Chemical Engineer Rakesh Jain Assumes New Posts At Boston Medical Institutions

Jain, 40, acknowledges with a laugh that it is unusual for someone with his training to embark on a medical v career. 'when I first came to the United States, in 1972," he says, "I never thought I'd work in cancer. My whole career has been doing something I never thought I'd be doing. I'm a chemical engineer-most of us design refineries and things like that." Jain's main research interest is tumor pathophysiology, including tumor microcirculation, heat and mass transport in tumor

Sep 16, 1991
Barbara Spector
Jain, 40, acknowledges with a laugh that it is unusual for someone with his training to embark on a medical v career. 'when I first came to the United States, in 1972," he says, "I never thought I'd work in cancer. My whole career has been doing something I never thought I'd be doing. I'm a chemical engineer-most of us design refineries and things like that."

Jain's main research interest is tumor pathophysiology, including tumor microcirculation, heat and mass transport in tumors, pharmacokinetics, and dynamics of thin films and membranes. The move from Carnegie Mellon, an institution with a strong emphasis on engineering education, to a medical school will provide "closer interaction with basic scientists and clinicians," he says.

Jain says that in Boston, his research team will be multidisciplinary, as it was at Carnegie Mellon ("Hot Team," The Scientist, Oct. 15, 1990, page 20). "A lot of my senior people are moving with me," he says; among them will be an immunologist, a pathologist, a biomedical engineer, and a chemical engineer. "And I have a surgeon coming from Germany, and a radiation biophysicist coming from the University of Minnesota." In addition to his work in Boston, Jain says, "I'm leaving several people behind [at Carnegie Mellon] to continue our work; that | n will be finished in about a year."

A native of India, Jain received his B.Tech. degree in chemical engineering in 1972 from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. He earned his M.Ch.E. in 1974 and his Ph.D. in 1975 from the University of Delaware in Newark. He was trained in the pathophysiology of tumors at the National Cancer Institute, in the laboratory of pathologist Pietro M. Gullino.

In 1976, Jain joined Columbia University as an assistant professor of chemical and biomedical engineering. In-1978, he moved to Carnegie Mellon, where he was promoted to associate- professor in 1979 and to full professor in 1983.

--Barbara Spector


Don A. Lautman, an astronomer who helped track the Soviet satellite Sputnik when it was launched in 1957, died August 9 in Cambridge, Mass., after a long illness. He was 61.

Lautman earned his Ph.D. in 1956 at Princeton University. Later that year, Lautman was recruited by Harvard University astronomer Fred Whipple to join the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's fledgling satellite-tracking network. Lautman helped develop mathematical techniques for predicting and analyzing the motions of artificial satellites.

Lautman remained at the Smithsonian observatory until the mid-1960s, when he left to become an astronomy consultant to industry. He also taught at several Boston-area institutions, including Tufts University and Northeastern University. He returned to the observatory in 1973, and resigned again in 1976 to accept a series of visiting fellowships at universities in England. At the time of his death, Lautman was an associate at the Harvard College Observatory.

Lautman was respected as a teacher as well as an astronomer. For nearly two decades, his introductory courses on astronomy at the Harvard Extension School were among the school's most popular offerings. Most recently he participated in Project STAR, an education program at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics designed to improve the teaching of high school science through the use of hands-on materials based on examples from astronomy.


William Bliss has joined Genta Inc. a San Diego based biopharmaceutical firm, as president. Bliss is the founder of the one-year-old Virna Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Princeton, N.J., a company that has been acquired by Genta and will operate under the Genta name from San Diego. Virna's first product, a topical agent to treat psoriasis, is expected to reach the market by the end of 1995.

Prior to establishing Virna Pharmaceuticals, Bliss served as vice president of business development and licensing at the Rorer Group Inc. of Fort Washington, PA. He worked at Rorer for 20 years.

Blis received a bachelor's degree in business logistics from Pennsylvania State University in 1959. At Genta, he will be responsible for day-to-day business operations.

Thomas W. Eagar, Richard P. Simmons Professor of Metallurgy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been named director of MIT's Materials Processing Center. Eagar succeeds Ronald M. Latanision, director of the center since 1984, who has returned to the department of materials science and engineering to focus on research and teaching.

The 11-year-old center conducts interdepartmental materials processing research. Its current annual research budget is about $8 million.

Eagar, a specialist in the physics and chemistry of welding and other metal-joining processes, has been an MIT faculty member since 1976. He received an S.B. degree in 1972 and an Sc.D. in 1975 fromm MIT.

David E. Baldwin has been appointed associate director for magnetic fusion energy at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif. Baldwin returns to Livermore after three years as director of the Institute of Fusion Studies and professor of physics as the University of Texas , Austin. Previously, he had been at the national lab for 18 years, where he was a fusion theory program physicist from 1970 to 1978, associate theory program leader from 1978 to 1983, and deputy associate director from 1983 to 1988.

Baldwin received a B.S. in physics in 1958 and a Ph.D.in physics in 1962, both from MIT. He served research associateships at Stanford University in 1962-64 and at Culham Laboratory in England from 1964-66. He was an assistant professor from from 1966 to 1968 and an associate professor from 1968 to 1970 at Yale University's department of engineering and applied science.

Carmen A. Puilafito has been appointed ophthalmologist-in-chief of the New England Medical Center's Boston-based New England Eye Center and chairman of the depart- ment of ophthalmology at Tufts Uni ers includes: versity School of Medicine in Boston. He will establish the New England Eye Center at the hospital. Puliafito was formerly director of the Morse Laser Center and presi dent of the medical stalf at the Mas sachnsetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, as well as associate professor of oph thalmology at Harvard Medical School.

Puliafito, a specialist in the appli cation of laser technology to eye dis orders, is editor-in-chief of Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. The editorial office of the journal has been moved to the New England Medical Center. Puliafito received an A.B. degree in 1973 from Harvard College and an M.D. in 1978 from Harvard Med ical School. From 1986 to 1989, he was an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School; from 1987 to 1989, he was an assistant professor in MIT's health sciences and technol ogy division. In 1989, he was named an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and at MIT's Health sciences and technology division.