Engineering announces appointment of two new faculty members

The Vanderbilt University School of Engineering announces the appointment of two new faculty members to its full-time teaching staff.

They are Karl E. Zelik and Shihong Lin. Lin will join the faculty in January 2015.


Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Karl Zelik focuses his research on biomechanics of locomotion. His biomechanics specialization centers on energy-saving mechanisms underlying locomotion and these applications to improve prosthetic devices. His neuromotor control research has led to an additional direction using neurally-driven musculaskeletal modeling to better understand the function of the foot and other limb segments.

Zelik’s neuromechanics research will contribute to the School of Engineering’s Center for Intelligent Mechatronics’ efforts to advance rehabilitation robotics that will improve the lives of people with paraplegia and transforming the lives of amputees.

Zelik is the recipient of a Whitaker International Post-Doctoral Fellowship, an NSF International Post-Doctoral Fellowship, and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, Zelik collaborated with researchers at the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome, Italy. He earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 2012, and a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.


Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Shihong Lin focuses his research on the application of nanomaterials for enhancing membrane performance at the intersection of water and energy for environmental applications. One of these applications is membrane distillation – a promising thermal desalination technology with potential for treating brines and shale gas-produced water.

Lin also is investigating a novel hybrid system called the osmotic heat engine, which combines membrane distillation with pressure retarded osmosis to convert low-grade thermal energy to electrical energy.

Lin’s interest in nanotechnology, surface science, thermodynamics and physics will support collaborative research not only in environmental engineering but also in chemical and biomolecular engineering at Vanderbilt.

Until he joins the engineering faculty, Lin is a post-doctoral associate at Yale University. His research while at Duke University resulted in numerous publications in high-impact journals. He earned a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from in 2012 and a master’s degree in 2011 from Duke. He received a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from the Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China, and he has been a visiting student at the University of Hong Kong in the Department of Civil Engineering.

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
Twitter @VUEngineering