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Albert P. Pisano Named Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering

Albert ("Al") P. Pisano, a mechanical engineer from UC Berkeley, begins his term as dean of the Jacobs School on Sept. 1, 2013.

"Al Pisano is one of those rare individuals who is an extremely accomplished engineering educator, researcher, organizational leader and entrepreneur," said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla.

Albert P. Pisano
Albert ("Al") P. Pisano begins his term as dean of the Jacobs School on Sept. 1, 2013.

A self-described "technology polymath," Pisano's research is driven by his passion for developing, mastering and advancing technologies in order to solve problems. Pisano was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2001 for contributions to the design, fabrication, commercialization, and educational aspects of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Micrometer-scale machines with moving parts, MEMS play a central role in Pisano's current efforts to develop sensors that function in harsh and punishing environments such as within gas turbines, geothermal wells, jet engines and tires. One of his new MEMS projects is development of an inexpensive yet rugged sensor system that will predict landslides in the Philippines. Pisano is also developing larger sensors that can be manufactured at extremely low cost and made from sustainably sourced polymers.

Undergraduate engineering education is another of Pisano's passions. Last year, he developed and taught a rapid prototyping class for engineering freshman at UC Berkeley, which gave students hands-on experience at the very start of their college careers.

"We had students building car chassis, truss elements for load and deflection analyses, and viscometers for measuring the viscosity of fluids – all as freshman before they had the prerequisite classes," said Pisano. "Early on as undergraduates, engineering students should have the opportunity to feel what it's like to be an engineer. I look forward to working with the faculty and staff of the Jacobs School to strengthen our undergraduates' hands-on and practical engineering experiences."

At UC Berkeley, Pisano held the FANUC Endowed Chair of Mechanical Systems as well as faculty appointments in both the mechanical engineering department and the electrical engineering and computer sciences department.

Over the 30 years he spent as a professor UC Berkeley, Pisano served as a leader at the department, school and campus level. Positions included chair of the mechanical engineering department; acting dean of UC Berkeley's engineering school; the Founding Faculty Head of the Operational Excellence program office; senior co-Director of the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (an NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center); and Director of the Electronics Research Laboratory (UC Berkeley's largest organized research unit). Pisano also served as a program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Pisano earned his undergraduate ('76) and graduate degrees ('77, '80, '81) in mechanical engineering at Columbia University.

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