Two New Distinguished Professors Named

Engineering faculty members Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos and David Kaplan receive academic honor

Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos and David Kaplan have been named Distinguished Professors, an appointment reserved for senior faculty members who have made exceptional contributions to their disciplines, their students and the university as teachers and scholars who exemplify the best of Tufts. Linda Abriola, who stepped down as dean of the School of Engineering in June, recommended them for the honor, noting their exemplary research and their service as mentors. The appointments take effect on Sept. 1.

Distinguished Professors are recommended by school deans and approved by the provost and the president. There are only six other Distinguished Professors at Tufts, two each in the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos. Photo: Kelvin MaMaria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos. Photo: Kelvin Ma
Flytzani-Stephanopoulos is the Robert and Marcy Haber Endowed Professor in Energy Sustainability in the School of Engineering. In 2014 she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions accorded in the field.

She directs the Tufts Nano Catalysis and Energy Laboratory, which investigates new catalyst materials for the production of hydrogen and “green” chemicals. Pioneering work from her lab has demonstrated the use of single-atom catalysts for reactions of interest to fuel processing, which entails efficient and sustainable use of precious metals in the field of clean energy and chemicals production.

Flytzani-Stephanopoulos joined Tufts in 1994 as the Raytheon Professor of Pollution Prevention. She holds ten patents and has written more than 150 technical papers. She has been an editor of the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental since 2002, and is an associate editor of Science Advances. She is the recipient of the Tufts Distinguished Scholar Award, the Henry J. Albert Award of the International Precious Metals Institute, the Giuseppe Parravano Memorial Award of the Michigan Catalysis Society and the Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award of the Tufts School of Engineering, and is a fellow of the AAAS and the AIChE.

David Kaplan. Photo: Matthew HealeyDavid Kaplan. Photo: Matthew Healey
Kaplan is the Stern Family Professor of Engineering and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He also holds faculty appointments in the School of Medicine, the School of Dental Medicine, the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. His laboratory has pioneered the use of silk for a variety of applications, including the repair of damaged tissues, the delivery of drugs within the body and the production of sensors that could make food safer. Kaplan heads the NIH P41 Resource Center on Tissue Engineering, a nationally recognized innovator in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

He has published more than 700 papers and edited eight books. He serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals and is editor-in-chief of the journal ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering. He has received awards for teaching as well as the Columbus Discovery Medal and the Society for Biomaterials’ Clemson Award.

Marjorie Howard can be reached at

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