Isabella C. Locsin

Last month, Parsaoran Hutapea, a Mechanical Engineering professor, was honored to be nominated and elected as a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for his research and development contributions to the field. He impressively joined fewer than 3,000 of ASME's more than 100,000 members who have been selected as Fellows.


"It's an honor to be recognized by my peers," Hutapea said. "It validates that I have done good research at Temple's College of Engineering. It's only about 1-3% of ASME members are fellows, so I am proud."


Hutapea has been involved with ASME, an international engineering organization that promotes multidisciplinary collaboration and skill development, since his years as an undergraduate student at North Carolina State University and joined as a professional member in 2005, his first year teaching at Temple University. His Fellow distinction recognizes his many years of ASME involvement and outstanding achievements in engineering that will contribute to solving real-world challenges.


In the last 15 years, Hutapea developed an esteemed research program in surgical device design and mechanics. Focusing on the development of flexible and active surgical needles for robotics surgery, he received major funding from federal, state, private and local agencies.


On top of accruing various grants, leading an effort to establish an instrumentation core facility at Temple and winning numerous awards with his research group in Temple's Composites Laboratory, Hutapea is developing smart needles for brain and kidney applications with Intelligent Fiber Optic Systems Corporation to bring the devices to the marketplace.


"My lab at Temple focuses on studying design and mechanics of surgical needle devices inside tissues," Hutapea said. "Specifically, we are studying fundamental mechanics that influence the performance of the devices to improve their procedural efficiencies."


Hutapea's commitment to mechanical engineering research and development has also expanded into his 30 years of involvement with ASME, which played a significant role in his selection. In 2014, he was the hardware demonstration technical session lead for the 2014 ASME Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems. 


Then, he served on the executive committee for SMASIS as the vice chair and chair of Active Material Technologies and Integrated Systems Technical Committee from 2014 to 2016 and 2016 to 2018, respectively. He's also been a symposium organizer and a session chair for various ASME conferences.


For almost 19 years, Hutapea has been an invaluable professional member of ASME as well as the Temple community. Although his interests span gardening, walking, playing soccer and reading, his first love is his work in academia.


"Yes, I 'like' teaching in higher education. Maybe, 'love' is the better word," he said.


Moving forward, Hutapea will do what he always does: teaching and research. His contributions to mechanical engineering have already impacted the field and will continue with his newest title as an ASME Fellow.