Shashank Priya, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering at Virginia Tech, and director of the Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems, a partnership between Virginia Tech and the University of Texas at Dallas, recently received a five-year Turner Fellowship.
Priya joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 2007 and immediately received an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award. He became a member of the university's Center for Intelligent Materials Systems and Structures, and currently serves as its associate director.
In 2008, Priya received the Office of Naval Research Multi University Research Initiative Award titled "Jellyfish Autonomous Node and Colonies." This five-year program comprises of team members from Virginia Tech, Stanford University, University of Texas at Dallas, University of California at Los Angeles, and Providence College.
Priya is leading this large team of researchers to develop fundamental understanding of jellyfish locomotion and to design unmanned vehicles based upon their findings.
In 2011, Priya and Nicholas Thayer, also at Virginia Tech, were credited with developing a human hand that is capable of performing human tasks. They called it a dexterous anthropomorphic robotic typing hand or DART.
This year, Priya founded the annual "Virginia Energy Summit" with a focus on developing partnerships with industry and state and federal agencies to strengthen the role of Virginia in the energy sector.
The Indian American researcher received his bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics from Allahabad University of India in 1995, a master's degree in metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Science in 2000, and his doctorate in materials engineering from Penn State in 2003.