Luke Lester, professor and head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the Roanoke Electric Steel Professorship in Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Roanoke Electric Steel Professorship was established in 1976 and is named for a company founded by alumnus John W. Hancock Jr., who earned his bachelor's in mining engineering in 1925, served on the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, chaired the Virginia Tech Foundation Board, and is the namesake of Hancock Hall.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2013 after 19 years at the University of New Mexico, Lester has received $9.8 million in external grants in his career to support his research of photonics. He has published 139 journal articles and more than 280 other publications that have received over 6,500 citations.

Lester has been successful in patenting quantum dot technology and transitioning it to the photonics marketplace. From 2001 to 2003, he raised $11.5M in series A and B venture capital to support the creation of Zia Laser, Inc., a company that he co-founded which licensed the quantum dot intellectual property.

Lester has been recognized as a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and SPIE--the International Society of Optics and Photonics. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, one of the top 10 most cited journals of the IEEE.

Lester teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses and is highly regarded by his students. He has mentored many graduate students who have successfully completed their degrees under his direction and have gone on to highly successful in their careers in both academe and industry. He has supervised or co-supervised 23 Ph.D. students to completion.

He received his bachelor's degree and Ph.D. from Cornell University.

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