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Tedesco Steps Down, Sharma Named Interim Dean
Joseph Tedesco [left] and Pradeep Sharma [right].
Joseph Tedesco [left] and Pradeep Sharma [right].

Pradeep Sharma, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Chair, has been named the Interim Dean of the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston following 10 years as the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Sharma assumed this new role on Nov. 1, 2023. He succeeds Dr. Joseph W. Tedesco, who is the longest serving dean in the history of the Cullen College of Engineering with nearly 16 years of exemplary leadership.

“Dr. Tedesco was a very consequential dean and achieved significant milestones in our journey to a tier 1 engineering college,” Sharma said. “He dramatically increased our research expenditures, student success rate, U.S. News & World Report ranking, catalyzed the construction of a new engineering building and achieved the merger between the Cullen College of Engineering and the College of Technology. He made our college the powerhouse that it is now and left big shoes to fill.”

Sharma began his professional career in academia at UH, after earning his doctorate and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland at College Park and working as a senior scientist at GE R&D.

“I started my career in this very college in 2004 and feel privileged to now have the opportunity to serve its students, faculty, and staff in this new role,” he said.

Sharma is an internationally recognized scientist with pioneering contributions in fields ranging from theoretical materials science to understanding biophysical phenomena. He is most known for creating the sub-field of flexoelectricity. His research topics include soft magnetoelectric materials for wireless energy harvesting, why some people hear music better than others, and nanoscale origami, to name a few.

Sharma was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Engineering in 2022. Some of his other awards and honors include the Guggenheim fellowship, the Fulbright, the Richards medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), and the Engineering Science Medal from the Society of Engineering Science. In addition to serving on the editorial boards of several journals, he is the Editor-in-Chief of the flagship journal of the ASME, the Journal of Applied Mechanics.

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