Laurent Simon, vice provost for undergraduate studies, was recently named a “Modern-Day Technology Leader” at the 33rd annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Global Competitiveness Conference in Washington, D.C.

The award recognizes researchers, educators and entrepreneurs who are making a broad impact on the technology sector.

Simon, an associate professor of chemical engineering, researches new methods to improve the delivery of controlled-release drug therapies.  

“A major challenge in the pharmaceutical industry is that current drug-delivery methods, such as tablets, injections and sprays, are inefficient in administering long-term consistent drug release to a target site. Certain drugs lose effectiveness over a period of time. As a result, multiple injections are necessary to maintain the therapeutic level required,” he notes. “We are looking at novel technologies that would enhance delivery through the skin.”

Simon is also revered on campus as an inspired classroom teacher and research mentor.

At NJIT, he has won both an Excellence in Teaching Award (2007) and the Master Teacher (2009) Award. In 2009, The Newark College of Engineering (NCE) also recognized Simon's contributions by awarding him the Saul K. Fenster Innovation in Engineering Education Award. In 2014, he received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the American Society for Engineering Education.

Simon called the BEYA award “a unique accolade.”

“It’s not simply about publications, but about the impact your research has on modern-day technology and what you’re doing in the classroom to nurture student talent,” he noted.

Simon’s research group works on new mathematical models to enable performance assessments of drug-delivery devices without conducting numerous experiments, thus saving time and money. He is the co-author of a book on the subject, entitled “Closed-form Solutions for Drug Transport through Controlled-Release Devices in Two and Three Dimensions,” that was published in 2015 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.