2015 Withrow Distinguished Scholar—Junior Award


March 24, 2015 

The 25th anniversary of the Engineering Awards Luncheon celebrated teachers, scholars and service on March 19 at the University Club of Michigan State University. 

Leo Kempel, dean of the College of Engineering, welcomed all of the guests and congratulated the winners of some of the college’s most prestigious awards.The 25th Annual Engineering Awards ceremony honored (front) A. Pouyan Nejadhashemi, Lindsay Niesen, Abdol-Hossein Esfahanian, Subir Biswas, and Carmellia Davis-King, and (back) Rigoberto Burgueno, Neil Wright, Hayder Radha, and Lixin Dong. Missing from photo is Thomas Bieler.

Withrow Teaching Excellence Awards honor faculty teaching, advising and mentoring skills. One faculty member is selected from each academic unit, based primarily on nominations from students.  

Distinguished Scholar Junior Award

Lixin Dong, (Group photo, 1st from right) assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is recognized internationally as one of the top researchers in nanorobotics in the world. Since joining MSU in 2008, following a very successful research appointment at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, he has established a top-notch and vibrant research group, which has become a crucial part of the international nanorobotic network. As the head of the nanorobotics group at ETH, he directed the team that invented the first nanoscale linear servomotor. His outstanding research combines expertise in a number of diverse fields of nanotechnology, microsystem technology, physics, microscopy, and robotics, and addresses the most difficult problems of characterization and handling at the nanoscale level. His team made some fundamental contributions, including the first nanoscale linear servomotor, and received the best new application award from the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering in 2008. 

He has a very strong international reputation, and has collaborated with researchers from around the world. As one letter of support notes, “What puts Dr. Dong above most of his peers is his ability to direct large collaborative research projects, and especially his open mind for visionary research work across different disciplines and with high potential impact on society.” 

His awards include the prestigious NSF CAREER Award in 2011, and the IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering Googol Best New Application Paper Award in 2007. He has published 80 journal papers, including 32 since coming to MSU, many of which are in high-impact factor journals. He has also written 18 book chapters, 65 reviewed conference papers and 54 reviewed conference abstracts. He was described in a 2005 survey paper as being responsible for a significant portion of publications in the field of robotic nanomanipulation. His papers have received over 1500 ISI citations (with h-index of 20) and more than 3,000 Google Scholar citations (with h-index of 25). His work has also received extensive attention in the popular press, including BBC News, Scientific American, Science News, and other media. He has taught both undergraduate and graduate level courses, and has mentored three PhD students at MSU. One of his doctoral students received first place in the 2014 Fitch H. Beach Awards for outstanding graduate research in the College of Engineering, as well as the 2014 Outstanding Graduate Achievement Award in the ECE department.

He actively engages in professional services within the international research community. He has chaired, co-chaired, and been a committee member on numerous symposia, conferences and workshops focusing on nanotechnology and devices. He is a senior member of IEEE, and serves on several IEEE committees focusing on robotics, nanotechnology and automation. He is also a representative of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, a member of the executive board of the 3M-NANO International Society, and an active member of several professional societies. Internationally recognized as a leader in the field of nanorobotics, his innovative research has increased the stature of nanosystems researchers at MSU, and he is a worthy recipient of the Withrow Distinguished Scholar Award. 

Award Description: 
Distinguished Scholar Junior Award
Electrical and Computer Engineering