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CULLEN COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering

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20 New Faces and Brilliant Minds Join the UH Cullen College of Engineering Faculty, Including Four National Academy of Engineering Members

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Laurie Fickman
Spread out in different departments and new to the Cullen College are some of the most brilliant minds in engineering, including four members of the National Academy of Engineering
Spread out in different departments and new to the Cullen College are some of the most brilliant minds in engineering, including four members of the National Academy of Engineering

The Cullen College of Engineering proudly welcomes some of the most brilliant minds in the engineering field to its faculty during the 2016 - 2017 year.

Biomedical Engineering

Member of the National Academy of Engineering Jerome Schultz joins UH in the spring of 2017 as a Distinguished Professor of biomedical engineering. His career spans five decades of research, teaching, awards, publishing and patents. He has been awarded more than $32.3M in research contracts and grants during his prestigious career.

Founding chairman of the department of bioengineering at the University of California, Riverside, Schultz’s experience is unmatched. His research interests include biosensors, facilitated diffusion in membranes, restricted diffusion in membranes, transport processes in tissues, pharmacokinetics, immobilized enzymes and bioimaging. Schultz’s research has been published in nearly 130 peer-reviewed articles.

Schultz received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1958 and earned both his M.S. and B.S. in chemical engineering from Columbia University in 1956 and 1954, respectively.

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Konrad Krakowiak joins the Cullen College of Engineering as an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. He comes to UH from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he served as a research assistant in the Concrete Sustainability Hub, an industry-university partnership dedicated to advancing the technology transfer from concrete nanoscience into engineering practice.

Krakowiak is particularly interested in improving civil infrastructure through synthesis, mechanics and durability of construction materials to address critical issues of our built-in environment.

He has traveled the world for his education, receiving his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Minho in Portugal and his M.S. in theory and computer analysis of structures at Warsaw University of Technology.

Arturo Leon becomes a member of the Cullen College of Engineering as an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. He previously served as assistant professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at Oregon State University.

Leon’s research interests include areas tailor-made for Houston: resilient approaches to flood control, optimal reservoir operation under uncertainty, sustainable storm water management and modeling, real-time control of complex hydraulic systems, computational hydraulics and physical modeling of hydraulic structures.

At OSU he developed a standalone course on storm water management and modeling, one of a few that exist in the United States.

Leon holds a 2000 M.S. degree in hydraulic engineering from National University of Engineering in Peru and a 2007 Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Stacey Louie joins the faculty as assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. To earn her 2014 doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she wrote a thesis entitled “Characterization and modeling of macromolecules on nanoparticles and their effects on nanoparticle aggregation.”

Louie received an NRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Most recently, Louie served as Highlights Editor of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal, Environmental Science: Nano, writing bimonthly articles to highlight recent research at the forefront of environmental nanotechnology.

Louie holds memberships in the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP) and the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Member of the National Academy of Engineering, Kaushik Rajashekara joins the Cullen College as a Distinguished Professor of electrical and computer engineering. He became an NAE member for contributions to electric power conversion systems in transportation in 2012.

A fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors, Rajashekara comes to Houston from the University of Texas at Dallas where he served as Distinguished Professor and Endowed Chair in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Erik Jonssen School of Engineering and Computer Science.

From 1989 to 2006, Rajashekara was technical fellow and chief scientist for advanced energy systems at Delphi Corporation/General Motors, where he provided a vision for future technology in the area of propulsion and power conversion systems for electric, hybrid, fuel cell vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles. 

In 1984, Rajashekara received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India and, in 1992, he completed a master’s of business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University in Indianapolis.

Rose Faghih joins UH in the spring of 2017 as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. She received an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2010 and 2014, respectively.

Faghih holds a postdoctoral position at the MIT Neuroscience Statistics Research Laboratory. Her research interests are control, estimation, system identification, and modeling neural and physiological systems in health and disease, personalized medicine and biomedical data science with a focus on neuroendocrine hormones.

IEEE-USA and DiscoverE Foundation selected Faghih as one of the 2016 New Faces of Engineering. You’re welcome to talk to her about either neuroscience or poetry. Along with her many publications, she is the published author of two books of poetry.

Hien Nguyen is a new Cullen College assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. He has a compelling interest in medical imaging and healthcare technology. 

During his doctoral research, Nguyen developed the first general framework for learning non-linear sparse representations, creating an algorithm that demonstrated superior performances on tumor segmentation from MRI images and on classification of heavily corrupted digital images.

In 2013, he received his Ph.D. in machine learning and computer vision at the University of Maryland in College Park. Since then he has been working as a research scientist at Siemens Corporate Research in Princeton, New Jersey.

Xiaonan Shan comes to the UH Cullen College as assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Arizona State University in Tempe in 2011 and his B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering in China at Peking University in 2006. Shan comes from the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University where he was an assistant research professor.

Shan’s research focuses on developing imaging and detection techniques, such as plasmonic imaging techniques, to solve the critical problems in biomedical and energy research.

He has published papers in high impact journals, such as Science, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Chemistry, Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences and Nano letters.

Industrial Engineering

In the spring of 2017, Taewoo Lee moves over to Cullen College of Engineering as assistant professor of industrial engineering from Rice University’s Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics, where he is a postdoctoral fellow.

Lee received his Ph.D. in operations research at the University of Toronto in 2015.

His recent research focuses on the development of inverse optimization and machine learning techniques with applications to cancer therapy and medical decision-making in the field of organ transplantation and personalized medicine.

Mechanical Engineering

Andrea Prosperetti becomes a Distinguished Professor of mechanical engineering at the Cullen College. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering for his work involving fluid mechanics, specifically multiphase flows.

In 2003, the American Physical Society honored him with the highest award in his field, the Fluid Dynamics Prize. Since 2008, he has served as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Multiphase Flow and serves on the editorial board of the Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics.

Prosperetti comes from Johns Hopkins University, where he is the Charles A. Miller Jr. Professor of mechanical engineering. He also serves part time as the Gerrit Berkhoff Professor of applied physics at the University of Twente in The Netherlands.

He earned an M.S. in 1972 and a Ph.D. in engineering science in 1974 from the California Institute of Technology.

He is the single author of approximately 40 papers and co-author of over 160 others. 

Theocharis Baxevanis joins the Cullen College of Engineering as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

He comes from Texas A&M University in College Station where he was an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. From 2005 to 2010, he taught at the University of Crete in the Department of Applied Mathematics.

Originally from Greece, Baxevanis completed his 2003 Ph.D. in civil engineering at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

His areas of interest include constitutive modeling and numerical implementation, finite element analysis, damage of geomaterials, creep failure of fiber-reinforced composites, high strain-rate response of metals, fracture of shape memory alloys and material instability and localization.

Daniel Araya is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering who joined the Cullen College last spring as an instructional professor. Araya comes to UH from the California Institute of Technology, where he earned both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aeronautics. He also holds an M.S. and B.S. in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University.

Araya’s primary research interests include vortex dynamics, free-shear flows, atmospheric boundary layer flows, hydrodynamic stability, flow visualization techniques, passive flow control, urban wind farming, multi-rotor drone aerodynamics, renewable energy storage, biologically driven flows and space exploration.

Petroleum Engineering

Mohamed Soliman is professor and department chair of petroleum engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering. He is a distinguished member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Soliman has an illustrious career in reservoir completion and production engineering. He holds 27 patents on fracturing operations and analysis, testing and conformance applications. He is an author or co-author of over 200 technical papers and articles in areas of fracturing, reservoir engineering, well test analysis, conformance and numerical simulation. 

He joins the Cullen College from Texas Tech University, where he has served as George P. Livermore Chair Professor and department chair from 2011 to 2013. From 1979 to 2011, Soliman had a distinguished career at Halliburton Energy Services leading technology development in areas including exploitation of unconventional gas reservoirs.

In 1978, Soliman received a Ph.D. in petroleum engineering from Stanford University in California. Three years earlier he received his master’s in petroleum engineering at the same school.

National Academy of Engineering member Ganesh Thakur joins the Cullen College as a Distinguished Professor of petroleum engineering.

Thakur is recognized globally as a leader in reservoir engineering and water flood management and has written several Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) publications on the topic. He also has an impressive list of publications and teaching engagements conducted around the world.

During a career with Chevron that spanned four decades, Thakur served in various roles including vice president and global advisor and Chevron Fellow. He also served as the SPE President in 2012.

He earned his Ph.D. in petroleum and natural gas engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1973 after receiving his M.S. in mathematics there one year earlier. He also holds a 1980 master’s of business administration from Houston Baptist University.

Dimitrios Hatzignatiou comes on board as a professor of petroleum engineering, bringing with him more than 25 years of problem solving in the oil and gas, natural gas storage, CO2 geological storage and environmentally-related industrial fields. He has also been a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) for more than 25 years.

In 1990, he earned his Ph.D. in petroleum engineering at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. Four years earlier he earned an M.S. in petroleum engineering at the University of Alaska.

Since 2006 Hatzignatiou has been a professor at the University of Stavanger in Norway at the Center of Oil Recovery, developing and teaching the graduate enhanced oil recovery course and supervising and directing research work.

George Wong comes to the Cullen College of Engineering as an associate professor of petroleum engineering.

Wong has worked for Shell since 1985. In 2006, he became their principal technical expert in sand control and management. In 2015, he was honored with the Society for Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Distinguished Membership Award.

Wong holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Stanford University in California earned in 1984 and an M.S. in structural mechanics from the University of California, Davis earned in 1979.

Instructional Faculty

Jerrod Henderson joins the Cullen College as an instructional assistant professor in the Division of Undergraduate Programs and Student Success. He comes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he served as a lecturer in the chemical and biomolecular engineering department.

Henderson earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010 and 2007, respectively.

Holley Love joins as an instructional assistant professor of mechanical engineering. You could say Holley loves the Cullen College – she earned her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering here in 2013, her M.S. in mechanical engineering here in 2009 and her B.S. in biomedical engineering here in 2007.

Randal Sitton is a UH instructional associate professor in industrial engineering who joined the faculty as a lecturer last year. He comes from the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO) where he has served as senior grant programs specialist. Sitton earned both his M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the University of Houston, the latter in 1992.

Yaping Wang comes to the Cullen College as instructional assistant professor of industrial engineering from Texas A&M University where she was a graduate research assistant. She received her Ph.D. there in 2016 in industrial engineering and her M.S. in industrial engineering in 2010. In 2007, Wang earned an M.S. in computer science at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, China.

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