Skubic named Curators’ Distinguished Professor

September 20, 2021

Portrait of Marjorie Skubic

Marjorie Skubic

Mizzou Engineering’s Marjorie Skubic has been named a Curators’ Distinguished Professor, the highest honor bestowed on faculty at the University of Missouri System.

“I’m very honored and humbled and surprised,” said Skubic, a professor and Robert H. Buescher Faculty Fellow in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). “I see this as recognition for the eldercare work we have done, which is a collaborative effort of a broad group of researchers that cuts across campus in so many areas. It’s a reflection on all of the collaborators over the years I’ve been so fortunate to work with, including our innovative students.”

Skubic is one of two Mizzou Engineering faculty members from EECS to be honored by the UM Board of Curators. Shumaker Endowed Professor Dong Xu has also been named a Curators’ Distinguished Professor.

Skubic is director of the Mizzou Center for Eldercare and Rehabilitation Technology (CERT). Through the center, she has long investigated sensors and devices that allow older adults to monitor their health from home, including sensors that detect fall risks. She has six patents, and her technologies have been translated into commercial products now used in senior living facilities.

“Dr. Skubic has helped make a name for the University of Missouri through her ground-breaking work with health monitoring systems and medical assessments for older adults,” Mizzou Engineering Dean Noah Manring said. “What distinguishes Dr. Skubic is the translational side of her work. Her monitor and sensing technologies have improved the quality of countless lives, not only among elder populations, but also by providing peace-of-mind to their loved ones and caregivers. She is truly deserving of this recognition.”

Skubic came to Mizzou in 1997 after working in industry as a software developer and product manager. She chose Mizzou, she said, because of the ability to work with researchers across disciplines. Over the years, she’s collaborated with faculty from the MU School of Medicine, School of Nursing, School of Health Professions, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“I came to Mizzou in the first place and stayed because it’s a place where you can do great interdisciplinary research,” she said. “The opportunities to work across campus and the possibilities are amazing.”

Skubic especially wanted to thank two faculty members she considers mentors: Curators Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jim Keller in electrical engineering and computer science, and Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emerita Marilyn Rantz from nursing.

On eldercare research, Keller has assisted with computational intelligence methods for analyzing data collected from the sensor technologies. She and Rantz have investigated those technologies as part of larger Aging in Place initiatives.

Through those collaborations, “our research has grown beyond my wildest imagination,” Skubic said.

Skubic also credits her husband, Dan Fischbach, for supporting her projects. A retired Navy pilot, Fischbach has built structures to allow her to experiment with various technologies.

“He’s my secret weapon,” she said.

Skubic is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. At MU, she is on the Aging in Place Board and the organizing committee of the MU Center for Healthy Longevity.