FOE Alumna Wins CAETS Communication Prize


Fri, October 13, 2023

Washington D.C., October 13, 2023 —

NAE Gilbreth Lecturer and Frontiers of Engineering participant Caitlin Howell has been awarded the 2023 CAETS Communication Prize.

The CAETS Communication Prize is an annual competition of the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) that is designed to encourage technological scientists and engineers around the world to effectively communicate in a simple and engaging manner with general audiences. The award aims to amplify the impact engineering has on governments and the general public by communicating the important role of technology in society. Entries are in the form of a short video that explains the societal importance of technological breakthroughs and engineering successes in a manner that is easily understood by and of interest to broad audiences. All entries must be endorsed by a CAETS member academy.

“Dr. Howell was nominated by the National Academy of Engineering as part of NAE’s ongoing efforts to recognize outstanding early-career engineers,” said NAE President John L. Anderson. “Caitlin’s research is impressive and impactful and we are very excited that she is being recognized on an international level,” he added.

Umaine Graphic 2.pngDr. Howell was selected from among thousands of early-career engineers to participate in the NAE Frontiers of Engineering (FOE) Symposium in 2022. Based on her FOE presentation, she was one of four individuals selected to be a Gilbreth Lecturer at the 2023 NAE National Meeting, where she presented “Materials-Based Approaches to Prevent Biofilm-Associated Infections” to more than 200 high school students. Based on feedback from that presentation, she was selected to represent the NAE for the CAETS Communication Prize.

Dr. Howell is associate professor of biomedical engineering and head of the Biointerface and Biomimetics Lab at the University of Maine. Since 2016, she and her team have worked on drawing inspiration from nature and working across the disciplines of biology, chemistry, and materials science to address major issues in human health. Inspired by how the human body controls its large, diverse bacterial cohorts, her work has led to discoveries in methods to resist infection in medical devices without the need for antibiotics.

Dr. Howell and her team also focus on developing new ways to use biodegradable and renewable materials such as cellulose in biomedical applications. She received her BS and MS degrees in biology from the University of Maine and a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

For more information on Dr. Howell’s research and background, please visit the University of Maine’s website at

Detailed information on the CAETS Communication Prize is available on the CAETS website.