Eminent molecular theorist Clare McCabe named AAAS Fellow

Clare McCabe, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for sustained excellence and novel contributions to molecular theory and simulation and for distinguished service to the field of chemical engineering.

In research, McCabe is one of the most visible members of the molecular modeling and thermodynamics community in chemical engineering. In molecular theory, she has made seminal contributions to the statistical associating fluid theory (SAFT) equation of state, variants of which have been incorporated into process simulators. McCabe’s work on SAFT began during her Ph.D. studies at the University of Sheffield and continues to this day.

Clare McCabe (Anne Rayner, Vanderbilt)

Her innovations include applications to alkanes of low molecular weight through to simple polymers and their binary mixtures, perfluoroalkanes, water, esters, carbon dioxide-containing systems, and tethered nanoparticles. Her body of work, both in applying and further developing SAFT, is an extraordinary contribution to the field of molecular thermodynamics.

She pioneered the study of skin lipid self-assembly by molecular dynamics (MD) simulation, and her work was the first of its kind in the field. She has developed and disseminated methodological advances to calculate uniquely predictive and transferable coarse-grained MD force fields for skin lipids and has used them to study self-assembly.

McCabe, who joined the School of Engineering in 2004, has published more than 140 papers in archival journals and presented numerous invited and contributed talks at national and international conferences. She is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Royal Society of Chemistry. She has served the AIChE extensively in a number of chair and vice chair positions for annual meetings. She currently serves on the Research and New Technology Committee and, since 2005, she has been a member of the AIChE-ASME K-7 Joint Committee on Thermophysical Properties, serving as its secretary since 2009.

McCabe’s honors include 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Research at Vanderbilt, where she also serves as associate dean of Graduate School and director of Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Her complete portfolio of research was honored by the 2014 AIChE CoMSEF Impact Award. She has been honored with teaching awards at Vanderbilt, including its most prestigious university-wide Madison Sarratt Prize. She is the recipient of a Jacob Wallenberg Foundation Fellowship from the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences.

Eight School of Engineering faculty members now hold the distinction of AAAS Fellow. Election is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a blue rosette pin, representing engineering, in February at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2020 AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington.