Established in 1981 by the estate of Theophilus H. Smoot

THEOPHILUS H. SMOOT came to Hopkins as a research assistant in mechanical engineering in 1942, and became a research associate in 1946. Mr. Smoot, who died in Florida in 1976, made estate provisions to endow a professorship upon the death of his widow, Helen A. Smoot. (Chairholder Denis Wirtz's research centers on investigations of cell micromechanics, cell architecture, nuclear shape and gene expression. Shown are healthy mouse cells with fluorescent staining of the nucleus (blue) and microtubules (green) emanating from the microtubule organizing center (red).)


DENIS WIRTZ, Johns Hopkins University professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and director of the Engineering in Oncology Center, has been named the Theophilus Halley Smoot Professor in the Whiting School of Engineering.

Dr. Wirtz is the founding associate director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology. He was named a 2009 fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in the Engineering Section for his contributions to cell micromechanics, cell adhesion, and for the development and application of particle tracking methods that probe the micromechanical properties of living cells.

He is on the editorial boards of Biophysical Journal, Cell Adhesion and Migration and Physical Biology. In 2005, he was named a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Wirtz won the National Science Foundation Career Award in 1996 and the Whitaker Foundation Biomedical Engineering Foundation Award in 1997.

Dr. Wirtz came to Johns Hopkins faculty in 1994 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in physics and biophysics at ESPCI (Paris). Wirtz earned his PhD in chemical engineering from Stanford University in 1993.