Dr. Frances Ligler Elected to National Academy of Engineering

3/28/2005 - 15-05r
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Dr. Frances Ligler, Senior Scientist for Biosensors and Biomaterials at the Naval Research Laboratory's Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering (CBMSE), has been elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). She is recognized for "the invention and demonstration of portable, automated biosensors for fast, onsite detection of pathogens, toxins, pollutants, drugs of abuse, and explosives."

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made "important contributions to engineering theory and practice, including significant contributions to the literature of engineering theory and practice," and those who have demonstrated accomplishment in "the pioneering of new fields of engineering, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

A pioneer in the development of ultra-sensitive antibody-based detection systems for biological agent detection, Dr. Ligler has led the development of detection systems based on optical biosensor technology. She has demonstrated systems for identifying biological warfare agents, monitoring environmental pollutants, analyzing food safety, diagnosing infectious disease, and detecting explosives. Four of these biosensors are commercially available, and three more systems are under commercial development.

Dr. Ligler earned a B.Sc. from Furman University in South Carolina, and a D.Phil. and a D.Sc. from Oxford University. She has published over 220 full-length articles in scientific journals, which have been cited over 3,000 times, published two books, and has 24 patents issued.

Prior to joining NRL in 1985, Dr. Ligler performed basic and clinical research in immunology in both academics and industry. Dr. Ligler is the American representative on the organizing committee for the International Biosensors Congress and has been elected to the permanent organizing committee for the European Conference on Optical Sensors. She is editor for North and South America for the leading biosensors journal, Biosensors & Bioelectronics. She is the winner of the 2003 Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Senior Professional, the Christopher Columbus Foundation's Award for Homeland Security, the Navy Superior Civilian Service Medal, the National Drug Control Policy Technology Transfer Award, the Chemical Society Hillebrand Award, a Navy Merit Award, three NRL Edison Awards for Patent of the Year, and the national Women in Science an Engineering Outstanding Achievement in Science Award, among many other awards. She is also an elected Fellow of the Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineering.

Dr. Ligler's membership in the National Academy of Engineering brings the current number of NRL members in the NAE and the National Academy of Sciences to eight; four men and four women. The last three NRL scientists elected to either of these honors have been women.

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