Jian Cao is currently a professor of Mechanical Engineering, Director of Northwestern Initiative for Manufacturing Science and Innovation, and an associate vice president for Research at Northwestern University. In this work, she oversees University Research Centers, helping to facilitate collaboration between the physical sciences and engineering and other disciplines across Northwestern. Her research in innovative manufacturing processes and systems has integrated analytical and numerical simulation methods, control and sensors, and design methodologies to advance manufacturing processes. Jian received her Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has published more than 250 technical papers and received eight U.S. patents. Among other accomplishments, she is the first U.S. woman elected to be a Fellow of the International Academy for Production Engineering (CIRP) founded in 1951. She is also a fellow of SME and ASME, received ASME Blackall Machine and Gage Award, and served as president of the SME North America Manufacturing Research Institute, and chair of ASME Manufacturing Engineering Division.