McKelvey School of Engineering

Genin named inaugural Faught Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Guy Genin, who was installed as the Harold & Kathleen Faught Professor of Mechanical Engineering Feb. 12 at the Knight Center, presented a lecture on "Mechanobiology: Understanding and Controlling Force in Living Systems." (Photo: Whitney Curtis/Washington University)

From the WashU Newsroom

Guy Genin, an internationally renowned expert in mechanobiology, was installed as the Harold and Kathleen Faught Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis Feb. 12.

Genin, professor of mechanical engineering, studies interfaces and adhesion in nature, physiology and engineering. His research focuses on mechanobiology and aims to understand and harness the role of force in living systems. His group works on pathologies whose underpinnings have an important mechanical component, including cardiac fibrosis and pathologies of interfaces in the body.

The professorship was made possible through a bequest from the late Harold Faught. He was a longtime friend and volunteer for the School of Engineering & Applied Science, serving on the National Council for nearly a decade.

“I am so pleased to have this professorship, which allows us to recognize Guy Genin’s impressive work in the School of Engineering & Applied Science and to honor the Faughts,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “Harold Faught was a dedicated volunteer and generous benefactor, and it is wonderful to know that future generations of engineering students and faculty will benefit from his contributions.”

“Professor Genin’s research is at the forefront of mechanobiology and investigates everything living from plants to humans,” said Aaron F. Bobick, dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science and the James M. McKelvey Professor. “Mechanobiology processes underlie so many biological and medical domains, including how cancer cells move as they metastasize to how plants resist damage from external forces. Therefore, the work in Guy’s lab has nearly limitless potential, ranging from stopping cancer cells from spreading to developing hardier crops and more sustainable growing methods that could boost food production. We are grateful to Harold Faught for his foresight to support such groundbreaking research.”

Genin also applies his techniques to the study of interfaces within plants with the overall goal of finding ways to manipulate plants using mechanical force. Genin is Washington University’s principal investigator for a five-year, $25 million National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center grant focused on this area. This center, formed in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania and named the NSF Center for Engineering Mechanobiology, aims to develop mechanobiology into an established discipline and produce a new generation of scientific leaders.

He also is known for his work in innovation and entrepreneurship. He is chief engineer for Washington University’s Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology and has spun out two companies and produced several licensed patents.

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