Siston appointed chair of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Professor Rob Siston has been named chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at The Ohio State University, effective February 1. He has served as interim chair since August 2021, succeeding Jim Gregory, now engineering dean at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Siston began teaching at Ohio State in 2006, and holds appointments in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Orthopaedics and the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. He is also director of the Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory.
“Rob’s passion for research and teaching is augmented by his innate leadership traits,” said College of Engineering Dean Ayanna Howard. “In his time as interim chair, he has influenced positive change among students, faculty and staff. Our largest department is in good hands as it continues to grow.”
Residing at the intersection of orthopedics and neuromuscular biomechanics, Siston’s research seeks to apply principles of mechanical engineering to the treatment of human movement disorders. He and his students collaborate with interdisciplinary teams of mechanical engineers, radiologists, orthopaedic surgeons and physical therapists to customize surgeries and rehabilitation programs in order to improve patient outcomes. His lab’s research has been sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), among other industry partners and philanthropic interests.
Siston earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State in 2000. He went on to earn his master’s and PhD from Stanford University in 2002 and 2005, respectively. As a PhD student, Siston created and effectively utilized what is believed to be the only image-free navigation system for total knee arthroplasty in the United States that is not affiliated with a medical device company.
“I am thrilled to continue to lead the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,” said Siston. “When I came to Ohio State as a freshman in 1996, I was supported by a combination of academic scholarships, federal loans and the Pell Grant. I know firsthand that the educational opportunities and innovative research from this department can change lives and improve the world around us. It is an honor to serve as chair, and I am excited about the future.”
In addition to his work in the lab, Siston is one of the founders and co-directors of the Future Academic Scholars Training (FAST) program. The program helps prepare PhD students for a future in academia, including the responsibilities and roles of a successful professor and university instructor. FAST program students have gone on to faculty positions at a range of institutions including MIT, The University of Cincinnati and Otterbein University.
Siston also created a senior capstone design series in which mechanical and biomedical engineering seniors collaborate with graduate students and faculty in Occupational Therapy to develop assistive devices for persons with disabilities. The course was funded by an NSF grant and, after being adopted by the Department of Biomedical Engineering, a similar grant from the NIH.
Through his teaching methods, which includes a “flipped” classroom experience, Siston has received numerous awards. In 2014, Siston was honored with The Ohio State University’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. He has earned the David C. McCarthy Engineering Teaching Award and the Boyer Award for Excellence in Teaching Innovations from the College of Engineering, as well as the Michael Moran Excellence in Teaching Award from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He also has participated as a panelist at the Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium with the National Academy of Engineering.
This article first appeared on the engineering.osu.edu website.