Special Feature

A new chapter

After 20 years leading environmental engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering into an international powerhouse for aerosols, air quality and environmental research, Pratim Biswas left Washington University in St. Louis to become the dean of the University of Miami College of Engineering in January 2021

Beth Miller  • Spring 2021 issue
Pratim Biswas
Pratim Biswas

Biswas, who was the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Professor and assistant vice chancellor of international programs, is an internationally renowned aerosol scientist who is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, considered one of the highest honors in the field of engineering. The founding chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering since 2006, he is renowned worldwide for his pioneering work in aerosol science and engineering in his Aerosol and Air Quality Research Laboratory. While at the McKelvey School of Engineering, Biswas orchestrated numerous national and international collaborations to advance the common good, particularly in developing countries. He was the university’s ambassador to the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and directed the McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environmental Partnership (MAGEEP), a consortium of 35 universities worldwide where scholars collaborate on research and new initiatives.


In addition to his leadership, he was prolific in his research. He holds 10 patents and has spun off two startup companies based on his inventions. His work applying aerosol science to energy and environmental nanotechnology, solar energy use, air pollution control, medicine and other areas of science and engineering brought him numerous awards and honors, including the Fuchs Award, the highest honor given to an aerosol scientist. He was elected as a fellow of the Academy of Science, St. Louis in 2003 and a fellow of the American Association for Aerosol Research in 2009. In 2014, he was selected as a fellow of the International Aerosol Research Assembly; and in 2017 was elected fellow of the Association of Environmental Engineering Science Professors. He won numerous awards from national societies such as AIChE, ASCE and others.

“Pratim is a rare breed,” said Richard Axelbaum, the Jens Professor of Environmental Engineering Science and longtime colleague.

“If there were a recipe for a great leader and academic, Pratim would have all the necessary ingredients: keen intellect and memory, contagious enthusiasm for his field, vision, excellent managerial skills and a passion for motivating others to reach their potential. Add to this a relentless work habit and endurance, and you have created, well, Pratim — someone who has transformed the EECE department at Washington University and has had a major impact internationally, someone who I find it an honor to be able call a collaborator, mentor and friend.”

Biswas also was instrumental in the development of the Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Hall, which houses the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering.

“I was honored to work with my colleagues at creating an impactful department at WashU,” Biswas said. “Working with my colleagues,  I recruited more than 20 of the faculty members in the department, and each one of them is doing extremely well.  I enjoyed working with them and will miss them immensely. I hope to continue to collaborate with them as I start my new stint at the University of Miami. I am also proud of the students that we trained and graduated from our department.  I cherish their accomplishments and will continue to do so in the years ahead. Washington University will always have a special place in my heart — both my sons graduated from here. ”

Lab members with Biswas in 2019


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