Richard B. Brown
Although Richard B. Brown’s research focuses on miniature technology, his impact on society has been massive.
While pursuing a doctoral degree at the U, Brown began his pioneering research on solid-state chemical sensors. In 1985, he joined the University of Michigan faculty where he and his students developed miniature ion-selective electrodes, enzymatically- and immunologically-coupled sensors for complex biological molecules, and amperometric sensors for heavy metals and neurochemicals. His group was first to incorporate both electrical and chemical sensors on silicon brain probes, and first to differentiate spoken words from an array of microelectrodes on the surface of human brains. Brown’s research group has also made breakthroughs in integrated circuits, from high-speed microprocessors to low-power, implantable electronics.
Brown has authored 225 peer-reviewed publications, one of which has been cited more than 3,400 times, according to Google Scholar. He and his students have founded four companies, including his current startup e-SENS that develops sensors for monitoring the nation’s water supplies. Another company, i-SENS, sold 1.7 mullion glucometers and 1.4 billion one-time-use test strips last year. For his achievements, Brown has been elected a Life Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and has received numerous other awards, including the Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Science and Technology.
Since his arrival as dean of the College of Engineering in 2004, Brown has been celebrated for raising the level of academic excellence in the college, and growing the quality and number of graduates. Research expenditures have grown from $30 million to $82 million per year, peer-reviewed publications have gone from 398 to 883 per year, the number of graduates has more than doubled from 484 to 1,011, and the number of freshmen coming into the college has grown from 7 percent to 20 percent of the U’s total freshman class. Brown’s impact on education extends far beyond the U; his 31 PhD graduates have become leaders in their fields, and his innovative integrated circuit design curriculum changed the way this topic is taught on campuses around the world.