Preston Wins 2014 D. I. C. Wang Award for Excellence in Biochemical Engineering

National Science Foundation Deputy Director Receives Honor at American Chemical Society’s National Meeting in Dallas, TX
May 12, 2014

Lynn Preston, Deputy Director of the Division of Engineering Education and Centers of the Directorate for Engineering at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), is the recipient of the 2014 D. I. C. Wang Award for Excellence in Biochemical Engineering. The honor, which is co-sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineer’s (AIChE’s) Society for Biological Engineering, AIChE’s Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Division, and the Biochemical Technology Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS), is presented to a distinguished biochemical engineer or biotechnologist for their contributions to biochemical engineering education and research. Preston received the Wang Award on March 19, 2014, during the ACS National Meeting in Dallas, TX, where she presented a lecture entitled “NSF — the Catalyst that Sparked the Field of Bioengineering.”

At the National Science Foundation, Preston inaugurated the first interdisciplinary NSF program focused on the then-emerging field of bioengineering. In 1984, she co-founded NSF’s Engineering Research Centers (ERC) Program, which helped to reinvent the culture of bioengineering research, transforming it from an individual academic-laboratory pursuit to a multidisciplinary team effort that incorporated contributions from industry, academia, and government. This collaboration accelerating the application and wide spread impact of biotechnology.

Preston directed NSF’s ERC activities from 1988 until 2013. Under her leadership, the bioengineering ERCs launched numerous interdisciplinary research and education programs, including centers devoted to mammalian cell bioprocessing systems, biofilms, therapeutic protein delivery systems, tissue engineering, biomaterials, and synthetic biology. In addition to translating academic theory and building partnerships with industry, these ERCs have produced breakthrough technologies and educated thousands of engineering students who have become leaders in the biochemical and biological engineering field.

Preston is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, where she is recognized for her leadership in developing and sustaining NSF’s bioengineering programs. She has also been recognized with a U.S. President’s Meritorious Executive Service Award. In 2003, the National Society of Professional Engineers selected Preston as NSF’s Engineer of the Year for her contributions to engineering research and education.

The D. I. C. Wang Award was established in 2012 and is named for Daniel I. C. Wang, a professor of chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in appreciation of his contributions to education and research in biochemical engineering, as well as his technological innovations in bioprocessing. More information about the Wang Award is available at

About SBE:
Established in 2004, the Society for Biological Engineering is a technological community for engineers and applied scientists integrating biology with engineering. Members of SBE come from a broad spectrum of industries and disciplines and share in SBE’s mission of realizing the benefits of bioprocessing, biomedical and biomolecular applications.

About AIChE:
AIChE is a professional society of nearly 45,000 chemical engineers in 100 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society.

Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as energy, sustainability, biological and environmental engineering, nanotechnology, and chemical plant safety and security.