Cardiss Collins Professor Jian Cao (MIT’95, MIT’92, SJTU’89) specialized in innovative manufacturing processes and systems, particularly in the areas of deformation-based processes and laser additive and subtractive manufacturing processes. She views manufacturing as an integration platform and founded the university research center on Manufacturing Science and Innovation at Northwestern, known as NIMSI.
She has co-authored over 200 journal articles, 20 patents, and op-ed articles. Cao is the Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Materials Processing Technology and a Board member of mHUB, Chicago's first innovation center focused on physical product development and manufacturing. She is a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), ASME, the International Academy for Production Engineering (CIRP) and SME. Her major awards include ASME Milton C. Shaw Manufacturing Research Medal (2020), SME Gold Medal (2020), DoD Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (2019), Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award (2017) from ASME and Pi Tau Sigma, SME Frederick W. Taylor Research Medal (2016), ASME Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award (2012, 2018), and NSF CAREER Award (1997). She served as President of the SME North America Manufacturing Research Institute (2011-2012), Chair of ASME Manufacturing Engineering Division (2008-2009), and Program Director at the National Science Foundation (2003-2005). She is a recipient of ASME Dedicated Service Award (2011).