Washington: The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors has named Indian American Roop Mahajan as the Lewis Hester Chair in Engineering. Mahajan is a well known researcher with expertise ranging from nanotechnology to bio-micro-electro-mechanical systems.

With Master's degrees from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, and PhD from Cornell University, Mahajan is a professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science and mechanics in the College of Engineering and director of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech.

The Lewis Hester Chair in Engineering was established in 1989 to recognise excellence in the field of engineering. The professorship is for a five-year period. Mahajan's research interests include biomedical engineering, nanotechnology, humanistic engineering, thermal sciences, artificial neural networks, and robust sustainability.

As the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science's first permanent director, Mahajan led an initiative to position Virginia Tech among the leaders in cutting edge interdisciplinary and trans disciplinary research at the intersection of engineering, physical, life and social Sciences. Its core areas of research – nanoscale science and Engineering, nano-bio interface, cognition and communication, and sustainability -- are geared to generate technologies and solutions for sustainable energy, sustainable water, renewable materials, and national security.

Mahajan has received the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 2003 Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in mechanical engineering. He also received the 2002 ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award and the Subaru Educator of the Year Award in 2002.