiconductors, hard disk drives, and flexible films for display applications.

Truskett received her Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University and B.S. from The University of Texas at Austin, with both degrees in chemical engineering. Her Ph.D. focused on the patterning of small particles using interfacial flows driven by surfactant enhanced Marangoni-Bénard instabilities. To this day, she is still working on patterning, but just on a much smaller length scale.

Previously, Dr. Truskett worked for an equipment manufacturing start-up called Molecular Imprints, Inc. (MII) for 12 years. The semiconductor business of MII was acquired by Canon, Inc. of Japan in 2014 and is now known as Canon Nanotechnologies, Inc. Dr. Truskett developed multiple innovations in drop-on-demand (DOD) dispense methods to enable the production of MII’s and CNT’s industry-leading, high-resolution, low cost-of-ownership nanoimprint lithography systems for hard disk drives, semiconductor, and flat panel display applications.

Dr. Truskett has 71 patents (15 U.S. and 56 international). These patents not only constitute the company’s core jetting technology, but have guided the design and manufacture of every related part of MII’s and CNT’s nanoimprinting process. These patents underlie foundational jetting technologies for MII’s and CNT’s next generation of nanoimprint lithography tools. Dr. Truskett’s work has taken jetting technology from scholarship to practice in the U.S. and Asia, enabling a novel path for lower production costs for the semiconductor industry. Dr. Truskett is the recipient of the 2014 Industrial Research & Development Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

ENGINEERING: Dr. Andrea Alù, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, has made a number of groundbreaking, highly-cited and recognized contributions to science and engineering. These contributions include seminal work on cloaking and invisibility, pioneering advances in optical nanocircuits and nanoantennas, magnetic-free non-reciprocal devices for sound, radio-waves and light, and giant nonlinear response in optical metamaterials.

MEDICINE: Joshua Mendell, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, received the award for pioneering work on the functions of noncoding RNAs in cancer and tissue regeneration. Using a mouse model of liver cancer, his team found that delivery of one non-coding RNA called miR-26a dramatically inhibited cancer progression and killed liver cancer cells without harming nearby healthy cells.

SCIENCE: Alessio Figalli, Ph.D., professor of mathematics at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Figalli’s mathematical work has tackled questions of optimization related to the most economical way to transport and distribute goods or resources. Recently, his work has been applied in meteorology to describe how clouds evolve over time, a discovery that contributes to better models of complex climate phenomena.

“The recipients of the 2016 O’Donnell Awards illustrate the cutting edge research now taking place in the Lone Star State in medicine, engineering, mathematics, and advanced manufacturing,” said Kenneth E. Arnold, TAMEST’s 2015 President. “The remarkable achievements of these young scientists and the growing number of accomplished nominees in each award category are further evidence that Texas has become a world-class destination for scientific research.”

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the O’Donnell Awards and this important milestone will be celebrated at the annual awards dinner and reception. Over $1 million has been awarded to 44 recipients in the categories of medicine, engineering, science and technology innovation since the inception of the program. The awards are named in honor of Edith and Peter O’Donnell who are among Texas’ staunchest advocates for excellence in scientific advancement and STEM education.

The recipients will be honored during the O’Donnell Awards Dinner in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, January 21, 2016, in conjunction with the TAMEST 2016 Annual Conference.

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