Distinguished Lecture | Women in Computing | Alumni | ECE Alumni Award Seminar

Sensing and Interconnect Technologies for Communications and Ecology, and Nanomedicine Applications

Rhonda FranklinMcKnight Presidential Endowed Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Abbott Professor for Innovative Education in the Institute for Engineering and MedicineUniversity of Minnesota
1200 EECS BuildingMap

Rhonda Franklin is the 2022 ECE Distinguished Educator Award recipient. 

Two decades ago, we were imagining a single device that integrated computing, communications, and imaging and its use with wireless or internet technology for anytime, anywhere access for communicating, sensing, and data sharing. Today, this is reality! It paved the way for formation of the Internet of Things, Smart Connected Cities, and now 5G technology. These applications all rely on high-speed communication systems to move information from one point to another. Advances in designs for high-speed circuits, packaging and integration combined with fabrication using advances in microelectronics, nanotechnology, MEMS technology have revolutionized communication system hardware of today and has had a huge influence on healthcare and environmental monitoring applications. 

Now complex integrated applications like smart cities, precision agriculture, and precision health, imagined a decade ago, are evolving and advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and in some future cases quantum computing, will likely pave the way. Success of these new complex applications demand intersectionality of different technologies and integration approaches within/between systems that can operate over a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum (i.e., GHz to hundreds of GHz). Moreover, for electronics above millimeter wave frequencies, power consumption challenges will require exploration of novel design, fabrication, and materials for solutions. 

This talk will highlight some of the enabling technologies we have been investigating to advance communication systems and biosensing applications. Novel wired and wireless interconnect technology will be discussed using metamaterial antenna concepts and nanotechnology for 5G technology. Sensing technologies will also be presented for environmental monitoring in ecology research as well. The last portion of the talk is geared for students and will discuss career development strategies and provide examples of the role Michigan ECE can play in your career development and growth after graduation.


Rhonda R. Franklin received her B.S. from Texas A&M University, and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Electrical Engineering.  She is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at University of Minnesota. Her research investigates design of circuits, antennas, integration and packaging techniques, and characterization of electronic materials and magnetic nanomaterials for communication, biomedical and nanomedicine applications. She has co-authored over 130 referred conference and journals, six book chapters and has three patents.

She received the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and 3M Untenured Faculty Award. She is active in the IEEE MTT Society (i.e., associate editor of MWCL, inaugural editorial board of Microwave Journal, chaired IMS TPRC sub-committees, student paper competitions and undergraduate scholarship committee), is a co-founder of IMS Project Connect and is the recent-Chair of MTT-S Technical Coordinating Committee for Integration and Packaging. She received the 2019 IEEE N. Walter Cox Service Award (MTT-S), 2022 IEEE Diversity and Inclusion (IEEE MGA) award for her leadership of Project Connect and 2022 University of Michigan Alumni Distinguished Educator Award. At University of Minnesota, she received the 2014 Sara Evans Faculty Scholar Leader Award, 2017 John Tate Advising Award, 2018 Willie Hobbs Moore Distinguished Alumni Lecture Award (University of Michigan), 2020 ARCS Minnesota Scientist of the Year, 2020 Institute for Engineering and Medicine’s Abbott Professorship for Innovative Education, 2021 College of Science and Engineering (CSE) Distinguished Service Award, and 2022 McKnight Presidential Endowed Professorship.

Sponsored by

Electrical and Computer Engineering


Ann Stals