Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Faculty Lauded

Annual Trustee Celebration of Faculty Achievement celebrates successes and honors

December 7, 2016

Protein engineering expert Peter Tessier, the Richard Baruch M.D. Career Development Professor and Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, was the keynote speaker at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s 2016 Trustee Celebration of Faculty Achievement on Dec. 1 in the auditorium of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. The annual event is an opportunity to recognize the outstanding contributions and achievements of Rensselaer’s faculty members.

Tessier is also a member of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer. His research focuses on designing, developing, and optimizing a class of large therapeutic proteins, or antibodies, that hold great potential for detecting and treating human disorders ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. His research interests include designing antibodies for detecting and treating Parkinson’s and others diseases, redesigning therapeutic antibodies to increase their stability and efficacy, and identifying and optimizing small molecule compounds to inhibit toxic protein aggregation associated with Alzheimer’s disease. He spoke about “New Drugs for Treating Old Diseases.”

Following Tessier’s lecture, President Shirley Ann Jackson, Provost Prabhat Hajela, and Arthur Gajarsa ’62, chairman of the Rensselaer Board of Trustees, recognized and honored 99 faculty members for their national and international achievements. A dinner followed at the Heffner Alumni House.

“It is very gratifying to see that the world recognizes the excellence of the community we have assembled—which has only grown more excellent over time, as our faculty generously learn from each other, even as they teach their students; collaborate across the disciplines; and, together, address very great challenges,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson in her remarks.

“Today, we celebrate our faculty for the awards and accolades they have received—and for the honor they bring to Rensselaer as a whole,” she continued. “We also honor those members of our faculty who are moving their discoveries and innovations toward commercialization, so that they can be applied to the common purposes of life. We honor our faculty members for their outstanding teaching—for the many individual ways that they share their knowledge with our students, and inspire them to contribute to the world in their turn. They make a Rensselaer education truly special. And, wWe celebrate our faculty for their public service, ranging from the National Council on the Humanities to the Brunswick Central Schools District Board of Education. In every arena, our faculty do lead—and do change the world.”

Rensselaer is home to nearly 500 faculty members, of whom 342 are tenured or tenure-track. The faculty includes National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award winners, members of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and other eminent professionals.

Research at Rensselaer fulfills the vision of The New Polytechnic, an emerging paradigm for higher education which recognizes that global challenges and opportunities are so great they cannot be adequately addressed by even the most talented person working alone. Rensselaer serves as a crossroads for collaboration—working with partners across disciplines, sectors, and geographic regions—to address complex global challenges, using the most advanced tools and technologies, many of which are developed at Rensselaer. Research at Rensselaer addresses some of the world’s most pressing technological challenges—from energy security and sustainable development to biotechnology and human health. The New Polytechnic is transformative in the global impact of research, in its innovative pedagogy, and in the lives of students at Rensselaer.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America’s first technological research university. For nearly 200 years, Rensselaer has been defining the scientific and technological advances of our world. Rensselaer faculty and alumni represent 84 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 17 members of the National Academy of Science, 25 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 8 members of the Institute of Medicine, 5 members of the National Academy of Inventors, and 4 members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, as well as a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With 7,000 students and nearly 100,000 living alumni, Rensselaer is addressing the global challenges facing the 21st century—to change lives, to advance society, and to change the world. For more information, please visit  

Written By SCER Staff
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