Professor Steven McIntosh, an expert in materials chemistry and electrochemistry, has been named chair of Lehigh's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE), effective July 1, 2021.

McIntosh joined the Rossin College faculty as an assistant professor in 2010 and was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 2013, and full professor in 2018. His research interests cross disciplines and encompass the fields of catalysis, electrochemistry, materials chemistry and reaction engineering through projects centered on the development of novel materials and electrochemical systems.

“It’s an exciting time to be a Lehigh chemical and biomolecular engineer as we expand undergraduate student experiential learning opportunities, innovate and expand graduate education, and demonstrate the wide scope of the discipline by leading interdisciplinary research thrusts in areas as diverse as wound healing and sustainable materials for energy applications,” he says.

For the past three years, McIntosh has served as associate director of Lehigh’s Institute for Functional Materials and Devices (I-FMD), a hub for interdisciplinary research that fosters innovation around materials and devices that underpin many of society’s greatest challenges. Although he will step down from the administrative role with this transition, he will continue his involvement, leading I-FMD’s Renewable Energy to Products thrust area. 

“I look forward to supporting ChBE faculty in promoting collaborative research on campus,” he says, “including enabling the move of many department colleagues from Iacocca Hall to HST,” Lehigh’s soon-to-be-completed Health, Science, and Technology building on the Asa Packer Campus. McIntosh served as the faculty representative on the HST executive committee throughout the facility’s development, design, and construction.

Looking back...

Mayuresh V. Kothare, R. L. McCann Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biomolecular Engineering will conclude his tenure as chair after leading the department for the past nine years. Kothare, who is affiliated with the Department of Bioengineering and also has a courtesy appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, came to the Rossin College in 1998. 

As chair, Kothare initiated the major step of incorporating the biomolecular component of the discipline into the department’s official name. He focused ChBE’s research on four central areas—materials and interfaces; energy and the environment; biomolecular sciences; and systems, computation, and simulation—and supported the development of Lehigh’s Department of Bioengineering. He energized the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Advisory Council, which currently has 16 members. 

Kothare oversaw the hiring of six tenured/tenure-track faculty members, including the most recent appointment of Elsa Reichmanis to the Carl Robert Anderson Endowed Chair. The department significantly shifted its demographics during this period, with the addition of three women faculty members. Five ChBE faculty members received the NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, one received the DOE Young Investigator Award, and two were elected to the National Academy of Inventors. Faculty also garnered five major national professional awards. 

The department created three new distinguished seminar series, including the Costel Denson Distinguished Lecture Series, in honor of Lehigh’s first African American student (a chemical engineering major), to invite underrepresented minority leaders in chemical engineering to campus. ChBE also established the John C. Chen Endowed Fellowship for supporting a graduate fellowship, the Dolores T. and William E. Schiesser Faculty Fellowship  in computational engineering, and the Vince Grassi Memorial Fund for undergraduate professional development.

“Mayuresh Kothare selflessly promoted the department's best interests and fully supported the faculty and students,” says Israel Wachs, G. Whitney Snyder Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “His actions represent that of an ideal role model for departmental chairs.”

Kothare will continue his research in constrained and optimal predictive control theory, robustness analysis, MEMS and microchemical systems, control of microsystems, embedded control of biomedical systems, neuroengineering, and closed-loop neuromodulation systems.

He is one of two principal investigators leading a multi-institutional research project on closed-loop neuromodulation control in biomedical systems that was recently awarded more than $2.1 million from the National Institutes of Health’s Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) program.

Moving forward...

McIntosh’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation, and his work has been published in leading journals, including Green Chemistry, Nanoscale, and the Journal of Materials Chemistry A. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2016 and serves as associate editor for the journal RSC Advances. He holds two U.S. patents.

In 2010, as an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, McIntosh received the NSF CAREER award supporting his work on solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), an area he continues to investigate at Lehigh. 

McIntosh earned degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania (MS and PhD) and the University of Edinburgh (B.Eng.) in the United Kingdom. He was a Marie Curie Intra-European Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Twente (The Netherlands). 

“Steve’s commitment to collaborative research and his vision for diversifying the undergraduate ChBE curriculum to include a wider range of biomolecular engineering topics will support the continued growth and enrichment of our department,” says Kelly Schultz, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. 

Steve McIntosh

Professor Steven McIntosh will become chair of Lehigh's Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering on July 1, 2021.

Mayuresh V. Kothare

Mayuresh V. Kothare, R. L. McCann Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biomolecular Engineering, has led the ChBE department for the past nine years.