Subra Suresh 2011
MS '79, Mechanical Engineering
After a distinguished career in academia, Subra Suresh was nominated and confirmed as the director of the National Science Foundation in summer 2010. NSF is a federal government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all non-medical fields of science and engineering. With an annual budget of nearly $7 billion, NSF funds approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by U.S. colleges and universities.
Prior to becoming director of NSF, Suresh was on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for more than three decades. In addition to being the Vannevar Bush Professor of Engineering, he served as dean of the MIT School of Engineering from 2007 until his recent NSF appointment. Suresh’s work at MIT as a researcher, educator, and academic administrator across a wide range of engineering disciplines has been recognized by academic and professional organizations around the world. During his tenure as dean, Suresh oversaw the recruitment of more than 50 new faculty members to the School of Engineering, attracting high numbers of women and under-represented minorities, and helped launch several important new program initiatives.
Trained as a mechanical engineer, Suresh has made dramatic contributions to a range of fields in engineering and science. He has expanded his research interests to encompass materials, nanotechnology, and the life sciences. Most recently, he has done extensive work on the red blood cell and its nanobiomechanical properties as they influence a variety of diseases. Suresh has made significant advances and created a range of new experimental methodologies to unravel the inner workings of diseases such as malaria.
The author of more than 220 research articles in international journals, Suresh is the co-editor of five books and co-inventor on more than a dozen U.S. and international patents. He received his bachelor of technology degree and ScD from the Indian Institute of Technology. He was on the faculty at Brown University before joining MIT.
Suresh is the recipient of the 2007 European Materials Medal, the highest honor conferred by the Federation of European Materials Societies, and the 2006 Acta Materialia Gold Medal. He has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2006, Technology Review magazine selected Suresh’s work on nanobiomechanics as one of the top 10 emerging technologies that “will have a significant impact on business, medicine, or culture.”
Suresh is married to Mary Suresh.