Prof cited for one of 2020’s top PNAS research papers

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

A professor at Waterloo Engineering was recently honoured by the National Academy of Sciences of America for research involving a gel-like robot, inspired by sea slugs and snails, that is steerable by light.

Hamed Shahsavan, who joined Waterloo as a professor of chemical engineering last year, was lead author of a paper chosen as a finalist for a Cozzarelli Prize recognizing the top work published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in 2020.

Just one winner and one finalist were selected in each of six categories from more than 3,600 papers that appeared in the journal last year.

Shahsavan, then at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany on a fellowship funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, was the finalist in the engineering and applied sciences class.

He wrote the paper, Bioinspired underwater locomotion of light-driven liquid crystal gels, with colleagues in Finland.

Shahsavan returned as a faculty member after completing both his PhD and his master’s degree in chemical engineering at Waterloo.

His current research interests revolve around the development of a variety of soft, stimuli-responsive, and programmable materials, as well as emerging fabrication strategies for manufacturing small-scale mobile robots and devices.

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