Professor Michael Henson has been chosen to serve as the next Department Head of Chemical Engineering (ChE) at UMass Amherst for an initial 3.5-year term, which began on January 3, 2021. As College of Engineering Dean Sanjay Raman said, “Mike has been a strong and steady hand in leading the department as interim head for the past very challenging seven months, and we look forward to working with him to advance the vision and goals of the department and college.”
Associate Professor Jessica Schiffman will continue to serve as the ChE Associate Department Head moving forward.
Dean Raman also said that “I am extremely grateful to Kris Hollot, chair of the search committee, and all the members of the committee for their excellent, thorough, and efficient work in conducting the search process.”
Henson runs the Henson Research Group, which focuses on the development of system-scale dynamic models with applications to biological and particle-related problems.
“Our current activities are concentrated in the domains of microbial biofilms, renewable biofuels and biochemicals, biological timekeeping, and downstream pharmaceutical manufacturing,” explained Henson. “We pursue an integrated experimental-computational approach where designed experiments are performed within the group or with collaborators to generate the necessary data for model development.”
In Henson’s research, validated models are used to understand design principles, predict dynamic behavior, optimize performance, and design system properties. His research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation (NSF), Army Research Office, and others.
Among additional honors, Henson has earned the Career Development Award from the NSF, a Research Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the College of Engineering Outstanding Senior Faculty Award. He was the founding editor-in-chief of Processes, the associate editor of IET Systems Biology, the associate editor of IEEE Life Science Letters, an editorial board member of PeerJ, and the executive director and academic trustee of the CACHE Corporation.
Henson received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara, his M.S. from the University of Texas at Austin, and his B.S. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, all in chemical engineering. (January 2021)