Prof. Michael F. Insana was invested as a Donald Biggar Willett Professor in the College of Engineering in Bioengineering on Sept. 10, 2013 in a ceremony at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, IL.
Also invested by the College were Rakesh Nagi, professor and head of the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering, and James Stubbins, head of the Department of Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering.
College of Engineering Dean Andreas Cangellaris presented each of the three honorees with the Willett Professorship medallions.
Insana was recognized for his contributions to translational research in the development of novel ultrasonic instrumentation and methods for imaging soft tissue microstructure, viscoelasticity, and blood flow. He is engaged in a joint project with Mayo Clinic in which his group has developed a new ultrasonic imaging technique called SAVE (Sub-Hertz Analysis of Viscoelasticity).
Insana earned a B.S. degree from Oakland University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in medical physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has worked as a research physicist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as a member of the faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and as a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of California, Davis. In 2004, he was the first tenured faculty member hired into the new Department of Bioengineering at Illinois and served as department head from 2008-2013.
The professorship honors the memory of Donald Biggar Willett (1897-1981) who attended the University of Illinois from 1916-1921. Mr. Willett left the University before graduation, just a few credits short of completing his coursework in civil engineering. He started his career as a partner in the family business, Suburban Coal and Supply Company, and later worked as a self-employed bookkeeper and tax preparer. In 1994, his widow, Elizabeth Marie Willett, willed her entire estate to the College of Engineering, which established the Willett Research Initiatives Fund.