Jian Cao is the Cardiss Collins Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering, the founding Director of Northwestern Initiative for Manufacturing Science and Innovation (NIMSI), and an associate vice president for research at Northwestern.
As an associate vice president, Cao oversees the strategic direction, new initiatives, and long-term sustainability of the University's core facilities. Several University Research Institutes and Centers report to her, primarily in the physical sciences and engineering. Those centers include the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics, the Materials Research Center, and the Northwestern University Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center. Cao fosters collaboration between the physical sciences and engineering and the other disciplines across and beyond Northwestern, at the national and international stages.
Professor Cao joined Northwestern University in1995. She received her doctoral and master's degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and bachelor's degrees from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. During her tenure at Northwestern, she took a one-year leave at General Motors and a two-year leave at the National Science Foundation as a program director. Professor Cao is an elected Fellow of the International Academy for Production Engineering, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). She is the first woman who received the SME Frederick W. Taylor Research Medal recognizing her contributions to innovative manufacturing processes and systems. She has published more than 150 journal articles and holds more than 10 US patents. She is the editor-in-chief of ASME Journal of Micro- and Nano-manufacturing.
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