School of Engineering names 40 Engineers Making a Difference

The UAB School of Engineering honors 40 engineers to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

The UAB School of Engineering celebrated its 40th anniversary by naming 40 Engineers Making a Difference. Among the long list of distinguished honorees:


From left: Linda Lucas, Ph.D.; Viola Acoff, Ph.D.;
Melinda Lalor, Ph.D.

Viola Acoff, Ph.D., is department head and professor of the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the University of Alabama. She has published more than 75 refereed papers and received more than $7 million in research grants.

Krishna Venugopalan, Ph.D., is director of the Artificial Pancreas Program at Animas, a Johnson & Johnson Company. His group partners with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to develop a closed-loop insulin infusion system for Type I diabetics.

Wayne Studyvin, M.S., is director of Environmental Health for the Jefferson County Department of Health. He is responsible for enforcement of the Clean Air Act, air pollution monitoring, radiation protection, body art regulation and more.

Ray L. Watts., M.D., senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine, a 1976 UAB graduate with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. A neurologist, he is internationally known for Parkinson’s and movement disorders research.

Linda Lucas, Ph.D., interim provost at UAB. In 1983 Lucas became the first person to receive a doctoral degree from UAB’s School of Engineering. In 2001 she became the school’s fifth dean.

In 1971, Engineering was named one of the first four schools in UAB’s new University College. Within 10 years, four departments in the school were established: Biomedical, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical/Materials, each offering discipline-specific baccalaureate programs.