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Alumnus and MIT Physics Professor Dr. Ibrahim Cisse to Speak at Dec 13 Commencement


Dr. Ibrahim Cissé, North Carolina Central University (NCCU) alumnus and assistant professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will deliver the Commencement address on Dec. 13, 2014 during North Carolina Central University’s 124th Commencement Exercises.

More than 600 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees will be presented at the ceremony, which will take place in McDougald–McLendon Gymnasium at 9 a.m.

Born in the West African country of Niger, Cissé came to the United States to attend college, enrolling initially at Durham Technical Community College. After completing two years of study, Cissé came to NCCU to major in physics. While attending NCCU, Cissé worked with Princeton University physicist Dr. Paul Chaikin to investigate the “packing density” of ellipsoid-shaped candy M&Ms in contrast to spherical-shaped bodies of equal size. The results of the research were published in Science magazine, the world's leading outlet for scientific news, commentary and cutting-edge research.

After earning his undergraduate degree in 2004, Cissé enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, completing his doctorate in physics in 2009.

He later completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Ecole Nomrale Superierure de Paris and worked as a research specialist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

In January 2014, Cissé was appointed to a tenure-track faculty position in the Department of Physics at MIT. In addition to teaching physics courses, he also directs the Cissé Laboratory, where current research is focused on the effect of biomolecular interactions on nuclear organization at the cellular level.

In 2004, he was one of three finalists for the LeRoy Apker Award for undergraduate research in physics, becoming the only student at a Historically Black College or University ever to receive the finalist citation. The award is given by the American Physical Society for undergraduate research in physics.

He is also the recipient of the National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award for 2014, which included a $2.3 million research grant. His other awards include being named a Scialog® Fellow of the Research Corporation for Science Development, a Long term Fellow of the European Molecular Biology Organization, and a Fellow in the Foundation Pierre Gilles de Gennes.

Cissé was recently the subject of a faculty profile by MIT for his work on the transcription of DNA.

Media Coverage of Commencement:

Media interested in covering the commencement ceremony should contact the Office of University Relations at 919-530-6295 or publicrelations@nccu.edu. For more information on Commencement, please visit web.nccu.edu/commencement/.

Published: Wednesday, December 03, 2014
by Senior Writer and Editor, Renee Elder
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