Bahareh Behkam, associate professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the John R. Jones III Faculty Fellowship in Mechanical Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Jones Faculty Fellowship was established in 2006 to acknowledge and reward mid-career faculty who have shown exceptional merit in research, teaching, and service. Jones, a member of the Class of 1967 who earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, is a retired executive of American Electric Power. He has been a member of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board since 1998.

Recipients hold the title of Jones Faculty Fellow for a period of five years.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2008, Behkam is an internationally recognized leader in biohybrid microrobotics. Behkam's research expertise is in micro/nanoscale systems engineering, with a focus on biomedical applications. Her research is highly interdisciplinary and combines knowledge and methodology from engineering and biological sciences to advance fundamental understanding in both disciplines and apply that understanding to develop new technology.

Her lab's current research thrust areas are in (i) bio-hybrid micro/nano-robotics and living machines, and (ii) interfacial mechanics of pathogen-biomaterial and pathogen-host cell interactions. Specific foci include engineering bacterial communities for collaborative task completion, developing a bacteria-based drug delivery platform for cancer therapy, investigating bacterial and fungal adhesion and biofilm formation, and studying mammalian cell migration in multi-cue environments.

She has mentored eight Ph.D., 11 master's, and 45 undergraduate students. Together with her students and collaborators, Behkam has published one book, three book chapters, and more than 60 journal and peer-reviewed conference proceedings papers. Her articles have appeared in such prestigious journals as Advanced Science, ACS Nano, ACS Applied Materials and Interface, Lab on Chip, and ACS Synthetic BiologyThe research work from her laboratory has been awarded the 2012 Adhesion Society Peeble Award, the 2013 ASME-NEMB Aline Best Paper Award, and 2014 ASME-NEMB Best Poser Award, and the 2018 MARSS Best Conference Paper Award.

She was a recipient of the Virginia Tech's College of Engineering Outstanding New Assistant Professor Award in 2012. Her innovative work on bacteria-based cancer therapy resulted in a 2015 National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award.

Behkam received her bachelor's degree from Sharif University of Technology (Iran) and a master's degree and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, all in mechanical engineering.

Share this story