New Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Adam Ekenseair
Dr. Adam Ekenseair joined the Department of Chemical Engineering faculty in the summer of 2013. He grew up in Northwest Arkansas and received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Arkansas in 2005. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was both a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow. In graduate school, he studied non-Fickian penetrant transport dynamics in glassy polymers, and went on to develop novel injectable, in situ forming, hydrogel-based scaffolds for the repair of craniofacial bone tissue defects as a postdoctoral fellow at Rice University in Houston, TX.
Dr. Ekenseair was impressed by Northeastern’s commitment to the Department of Chemical Engineering and specifically to his area of research: Biomaterials for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. The potential for collaborative research within the department, university, and surrounding research hospitals, medical schools, and academic institutions was also a huge draw. Dr. Ekenseair’s research will fit into the Department’s initiative to develop novel biomaterials for applications in drug delivery, tissue engineering, biological and cellular engineering, and regenerative medicine. He brings expertise in the creation of novel polymer-based biomaterials for use as drug delivery vehicles, scaffolds for tissue regeneration, and minimally invasive injectable therapies. He also carries knowledge of additive manufacturing to create 3D-printed biomaterial constructs to guide tissue regeneration in a spatiotemporal manner, and serve as novel environments in which to study cell-material interactions.
At Northeastern, Dr. Ekenseair sees himself contributing to both the encouragement of innovation through research and the advancement of generations of chemical engineers through teaching. He does not see research and teaching as mutually exclusive, but rather believes that the research laboratory can be “the ultimate teaching environment”. He feels that educating and inspiring others greatly augments a researcher’s impact on the world of science and engineering. Dr. Ekenseair has a strong background in involving undergraduates in research activities and hopes to take on 1-2 undergraduate students and 1-2 graduate students this academic year. He expects them to have a commitment to scientific discovery, to develop into independent researchers, and to communicate results through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.
Dr. Ekenseair is interested in teaching the fundamental chemical engineering courses as well as developing and teaching courses in polymer science, biomaterials, scaffolds for tissue engineering, advanced mass transport, and mass transport in polymers. He strives to make the subject matter exciting and accessible and to develop students’ problem solving and communication skills through technical writing and presentation.
Aside from research and education, Dr. Ekenseair spends most of his free time with his family. He enjoys reading, playing racquetball, and visiting museums and historical sites.