September 28, 2006

Case Western Reserve University's Alexis Abramson joins Nortech Fellows Program

Case School of Engineering professor to spur the Northeast Ohio economic development organization's nanotechnology efforts

Alexis Abramson

NorTech, Northeast Ohio's technology-based economic development leader, announced today that Alexis R. Abramson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve University and a nationally-known leader in nanotechnology research, will join the NorTech Fellows Program effective September 1.

The recently-created Fellows Program is designed to bolster NorTech's economic development outreach efforts, and foster stronger ties with the region's industry and academic institutions. The unique arrangement allows NorTech to enlist talented individuals and leverage their business and academic expertise to build next generation, economy-sustaining technology industries in Northeast Ohio.

During the year-long program, Abramson, who earned her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 2002, will use her considerable knowledge and expertise in the field of nanotechnology and focus her efforts on two main areas:

  • Work with companies in the region to educate them about nanotechnology and explore the possibilities of using nanotechnology as part of their business model to increase productivity and stimulate innovation
  • Serve as co-director of the Nano-Network, a nanotechnology-focused educational and networking organization based in Northeast Ohio

Abramson will spend 75 percent of her time with NorTech and the remaining 25 percent of her time will be spent on advancing her research in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Case School of Engineering.

"The nanotechnology outreach and consulting program that Alexis will spearhead for us is unlike anything else in the U.S.," said Chris Mather, vice president of NorTech and executive director of the Nano-Network. Mather continued, "It will have dramatic effects on Northeast Ohio's traditional manufacturers' ability to use nanotechnology to improve their business, put them ahead of their competitors worldwide, and drive our region forward in the nanotechnology race."

"Dr. Abramson's work with NorTech over the next year will continue to build on Case's strength in nanotechnology-related research and projects as well as the region's core strengths in materials, medicine and manufacturing," said Robert F. Savinell, dean and George S. Dively Professor of Engineering at Case. "This opportunity will also allow others outside the traditional academic setting to benefit from her expertise in nanoscience research and its applications in the business sector. Dr. Abramson has been and will continue to be a valuable asset to Case and to our engineering students."

Abramson holds a secondary appointment in Case's department of electrical engineering and computer science, and focuses her research in the general area of nanotechnology, spanning from micro/nanoscale radiation components to understanding and manipulating nanoscale energy transport in materials. She has also been involved in biomimetic research to explore how the natural world has taken advantage of specific nanoscale phenomena. An author of a number of publications in her research field, Abramson also has been involved in various engineering outreach programs and has a dedicated interest in improving science and engineering education for all ages. Abramson also had industry experience and was a mechanical engineer for Sverdup Corporation from 1995-1997. She is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Materials Research Society.

"Innovation drives economic growth, and nanotechnology may be the stimulus to propel innovation forward in Northeast Ohio," Abramson said. "To stimulate innovation using nanotechnology will require education, communication and collaboration among researchers, businesses and government. I hope to initiate and drive these relationships as a part of my new role with NorTech."

This recent news follows on the heels of the June appointment of Dr. John West, former director of Kent State University's Liquid Crystal Research Institute to be the first academic NorTech Fellow. West is focusing his efforts on an initiative to make Northeast Ohio the center of a global effort to manufacture flexible electronic devices. In January 2006, NorTech established a similar arrangement with Dr. Brian Keaton, a physician from the Summa Health System, to work with the region's health care institutions, insurers, physician groups, OneCommunity and other stakeholders to develop a Regional health Information Organization (RHIO). The NEO RHIO will act as a governance organization to identify and deploy health information technologies across the region.

"These unique arrangements leverage our regional brain power to connect business and academic communities and to build our regional technology economy," said Dorothy Baunach, president and chief executive officer of NorTech. "Based on our experience with Dr. Keaton and Dr. West, we are confident this NorTech fellows approach will be successful at creating technology-based economic growth opportunities in the region."

For more information on the NorTech Fellows program, visit

About NorTech

NorTech's technology and business leaders are strategic drivers of the region's technology-based economic development agenda and work to align and leverage regional technology assets to build a more globally competitive technology economy. NorTech promotes research, innovation, entrepreneurship and technology industry growth throughout the region for the benefit of all citizens.

About the Case School of Engineering

Providing unparalleled engineering education and research for more than 125 years, the Case School of Engineering is committed to "Engineering… Plus": education beyond the classroom, research across the disciplines and relationships around the world. Wherever they go, Case faculty, students and alumni consistently lead their fields and have a beneficial impact on society.

For more information contact Laura M. Massie (216)-368-4442 at Case or Kelly Coolbaugh (216)241-8458 at NorTech .

Posted by: Heidi Cool, September 28, 2006 12:13 PM | News Topics: Case School of Engineering, Collaborations/Partnerships, Research, Technology

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