Professor Thomas Magnanti as the next dean of the School of Engineering July 23.
An MIT announcement Thursday noted that its School of Engineering has "long held a unique national and international position of pre-eminence in both education and research".
"I am certain that in his new role as dean, Professor Suresh will continue the tradition of outstanding school leadership embodied by Institute Professor Thomas L Magnanti, dean since 1999, and his distinguished predecessors," said Provost L Rafael Reif.
Suresh, who served as head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) from 2000 to 2006, "is not only an accomplished academic leader, but also a scholar and teacher of the highest distinction," Reif said.
Suresh holds faculty appointments in DMSE, mechanical engineering, biological engineering and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
"I am grateful for the privilege to serve as the dean of this premier school of engineering, and very much look forward to working with the highly talented MIT faculty, staff and students to take the school to new heights," Suresh said.
Suresh is a strong proponent of innovative international collaborations in teaching and research. He was the founding chair of the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA) Programme on Advanced Materials. The professor is also the founding director of the Global Enterprise for Micromechanics and Molecular Medicine (GEM4), which brings together 14 participating institutions from the US and a number of foreign countries, the MIT announcement said.
Suresh's own current research focuses on experimental and computational studies of the mechanical responses of single biological cells and molecules and their implications for human health and diseases. His prior and ongoing work has also led to seminal contributions in the area of nano- and micro-scale mechanical properties of engineered materials, it said.
His many awards and honours include election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and academies of engineering and/or science based in Germany, India, Italy and Spain.
Last year, he received the Acta Materialia Gold Medal for "pioneering research" into the mechanical properties of materials and was selected by MIT's Technology Review magazine for its TR10 list as one of the 10 scientists whose research will have "a significant impact on business, medicine or culture" in the years ahead.
Suresh is the recipient of the 2007 European Materials Medal from the Federation of European Materials Societies. He is the first scientist based outside Europe to receive the award.
A 1977 graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Madras (now Chennai), Suresh received a master's from Iowa State University in 1979 before pursuing doctoral studies at MIT, where he received the Sc.D. in 1981.
After two years of postdoctoral research at the University of California at Berkeley, he joined the faculty at Brown University, where he rose to the rank of professor of engineering in 1989 before returning to MIT in 1993 as the RP Simmons Professor.
MIT counts more than 60 Nobel Laureates among its alumni and faculty. Well-known Indian alumni at MIT include Har Gobind Khorana, who shared Nobel Prize for Medicine/Physiology in 1968, Amar Bose, who founded Bose Corporation, Suhas Patil, who founded the company Cirrus Logic, the late Brahm Prakash of IISc and Dara Antia, who founded the Indian Institute of Metals.