H. Clay Gabler, professor and chair for biomedical engineering graduate studies in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been awarded the Samuel Herrick Professorship by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Samuel Herrick Professorship in the College of Engineering was established with proceeds from the sale of land donated in 1986 by Betulia Herrick, wife of Samuel Herrick, to honor her late husband, a founder of the field of astrodynamics, who advanced the field of space exploration. The professorship recognizes excellence in teaching and research. Recipients hold it for a period of five years.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2005, Gabler’s early research focused on rocket fuel ignition and propulsion. From there he pioneered research into vehicle crash survivability and data surveillance systems.

Most recently, his research is focused on efforts in autonomous space exploration. He has received more than $32 million in external funding for these projects.

Gabler has written more than 70 peer-reviewed journal papers and more than 150 conference papers. His work has been cited 1,796 times.

Gabler has been elected a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers, a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He has also received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Fellowship.

As the founding graduate program chair for biomedical engineering, Gabler has grown the program from one Ph.D. student in 2005 to more than 150 Ph.D. students in 2015.  He personally supervised seven Ph.D. and 15 master’s degree students in addition to 30 undergraduate research projects.

Gabler earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Princeton University.

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