(front row, starting fourth from left): President Jackson, Provost Hajela, and Board of Trustees Chairman Arthur Gajarsa ’62 celebrated the achievements of the faculty.

Protein engineering expert Peter Tessier, the Richard Baruch M.D. Career Development Professor and Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, was the keynote speaker at the 2016 Trustee Celebration of Faculty Achievement on Dec. 1 in the auditorium of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. The annual event is an opportunity to recognize the outstanding contributions and achievements of Rensselaer’s faculty members.

Protein engineering expert Peter Tessier was the keynote speaker at the 2016 Trustee Celebration of Faculty Achievement.

Tessier is also a member of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer. His research focuses on designing, developing, and optimizing a class of large therapeutic proteins, or antibodies, that hold great potential for detecting and treating human disorders ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. His research interests include designing antibodies for detecting and treating Parkinson’s and other diseases, redesigning therapeutic antibodies to increase their stability and efficacy, and identifying and optimizing small molecule compounds to inhibit toxic protein aggregation associated with Alzheimer’s disease. He spoke about “New Drugs for Treating Old Diseases.”

Following Tessier’s lecture, President Shirley Ann Jackson, Provost Prabhat Hajela, and Arthur Gajarsa ’62, chairman of the Rensselaer Board of Trustees, recognized and honored 99 faculty members for their national and international achievements. A dinner followed at the Heffner Alumni House.

“It is very gratifying to see that the world recognizes the excellence of the community we have assembled—which has only grown more excellent over time, as our faculty generously learn from each other, even as they teach their students; collaborate across the disciplines; and, together, address very great challenges,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson in her remarks.

“Today, we celebrate our faculty for the awards and accolades they have received—and for the honor they bring to Rensselaer as a whole,” she continued. “We also honor those members of our faculty who are moving their discoveries and innovations toward commercialization, so that they can be applied to the common purposes of life. We honor our faculty members for their outstanding teaching—for the many individual ways that they share their knowledge with our students, and inspire them to contribute to the world in their turn. They make a Rensselaer education truly special. And, we celebrate our faculty for their public service, ranging from the National Council on the Humanities to the Brunswick Central Schools District Board of Education. In every arena, our faculty do lead—and do change the world.”

Rensselaer is home to nearly 500 faculty members, of whom 342 are tenured or tenure-track. The faculty includes National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award winners, members of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and other eminent professionals.