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UBC Okanagan Admin News | July 5, 2022

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Will Hughes appointed Director, School of Engineering

Dear colleagues,


We are pleased to announce that Professor Will Hughes has been appointed Director for the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan for a five-year term commencing July 1, 2022.


Dr. Hughes earned a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Upon graduation, he completed a National Academy of Engineering Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education.


Dr. Hughes brings extensive experience to the role, most recently serving as the Director of the Nucleic Acid Memory Institute, a Professor in the Micron School of Materials Science & Engineering, a Fellow of the College of Innovation + Design and a Fellow of the Institute for Inclusive & Transformative Scholarship (IFITS) at Boise State University.


Dr. Hughes’ current research involves developing technologies made from DNA, using the structural integrity, information density and programmability of life’s most basic material. Such technologies range from engineering low-cost liquid computers that perform early-stage diagnostics of hard-to-detect diseases, to sorting extremely dense and stable information for archival applications. Dr. Hughes is recognized as an international leader in DNA nanotechnology and has received numerous recognitions for leadership and scholarship, including the W.M. Keck Foundation Award and the NIH Quantitative Research Development K25 Career Award.


Known as a champion of the field of engineering, Dr. Hughes’ emerging vision for the School of Engineering will be to model civil discourse that promotes respect and compassion while creating an inclusive environment that provides opportunities for upward mobility and generates original work that confronts locally relevant and globally significant problems. He also looks to prioritize competitive workforce development that prepares the next generation of engineers.


We look forward to working with Dr. Hughes in his capacity as Director of the School of Engineering. Please join us in welcoming him to UBC Okanagan.




Rehan Sadiq
Provost and Vice-President Academic, pro tem
UBC Okanagan


James Olson
Dean, Faculty of Applied Science

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