The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute welcomes Zigurts Majumdar, Ph.D. (aka Ziggy) as Director of Development and Senior Lecturer. Dr. Majumdar brings broad experience from academia, industry and as an entrepreneur in translating science and technology to application. He is regarded as an expert in biophysics and optical spectroscopy and has applied his expertise in diverse areas including energy, medicine, defense, forensics and the environment. In addition to publications and patents, he has extensive experience developing and managing solutions-driven R&D efforts for numerous government and private organizations, including more than 10 programs as a consultant to DARPA and ARPA-E.
“I am excited to join the LRC, because of their excellent track record in connecting science to everyday human needs and their tradition of training students and industry professionals. The diversity of experience and perspectives at the LRC, which include engineers, biophysicists, health professionals, architects and plant pathologists, to name a few, give it a unique capability,” said Dr. Majumdar.
Dr. Majumdar holds a bachelor’s in physics from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he won the Drickamer Research Fellowship for his thesis research under Professor Robert Clegg in the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics. He was a 2005 recipient of an NRC postdoctoral fellowship and worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland with Dr. Robert Bonner, helping develop non-invasive imaging methods for early detection of retinal abnormalities, such as auto-fluorescence and macular pigment spatial distributions, as part of the Age Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS-2). Next, he spent over 6 years at Booz Allen Hamilton, helping clients develop and manage large R&D portfolios, developing imaging and sensing technologies, and working in product development, and won several awards, including a Booz Allen Excellence Award. Most recently, he founded his own company, Zin-X, offering consulting services to the U.S. Department of Energy and other organizations and has been active in developing low-cost approaches to spectral imaging for forensics, health and environmental applications.
“I hope to build and expand upon the LRC’s success in areas which pose challenges for our society, such as health and agriculture. In the last couple years, about 18% of U.S. GDP was spent on healthcare and the food system consumed about 15% of U.S. energy, along with major impacts on water and the environment as a whole. Using light in clever ways, one can imagine replacing chemical use on farms, reducing waste and increasing yield. Human health can also be improved, hospital visits reduced and infections reduced. Such innovations can add up to a significant impact for society,” said Dr. Majumdar. “Light is always an exciting area to work in—not only is it essential for life and a renewable supply of energy, it is a powerful tool for sensing, diagnostics, therapeutics and communication. Indoors, there is great potential for innovation in other parts of the spectrum, such as UV and infrared. I look forward to using my experience in imaging and spectroscopy to deploy practical sensing solutions and augment capabilities of people that perform mission critical tasks, such as first responders, investigators and surgeons.”