UCLA Engineering Adds New Faculty for 2009-10

Aug 12, 2009

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom

This year, six talented researchers and teachers have joined the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. These new faculty members bring a diverse range of expertise in several emerging fields.


Professor Gerard C.L. Wong
Ph.D. – UC Berkeley

Gerard Wong’s research program is centered on studying self-organization in biological and biomedical systems using state-of-the-art techniques from physics and chemistry. Current interests include antimicrobials, sociomicrobiology of bacterial communities, and high-resolution diffractive imaging techniques using synchrotron x-ray and electron scattering.

Prior to joining UCLA, Wong was a faculty member of the Materials Science, Physics, and Bioengineering departments of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He held two postdoctoral appointments, one at the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in Amsterdam, and one at UC Santa Barbara. He is a recipient of the Apker Award from the American Physical Society, the Beckman Young Investigator Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and Xerox Faculty Research Awards.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Assistant Professor Shaily Mahendra
Ph.D. – UC Berkeley

Shaily Mahendra’s research interests include environmental toxicology and applications of nanomaterials; applications of molecular and isotopic tools in environmental microbiology; and biodegradation of emerging water contaminants.

Prior to joining UCLA, Mahendra was a research scientist at Rice University.

Computer Science

Assistant Professor Jennifer Wortman Vaughan
Ph.D. – University of Pennsylvania

Jennifer Wortman Vaughan’s research interests are in machine learning, computational economics, social network theory, and algorithms, all of which she studies using techniques from theoretical computer science.

Vaughan will spend one year as a Computing Innovation Fellow at Harvard University before arriving at UCLA in 2010.

Electrical Engineering

Professor Suhas Diggavi
Ph.D. – Stanford University

Suhas Diggavi’s research interests are in information theory, wireless networks, and signal processing. His current work is in cooperative information flow over wireless networks; network data compression; network secrecy; and large scale data analysis algorithms.

Diggavi has been on the faculty of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. Before that, he was principal member of technical staff at the Information Sciences Center at AT&T Shannon Laboratory. Diggavi is a recipient of the 2006 IEEE Donald Fink Prize Paper Award, 2005 IEEE VTC best paper award, and the Okawa Foundation Award. He has been an associate editor for IEEE Communication Letters, and is currently an editor for ACM/IEEE Transactions on Networking and IEEE Transactions on Information Theory. He has 8 issued patents.

Assistant Professor Lara Dolecek
Ph.D. – UC Berkeley

Lara Dolecek’s research interests are broad and span information and probability theory, graphical models, combinatorics, statistical algorithms and
computational methods with applications to high-performance complex systems for data processing, communication,
and storage.

Prior to joining UCLA, Dolecek was a post-doctoral researcher at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Professor Tetsuya Iwasaki
Ph.D. – Purdue University

Tetsuya Iwasaki’s research interests include neuronal control mechanism of animal locomotion, nonlinear oscillators, and robust/nonlinear control theory and its applications to mechanical, aerospace, and electrical systems.

Prior to joining UCLA, Iwasaki was a faculty member at the University of Virginia. He had previously held a faculty appointment at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He has served as an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Systems and Control Letters, and IFAC Automatica and has received a NSF CAREER Award.

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