Prof. Pradeep Sharma (MD Anderson chair professor and Department Chair of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston) is inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2022 for his work in establishing the field of flexoelectricity, leading to the creation of novel materials and devices and insights into biophysical phenomena. Prof. Pradeep Sharma (Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2000) did his doctoral dissertation on "Micro-Structural Modeling of Cyclic Creep Damage in Tin-lead Eutectic Solder" at CALCE under the supervision of Prof. Abhijit Dasgupta. Prof. Sharma's research interests include Solid Mechanics, Theoretical and computational materials science, Multifunctional materials, Flexoelectricity, Mechanics and physics of soft matter, Mechanics and physics of cells, Atomistic simulations, Homogenization, Mechanical behavior of materials, Data sciences and machine learning, Damage, and failure prediction of materials.
Prof. Pradeep Sharma is among the 111 new members and 22 international members elected by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."
His other honors and awards include the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020; Young Investigators Award from Office of Naval Research, Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigator Award from the ASME in 2009, the Fulbright fellowship, the ASME Melville medal, the James R. Rice medal from the Society of Engineering Science and the University of Houston Research Excellence Award.
The University of Houston communique states that "Nature has a few materials, called piezoelectrics, that can convert mechanical forces into electricity and vice-versa. Imagine artificial muscles that can move due to electrical signals and sense objection when a force or mechanical strain is applied. “Nature has provided us very few piezoelectric materials even though their applications in energy harvesting and in making sensors is very important. What we did was use theory to design materials that perform like piezoelectric ones, so that they can create electricity,” said Sharma."
Prof. Pradeep Sharma is married to another CALCE alumnus Prof. Haleh Ardebili (Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2001) at the University of Houston.
Prof. Sharma is one of the three UMD alumni elected to the NAE in 2022.