Michael Keidar Installed as A. James Clark Professor of Engineering

Dr. Keidar is a leader in the fields of micropropulsion and nanotechnology and operates an innovative SEAS lab.

Michael Keidar
SEAS Dean David S. Dolling (l) and Michael Keidar, the newly-installed A. James Clark Professor of Engineering, who talks about his research at Science and Engineering Hall. (Photo: Dave Scavone)
December 01, 2017

By Kristen Mitchell

School of Engineering and Applied Science professor Michael Keidar, who specializes in micropropulsion and nanotechnology, was installed as the A. James Clark Professor of Engineering on Thursday.

During the installation ceremony program at Science and Engineering Hall, Dr. Keidar said he was humbled by the recognition and the endowment will “enable us to continue this exciting work.”

Dr. Keidar leads GW’s Micropropulsion and Nanotechnology Lab, where he conducts research in plasma medicine, micropropulsion for micro and nanosatellites, and plasma nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Last December, GW and Vector, a company that connects space startups and innovations with reliable and affordable space access, reached an agreement to license plasma thruster technology created in Dr. Keidar’s lab. The plasma thruster technology allows researchers to propel miniature satellites, only 10 centimeters long on each side, and control them while in space. The satellites are significantly less expensive than their larger counterparts and are made from common materials.

The university also recently signed a $5.3 million corporate research sponsorship agreement with US Patent Innovations, LLC (USPI) that will fund a new initiative to design biomedical applications for cold plasma technology in cancer treatment, co-developed by Dr. Keidar. Studies have shown that cold atmospheric plasma technology can be used to target cancerous cells without harming normal biological tissue, a finding that could revolutionize cancer treatment.

That sponsorship agreement will “enable Dr. Keidar to expand his research in biomechanical applications of cold plasma technology in cancer treatment,” said GW President Thomas LeBlanc Thursday.

The installation carried on a long-held tradition at GW, Dr. LeBlanc said. The oldest endowed professorship at GW is the Congressional Professorship, created in 1832 by an act of the United States Congress. Dr. LeBlanc said he was “delighted to continue this tradition” with Dr. Keidar, whose accomplishments make GW proud.

Provost Forrest Maltzman thanked the late A. James Clark, HON '10, a GW trustee emeritus and Clark Enterprises founder, and his family, for their continued support of SEAS. In addition to the endowed professorship, Mr. Clark has supported students through the Clark Engineering Scholars program, which he established in 2011. Undergraduate students selected for the program benefit from financial assistance and professional development, leadership, and networking opportunities.

It was announced earlier this year that the Clark Charitable Foundation made an additional $8 million gift to expand that student program. Mr. Clark’s support has made a lasting impact at GW that continues with the endowed professorship in his name, Dr. Maltzman said.

“It’s hard to imagine a faculty member who is more deserving than Michael Keidar,” he said.

David Dolling, dean of SEAS, said the school is indebted to Mr. Clark for his “foresight and his generosity” in supporting faculty and budding engineers.

Dr. Keidar received the 2017 Ronald C. Davidson Award for Plasma Physics from AIP Publishing, and in 2017 received the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Engineer of the Year award for his work on micropropulsion, which resulted in the successful launch of a nanosatellite with thrusters developed by his lab. In 2016 he was elected as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) National Capital Section Engineer of the Year.

Learning & Research


GW Signs $5.3 Million Agreement to Research Plasma-Based Cancer Therapies

September 18, 2017
Cold atmospheric plasma technology co-developed by SEAS Professor Michael Keidar shows promise as targeted cancer treatment.

Plasma Thruster Technology Developed at GW Licensed by Vector

January 24, 2017
The technology gives researchers a way to control small, inexpensive satellites in space and to make space exploration more accessible.