Skip to main content

Lu named Fullgraf Professor, Yang named Skinner Professor

Chenyang Lu has been named the Fullgraf Professor, and Lan Yang has been named the Edward H. and Florence G. Skinner Professor, both in the School of Engineering & Applied Science. They were installed March 16.

Chenyang Lu, Lan Yang

Lu is professor of computer science & engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science. He joined the faculty in 2002.

Yang is professor in the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering and heads the Laboratory of Micro/Nano Photonics Research Group in the School of Engineering & Applied Science. She joined the faculty in 2007.

Lu's research interests include real-time systems, wireless sensor networks and cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things and their applications in areas including health care, resilient civil infrastructure and smart homes. He also directs the Cyber-Physical Systems Laboratory (CPSL) at Washington University.

Lu has made pioneering contributions to the field of wireless health by developing and piloting one of the world's first large-scale clinical monitoring systems that collects real-time vital signs from patients using wireless sensor networks. In collaboration with Washington University School of Medicine, Lu piloted the wireless monitoring system through a 14-month clinical trial of the system in six hospital wards of Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. His work demonstrated the feasibility of reliable vital sign collection using a wireless sensor network integrated with hospital IT infrastructure. Lu is working toward the vision of wireless health where the convergence of wireless sensors, mobile computing, data mining and electronic medical records will lead to enhanced quality of care for patients in hospitals as well as for outpatients.

Lu has made important contributions to wireless structural monitoring and control systems relating to the growing problem of deteriorating civil infrastructure in the US and the world.

Wireless sensor networks provide a compelling platform for long-term structural health monitoring due to their low installation cost in civil infrastructure. In collaboration with civil engineering researchers, Lu proposed a cyber-physical co-design approach to develop power-efficient structural health monitoring systems based on wireless sensor networks. More recently, he developed wireless systems to control structures, such as bridges, based on real-time measurements from wireless sensors attached to the structure so that they survive natural disasters.

Lu is also a leading researcher on real-time systems, an important class of computing systems with stringent real-time performance requirements such as those controlling automobiles and industrial automation. His contributions on real-time systems span adaptive real-time middleware, industrial wireless sensor-actuator networks and real-time virtualization technology that has been incorporated into mainstream system software used worldwide.

Lu earned a doctorate from University of Virginia in 2001, a master's degree from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1997, and a bachelor's degree from University of Science and Technology of China in 1995, all in computer science.

Charles M. Fullgraf, who earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Washington University in 1939, had a more than 40-year career with Procter & Gamble as an engineer, researcher, division manager, group vice president and director, corresponding with the company's growth from a soap manufacturer to a diversified, multinational corporation. He initially worked in munitions production during World War II. In the 1950s, he became involved in the dental research that produced the first fluoride toothpaste, Crest. In the 1960s, he moved from engineering into management, overseeing international operations before returning to the U.S. as director of Asian and Latin American operations. He became a vice president in 1966, was elected a director of the company in 1974, and retired as a group vice president in 1982.

Fullgraf was among the recipients of the School of Engineering & Applied Science's first Alumni Achievement Awards in 1975 and was given a university-wide Distinguished Alumni Award in 1981. He was vice chair of the Alumni Board of Governors from 1974-76, and served on the Commission of the Future of Washington University. He died in 2010.

Yang's research interests include fabrication, characterization and fundamental understanding of advanced nano/micro photonic devices with outstanding optical properties or novel features for unconventional control of light flow. Her group focuses on the silicon-chip-based, ultra-high-quality micro-resonators and their applications. She and her team have demonstrated the first on-chip micro-resonator-based particle sensors that can achieve not only detection but also size measurement of single nanoparticles one by one. Different materials also are used in her research to achieve advanced micro/nano photonic devices with desired properties, such as nonreciprocal light transmissions in a parity-time-symmetric optical resonator system, an all-optical analog of an electronic diode that allows current flow in one direction.

Most recently, Yang has published results of novel research in the loss-gain phenomenon. She and her team were able to provide new schemes and techniques to engineer a physical system by controlling loss. They took advantage of the loss to reverse the negative effect and produce lasing.

In 2010, she earned a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and in 2011, she was honored by President Barack Obama with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The early career award is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

She earned a doctorate and a master's degree from California Institute of Technology in 2005 and 2000, respectively; a master's degree from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1999; and a bachelor's degree from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1997.

Florence Skinner Farrow established the Edward H. and Florence G. Skinner Professorship in memory of her parents, Edward H. and Florence Garrell Schade Skinner, who graduated from Washington University in 1902 with a degree in civil engineering. At the time, Florence Garrell Schade was said to be the only female civil engineer in St. Louis. She married Edward Skinner, whom she had met at Washington University in 1902. She died in 1906 at age 24.

Edward Skinner, MD, attended Washington University then earned a medical degree from Saint Louis University in 1904. He was a prominent physician in the Kansas City area and served as the first president of the Kansas City Southwest Clinical Society, which he helped found in 1923. He died in 1953.

Farrow earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Washington University. She was a generous benefactor of local arts and education, including Washington University and the School of Engineering & Applied Science. She also endowed the Joseph H. and Florence S. Farrow Professorship in Biomedical Engineering and the Florence Skinner Farrow Scholarships. She received the School of Engineering Dean's Medal in 1997 in recognition of her generosity. She died in 1999 at age 93.

The School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis focuses intellectual efforts through a new convergence paradigm and builds on strengths, particularly as applied to medicine and health, energy and environment, entrepreneurship and security. With 91 tenured/tenure-track and 40 additional full-time faculty, 1,300 undergraduate students, more than 900 graduate students and more than 23,000 alumni, we are working to leverage our partnerships with academic and industry partners — across disciplines and across the world — to contribute to solving the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.


  • Chenyang Lu has made pioneering contributions to the field of wireless health.
  • Lan Yang was honored by President Barack Obama with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).