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Jeffrey Davis Takes over as New Head of Chemical Engineering Department

Jeffrey Davis

Jeffrey Davis

Professor Jeffrey M. Davis of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department has been appointed the new head of ChE. Davis takes over for ChE Associate Professor Jessica Schiffman, who has done an outstanding job as acting department head for the past academic year.

Among other major awards, Davis has earned a prestigious Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, an important National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a UMass Amherst Distinguished Teaching Award, and a UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow Award.

The UMass Distinguished Teaching Award is the highest honor on campus for classroom excellence, and the Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow program is designed to prepare future campus leaders. Davis has also garnered another prominent honor from UMass Amherst, the Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activities.

A partial list of other honors received by Davis includes the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award and the Outstanding Teacher Award from the College of Engineering, a Lilly Teaching Fellowship, and a 3M Nontenured Faculty Award.

Davis also won several fellowships and prizes from his two alma maters: a George Van Ness Lothrop Honorific Fellowship and a Gordon Y. S. Wu Fellowship in Engineering from Princeton University; and the Roger de Friez Hunneman Prize in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Davis earned his M.A. (2001) and Ph.D. (2003) from Princeton and his B.S. from MIT in 1999.

During his time at UMass Amherst, Davis has made significant contributions to the dynamics of thin liquid films on heterogeneous surfaces, interfacial flows, hydrodynamic stability, and microscale flows involving the dynamic interaction of microparticles with nano-textured surfaces.

Davis conducts research in the general area of physical applied mathematics, with applications primarily in fluid mechanics and transport phenomena. The focus of his research is the development and solution of mathematical models to provide a fundamental understanding of the underlying physics. A significant area of interest has been microscale fluid dynamics involving heterogeneous surfaces for which interfacial effects are important.

As Davis explains, “For liquid films, this heterogeneity can result from chemical patterning, topographical variations, and differential heating of the substrate, all of which lead to significant deviations from fluidic behavior on uniform surfaces. Flows over these non-uniform surfaces are crucial to applications that include microfluidic analytical devices and sensors, micro-electro-mechanical systems, and micro-fabrication processes.”

Another example involves the dynamics of particles in flow over surfaces with nanoscale heterogeneity that form the basis for biomimetic sensors.

The interest of Davis in these areas was piqued by an undergraduate course in fluid mechanics at MIT. The instructor, Professor Howard Brenner, subsequently acted as a mentor as Davis completed an undergraduate thesis, a course in interfacial transport processes, and several other graduate courses in transport phenomena while maintaining a perfect GPA at MIT.

Davis furthered his expertise in interfacial flows by studying with Professor Sandra Troian at Princeton.

Much of Davis’ current research is focused on blood flow through capillary networks and tissue and related subjects in biofluid dynamics. He has also been writing a series of books that integrate computation into the teaching of fluid mechanics and heat and mass transfer. (June 2022)