Kenneth Vecchio currently serves as Chair of the newly established Department of NanoEngineering at the Jacobs School, part of the University of California at San Deigo. Vecchio joined the Jacobs School faculty in 1988, shortly after earning his Ph.D. in materials science from Lehigh University.
Vecchio, who was appointed as chair January 2008, is in charge of the development of the Jacobs School's innovative first-of-its-kind NanoEngineering educational program that will develop in phases and eventually serve 400 undergraduate and 120 graduate students. The new Department of NanoEngineering utilizes a multidisciplinary research and educational approach to engineering that seeks to capitalize on the potential of a new generation of multi-functional nanoscale devices and special materials built on the nanoscale. The department is the sixth of the Jacobs school and covers a broad range of topics, but focuses particularly on biomedical nanotechnology, nanotechnologies for energy conversion, computational nanotechnology, and molecular and nanomaterials. The department also serves as the administrative home of the existing undergraduate and graduate programs in chemical engineering.
Prior to being appointed chair of this department, Vecchio served as Director of the Electron Microscopy Facility in the Jacobs School for ten years. From 2005-2008 he focused his research on nanomaterials, carbon nanotube synthesis, nanoparticles-reinforced polymers and composites and other areas of nanomaterials development. Together with four other Jacobs School professors, Vecchio formed a leadership team that formed the new NanoEngineering department.