Marcia O’Malley, director of the Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab at Rice University, has been named the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Mechanical Engineering, effective Jan. 1.
Reginald DesRoches, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering, and Marie Lynn Miranda, Howard R. Hughes Provost and Professor of Statistics, recommended O’Malley for the endowed chair, and the nomination was approved by the Board of Trustees at its Dec. 7 meeting.
O’Malley earned her B.S. in mechanical engineering (MECH) from Purdue University in 1996, and M.S. and Ph.D. in MECH from Vanderbilt University in 1999 and 2001, respectively. She holds complementary appointments in electrical and computer engineering and computer science at Rice and is a special adviser to the provost on health-related research and educational initiatives. She serves as an adjunct associate professor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
O’Malley is director of rehabilitation engineering at TIRR-Memorial Hermann Hospital, and co-founder of Houston Medical Robotics, Inc. Her research focuses on the issues generated by humans physically interacting with robotic systems, with emphasis on applications in motor skill training and upper limb rehabilitation. She is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
In 2008 and 2017, O’Malley received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice. She was a 2004 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator, and the following year received an NSF CAREER Award.
She formerly chaired the IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics and was on the founding editorial board for the IEEE Transactions on Haptics. She served on the editorial board of the ASME/IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics, and serves as associate editor for the ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, the IEEE Transactions on Robotics, and as a senior editor for the ACM Transactions on Human Robot Interaction.
In his letter announcing her appointment to the endowed chair, David W. Leebron, Rice president, praised O’Malley as a “recognized leader in your field and an accomplished and energetic scholar.”