UCLA Samueli hires 16 new faculty members

Oct 5, 2018

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

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The UCLA Samueli School of Engineering welcomes 16 new professors in 2018-19 to a roster that includes more than 30 affiliated faculty members who are part of the National Academy of Engineering and 70 winners of the NSF CAREER Award. The school now has 187 ladder faculty members, the most in its history, part of an aggressive strategic initiative to expand the school’s faculty and student body by 30%. The new faculty members include some of the world’s most innovative scholars in biomaterials, machine learning, big data, cyberphysical systems, advanced materials, and more. Profiles of new faculty members starting this year are below.

Nasim Annabi
Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Annabi’s research focuses on the design and engineering of next-generation biomaterials for regenerative medicine. This includes understanding how cells and biomaterials interact, and developing new materials for tissue engineering. She has received major grants for her research from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the American Heart Association. Annabi joins UCLA Samueli from the faculty of Northeastern University. Prior to Northeastern, Annabi was an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She was also a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Annabi received her Ph.D. from the University of Sydney, Australia.

Xiang “Anthony” Chen
Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Chen’s research interests are in designing and building intelligent user-interface systems that enable people to intuitively interact with the emerging ecosystem of devices – from wearables, mobiles, and appliances, to fabrication machines such as 3D printers. He received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to UCLA Samueli, Chen was a research scientist at Tableau Research in Palo Alto, Calif. His honors include an Adobe Research Ph.D. Fellowship and two best paper awards.

Artur Davoyan
Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Davoyan’s research examines light and its interaction with materials at a very small scale. He is particularly interested in devising novel ways of light harvesting for applications related to spacecraft design, propulsion, energy and global sustainability. Prior to UCLA Samueli, Davoyan was a Prize Postdoctoral Fellow at the Resnick Sustainability Institute and the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, both at Caltech. He also was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, and a scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Davoyan received his Ph.D. from the Australian National University.

Carissa Eisler
Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Eisler’s research interests are in advancing fundamental understanding of light-material interactions at the nanoscale and using this foundation to develop transformative optoelectronic devices for solar energy, lighting, and computation. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and will start at UCLA Samueli in July 2019. Her honors include the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fellowship, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, and an Everhart Distinguished Graduate Student Lecturer award at Caltech, where she received her Ph.D. Eisler graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UCLA, and was the department’s outstanding senior at commencement.

Elisa Franco
Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Franco’s research interests are to understand the complex dynamic behaviors of biological systems at the molecular and cellular levels. Applications from her research include the development of programmable DNA, RNA and protein molecules to control biological processes. Franco is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UC Riverside and will join UCLA Samueli in November. She holds two doctorates – a Ph.D. in control and dynamical systems from Caltech, and a Ph.D. in automation from the University of Trieste, in Italy. Her honors include the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and a Hellman Fellowship.

Quanquan Gu
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Gu’s research focuses on statistical machine learning, specializing in developing robust, adaptive and efficient machine learning, data mining and optimization algorithms. Applications from this work include understanding complex data in social and information networks, neuroscience, and genomics. Prior to UCLA Samueli, Gu was an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Virginia. Prior to that post, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University. Gu’s honors include the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award and a Yahoo! Academic Career Enhancement Award. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Zhen Gu
Professor, Bioengineering

Gu’s research interests are controlled drug delivery, bio-inspired materials and nanobiotechnology, with applications in treatments for cancer and diabetes. Gu has received several top honors, including the Sloan Research Fellowship, Young Investigator Award of the Controlled Release Society and Pathway Award of the American Diabetes Association. In 2015, he was recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of the top global innovators under the age of 35. Gu received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UCLA Samueli in 2010. After graduating, he was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT and Harvard Medical School. Prior to returning to UCLA, Gu was a professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. He is also the co-founder of three start-up companies.

Cho-Jui Hsieh
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Hsieh’s research is in developing new algorithms for large-scale machine learning problems. Applications from this work include major improvements in speed, scalability, model size and security. Hsieh is currently an assistant professor of computer science and statistics at UC Davis and will join UCLA Samueli in November. He is the principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant and his honors including two IBM fellowships and several best paper awards at major conferences. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Achuta Kadambi
Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Kadambi gives robots sight by symbiotically blending camera and algorithm designs. With applications to cyberphysical systems and digital health, His research has been recognized with best paper awards, fellowships, and the Lemelson-MIT student prize. His imaging research has strong industrial implications, resulting in 15 US patent filings and an imaging start-up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Kadambi received his Ph.D. from MIT.

Carlos Morales-Guio
Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Morales-Guio’s research interests are in electrochemical catalysis with an emphasis on developing sustainable energy applications. This involves a range of chemical engineering subfields, including material synthesis and characterization, electrochemical testing, kinetic modeling, and reactor and process design. Currently, he is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and will join UCLA Samueli in November. Morales-Guio received his Ph.D. from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland. His honors include a Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and EPFL’s Asea Brown Boveri Award.

Ravi Netravali
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Netravali’s research interests are in computer systems and networking, with a recent focus on building practical systems to improve the performance and debugging aspects of large-scale, distributed web services. His research aims to improve applications including web pages, mobile apps, and video streaming/conferencing systems, for both users and developers. His honors include the Internet Research Task Force’s Applied Networking Research Prize and a Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. Netravali received his Ph.D. from MIT. He will join UCLA Samueli in January.

Junyoung Park
Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Park’s research interests are in systems-level understanding and engineering of metabolism – a network of biochemical reactions essential for all life forms and biotechnology. At the intersection of energy, environment, and medicine, his work has broad implications in managing carbon dioxide emissions, improving renewable energy generation and storage, and developing new targeted cancer therapies. Prior to joining UCLA, Park was a postdoctoral scholar at MIT. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Aaswath Raman
Assistant Professor Materials Science and Engineering

Raman’s research looks at how light and heat interact with nanoscale photonic materials, devices and metamaterials, with the goal of enabling transformative energy and information technologies. He is an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania and will join UCLA Samueli in November. His honors include the Sir James Lougheed Award of Distinction from the Government of Alberta, Canada, and the SPIE Green Photonics Award. Raman has also been recognized for his pioneering work on radiative sky cooling including by MIT Technology Review’s annual Innovators Under 35 (TR35) list, and recently gave a widely viewed TED talk on his research. He is also the co-founder of SkyCool Systems, a startup enabling more efficient building cooling systems. Raman received his Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Kunihiko “Sam” Taira
Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Taira and his research group analyze complex fluid flows using high-performance computing by combining concepts from fluid mechanics, dynamical systems theory, network science, and data science. He is currently an associate professor at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering at the Florida State University and will join UCLA Samueli in January. Taira is the principal investigator on several major research grants from federal agencies. His honors include young investigator awards from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Office of Naval Research. He received his Ph.D. from Caltech and was a postdoc at Princeton University. He also was an engineer with Honda’s R&D center and was a visiting professor at the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Harry Xu
Associate Professor, Computer Science

Xu’s research interests are in programming languages, compilers, runtime systems, distributed systems, big data systems and analytics, and software engineering. Prior to joining UCLA Samueli, Xu was an associate professor of computer science at UC Irvine. He has also been a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research. Xu is the lead principal investigator on major grants from the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research. His honors include the 2018 Dahl-Naagard Junior Prize, awarded annually to an early career researcher that has made significant contributions to the field of object orientation. Xu has also received a Google Faculty Fellowship, several distinguished paper awards, and an IBM Ph.D. Fellowship while at The Ohio State University, where his received his doctorate.

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