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Cullen College of Engineering welcomes 13 new hires
Stephen Greenwell
The Cullen College of Engineering is proud to welcome the following 12 people to the faculty for the 2021-22 academic year, and beyond.
The Cullen College of Engineering is proud to welcome the following 12 people to the faculty for the 2021-22 academic year, and beyond.

The Cullen College of Engineering is proud to welcome 13 new professors and lecturers for the 2021-22 academic year, as part of its continuing effort to grow the faculty and to provide high quality instruction for undergraduate and graduate students, along with supporting its rapidly expanding research enterprise. By leading top-notch instruction and bolstering new industry collaborations, centers, labs and consortiums, each of these individuals will play a key role in taking the Cullen College to new heights.  

The following list of hires is organized by department and then name, both in alphabetical order. For more information, please contact their respective department chairperson. 

  • William A. Brookshire Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering: Jerrod Henderson, assistant professor. Henderson has been an instructional professor at UH and served the college in other roles, before being hired for this tenure-track position following a national search. A write-up of Henderson's hiring was posted here
  • William A. Brookshire Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering: Gül Zerze, assistant professor. Zerze currently works as a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University. Her research primarily covers the fundamental understanding of molecules of life via molecular simulation methods and theory. She will join the Cullen College on January 1, 2022.
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering: Behrooz Ferdowsi, assistant professor. Ferdowsi served as an associate research scholar in the Department of Geosciences at Princeton, following a position as the Harry H. Hess Postdoctoral Fellow from 2017-2019. His area of study is constitutive laws for rock friction, and revisiting the physical basis for an existing empirical constitutive modeling framework for frictional behavior of rocks and other Earth materials, known as the "rate- and state-dependent friction" framework. 
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering: Pietro Milillo, assistant professor. Milillo worked as a scientist and postdoctoral fellow for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, before being hired by UH. His thesis was on the synergistic use of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) constellations for studying natural and anthropogenic phenomena. 
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering: Mim Rahimi, assistant professor. Rahimi was a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT from 2018 to 2021. He completed his doctorate at Penn State in 2017. In his lab, electrochemical processes are being developed to help industries become more energy-efficient and to capture CO2 from either point sources or air. For more information, visit his lab's website
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering: Mahdi Safa, senior lecturer. Safa officially joined the Cullen College on July 1, 2021 as a senior lecturer for the new construction engineering program at UH at Katy. Safa served as an assistant professor of Construction Management at Sam Houston State for the past three years. He also taught at Lamar University for three years. 
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering: Hao Huang, distinguished adjunct professor. Huang joined the College earlier this summer on July 1, 2021. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and holds more than 80 patents for his innovations in the aeronautics field. For more information, a write-up of his hiring was posted here
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering: Deepa Ramachandran, senior lecturer. Prior to joining UH on July 1, 2021 as a senior lecturer for the computer engineering and analytics program at UH at Katy, Ramachandran served as a freelance teaching consultant for the Wennovation Hub, a tech incubator and non-profit that provides consultant services for businesses wanting to do business in Africa, beginning in 2018. She was also a lecturer at Rice University from 2015 to 2018. 
  • Industrial Engineering: Nathanial Wiggins, senior lecturer. Wiggins joined UH as a senior lecturer for the systems engineering program on August 1, 2021. Prior to this role, Wiggins was a distinguished professor of Engineering and Mathematics at San Jacinto College for 12 years. 
  • Mechanical Engineering: Tian “Tim” Chen, assistant professor. Before joining the Cullen College, Chen served as a postdoctoral scientist at the EPFL's Flexible Structures Laboratory & Geometric Computing Laboratory in Switzerland, beginning in 2019. He received his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from ETH Zurich in Switzerland. 
  • Mechanical Engineering: Daniel Floryan, assistant professor. Floryan was a postdoctoral research associate in the Complex Flows and Fluids Research Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his doctorate from Princeton in 2019. He will officially join the College on October 1, 2021.  
  • Mechanical Engineering: Bo Zhao, assistant professor. Before joining UH, Zhao worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Stanford University, after earning his doctorate from Georgia Tech in 2016. The Zhao Group is engaged in theoretical and experimental understanding of photonic transport processes for thermal management, energy conversion and information processing. For more information, visit the group's webpage
  • Petroleum Engineering: Zeinab Zargar, lecturer. Zargar has worked as a research assistant in Petroleum Engineering at the Cullen College of Engineering since 2018. She earned her doctorate in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada in 2017.

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