Donald H. Sebastian, Senior Vice President for Research and Development
Dr. Donald H. Sebastian is the Senior Vice President for Research & Development at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is responsible for academic affairs across all six colleges as well the academic research enterprise, developing partnerships with industry and managing governmental affairs, intellectual property development, business incubation, commercialization, and contract projects across the technology spectrum. Under his leadership, the university’s sponsored research grew to over $90M in 2008, placing NJIT in the top 10 engineering universities in the nation, while Federal funding doubled over the last seven years. In 2006 he was inducted into the New Jersey High-Tech Hall of Fame.
Dr. Sebastian is the academic lead developing the Newark Institute for Regenerative Medicine that has been awarded a state grant of $50M to build and equip a 100,000 square foot facility connecting clinical practice using adult stem cell therapies back to basic research in close collaboration with industrial partners. The facility is a key element of the economic development plans for the University Heights district of Newark. The biotech focus complements economic development stemming from the Port Newark expansion – a project that benefits from NJIT-led assistance resulting in a $100M USDOT appropriation to the state of New Jersey (NJ) for Liberty Corridor development and designation as a corridor of national significance.
Dr. Sebastian developed the program leading to NJIT’s designation by Governor’s Executive Order in June 2004 as the NJ Homeland Security Technology Systems Center. He serves as the start-up executive director of this statewide, public-private partnership to develop, validate and standardize new technologies for sustainable approaches to defending against terrorism. He was a member of the NJ Office of Counterterrorism Cyber-security Taskforce and the institutional representative for Higher Education on the State’s Infrastructure Advisory Committee and served as first sector chair for the Morris County infrastructure taskforce.
Dr. Sebastian has been the institutional lead in a State program to develop child-safe weapons technology that has drawn international media coverage, and attracted over $4M in state and federal support to develop the first biometric-based safety system for handguns. Dr. Sebastian was the principal academic organizer of the New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium, bringing the resources of the Lucent Bell Labs Silicon Fabrication Research lab and e-Beam nano-facility to the statewide research community. He served as the first Chairman of the Board.
Dr. Sebastian is a professor in the Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering. He joined NJIT in 1995 and was later appointed executive director of the Center for Manufacturing Systems. In 1996, Dr. Sebastian was the founder of the NJ Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc., New Jersey’s operation under the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)-sponsored, statewide assistance program for small to mid-sized manufacturers that has leveraged over $15M in federal funding. He continues as a member of the corporation’s Board of Directors.
Dr. Sebastian just completed a two-year term as Chairman of the R&D Council of New Jersey, and is Chairman of the Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Center and Executive Board Member of the Henry H. Kessler Foundation, and serves on the Boards of the NJ Marine Science Consortium, NJ Center for Biomaterials, the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc., the Polymer Processing Institute, Inc., and the Newark Innovation Zone.
Prior to joining NJIT, Dr. Sebastian was a member of the Chemical Engineering faculty at Stevens Institute of Technology where he was cofounder of the Design and Manufacturing Institute. He served as principal investigator on over $25M in external funding to support the establishment of a science-based foundation for integrated product and process design. Earlier, he was one of the founding team creating the Polymer Processing Institute, Inc., an academic-based industrial contract research center for which he now serves as a member of the Board of Trustees.
Dr. Sebastian has been involved in the numerical analysis and simulation of chemical and polymer processing operations throughout his academic career, applying his interest and expertise in software to both research and teaching. Dr. Sebastian held the position of Head of Computation and Information Technology for the Polymer Processing Institute and was the project manager and principal author of the commercial software package, PASS, which includes design tools for extrusion, die design, mold filling, and rheological analysis. His work in super-computer analysis of polymer processing equipment was regularly featured in the literature of the NSF sponsored John Von Neumann Center. He is co-author of "Principles of Polymerization Engineering" with Dr. J.A. Biesenberger, a contributing editor to the first text on computer techniques for polymer processing, "Computer-Aided Design for Injection Molding" with Ernest Bernhardt, and is a contributor to several other reference volumes on polymer processing that are currently in press.
Dr. Sebastian's expertise and enthusiasm extend beyond the laboratory. He has attracted significant funding for curricular development activities that bring new technology to the classroom and involve students in both development and implementation. He was principal investigator of a major program in undergraduate computing that was awarded over $1M in external funding from 1983-87. Sponsors included the Exxon Educational Foundation, E.I. DuPont, AlliedSignal Foundation, the State of New Jersey, and the US Department of Higher Education's highly competitive Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE). While at Stevens, Dr. Sebastian advised a variety of student organizations including the Honor Board and the Ski Team. The students of the class of 1990 honored him with the dedication of their yearbook, and he was recognized as the 1991 recipient of the Henry Morton Distinguished Teaching Professor Award.
Dr. Sebastian received his Bachelor of Engineering at Stevens, graduating as valedictorian of the class of 1974, followed by Masters of Engineering in 1975, and the Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1977. He resides in Randolph, NJ with his wife Catherine, daughters Caitlyn and Diana, and son Christopher.