By David Staudacher
Laxman Saggere, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering (MIE), died April 27, 2020, after a long battle with cancer.
Saggere joined the MIE department in 2001 as an assistant professor with a courtesy appointment in bioengineering. He was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 2007. He was the director of the Saggere Lab, where he researched the fundamental and applied aspects of microsystems (MEMS) and nanoengineering. He sought to develop innovative biomimetic and bioinspired microsystems for unmet needs in biomedical, micro- and nanomanufacturing and other areas with an interdisciplinary approach, which include mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, MEMS technology, and neuroscience.
His notable honors include the NIH Trailblazer Award from the National Institutes of Health in 2019; best paper awards from the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition; ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences in 2011, 2009, and 2004; the Faculty Research Award from the UIC College of Engineering in 2009 and 2006; and the prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation in 2005.
Based on his achievements as a researcher and his quality as a person, Saggere was respected and liked by colleagues, staff members, and students, many of whom spoke highly of him during a recent online memorial.
“It’s never easy to lose someone you know,” said Farzad Mashayek, head of the MIE department. “It’s even more difficult to lose someone whom you worked with so closely and relied upon. I truly believe that Laxman was one of the most devoted and consequential members of this department. There’s no doubt that he will be missed.”
“Laxman was an exceptional person,” said Carmen M. Lilley, associate professor in the MIE department. “He was more than a great researcher and colleague. He also had deep empathy and was a truly kind person.
“My start as an academic was a tough one,” she continued, “and Laxman understood the challenges I was experiencing. He freely offered his support and was generous with his time. I knew I could always count on getting his feedback on my proposals and research. He would also always offer sage advice when I asked him for his opinion. I will deeply miss his friendship in the department and I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Neelam.”
In addition to Mashayek and Saggere’s wife, Neelam Taneja, the online memorial was attended by current and former members of the department community, as well as Saggere’s former Ph.D. advisor, Professor Sridhar Kota of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and one of his former lab mates from graduate school, Professor Gondi Ananthasuresh of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
The speakers praised him for his achievements, strong work ethic, attention to detail, and his dedication to the department, students, faculty, and the university. They especially celebrated him as a wonderful and caring person.
Additional speakers at the online memorial included:
College of Engineering Dean Peter Nelson
Distinguished Professor Ahmed Shabana
Professor Ken Brezinsky
Distinguished Professor Constantine “Dino” Megaridis
Associate Professor Michael Scott
Assistant Professor Sushant Anand
Assistant Professor Pranav Bhounsule
Professor Sridhar Kota, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Professor Gondi Ananthasuresh, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
David Staudacher, Assistant Director of Communications
Dr. Mandar Deshpande, UIC alumnus
Sai Siva Kare, current student
The full memorial can be viewed here.