Sutera named interim dean of School of Engineering

Salvatore P. Sutera, Ph.D., senior professor of biomedical engineering, has been named interim dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science, effective July 1, 2008, according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

Sutera succeeds Mary J. Sansalone, Ph.D., who announced her resignation as dean in late February 2008.


“Sal Sutera has been an important academic leader in the School of Engineering,” Wrighton said. “He has provided many years of dedicated service to students and colleagues in the school, and I am grateful to Dr. Sutera for agreeing to serve Washington University in this significant way. We are looking forward to working to implement the plans that have been developed through the ‘Plan for Excellence’ process. We will build a strong management structure, curricular initiatives and an exciting vision for the future.”

Sutera has been a highly engaged faculty member at the University for nearly 40 years, serving in a wide variety of faculty and administrative positions over that time. He began in August 1968 as professor and chair of mechanical engineering. He gave up the chair duties in 1982 and served as acting chair again from July 1985 to January 1986. He again became permanent chair in February 1986 until 1997.

When the announcement was made of the formation of the new Department of Biomedical Engineering in 1996, Sutera served as acting chair of that department until the arrival in 1997 of current chair Frank C-P Yin, M.D., Ph.D., the Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

Sutera has long been recognized for his work in biomedical engineering, particularly with the application of fluid dynamics to problems of blood circulation. His research interests include the fluid mechanics of blood flow, drag reduction by boundary-layer control and the effects of turbulence on heat transfer, among other topics.

Before coming to WUSTL, Sutera was a member of Brown University’s engineering faculty from 1960-68. During his last two years at Brown, he was executive officer of its Division of Engineering.

Sutera had several industrial experiences from 1953-57, including the Glen L. Martin Co., Baltimore; North American Aviation, Downey, Calif.; E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co., Newark and Wilmington, Del.; and Electro-Optical Systems Inc., Pasadena, Calif.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1954 from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree and doctorate in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1955 and 1960, respectively.

Sutera has been active throughout his career in numerous professional societies, among them the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society for Engineering Education, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Biomedical Engineering Society and the North American Society of Biorheology.

Recently, Sutera made local news when one of his former students, U.S. Air Force Major and NASA astronaut Robert Behnken, Ph.D., participated in a March mission to the International Space Station. Behnken is a 1992 WUSTL engineering graduate.