Jonsson School Adds Experts in Energy, Computer Engineering

Dean Poras Balsara

Dr. Poras T. Balsara

The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science has added nine new tenured and tenure-track faculty members this year, expanding its roster of researchers and teachers. With the new hires, the school continues its recent trend of expansion and growth. Since 2008, the school has doubled in size with the creation of four new departments and nine new degree programs.

The new faculty members work in a variety of areas, collectively creating a diverse range of expertise. Their research interests cover renewable energy, software engineering, and dynamic systems and control. Some of the new professors come to UT Dallas from postdoctoral research positions, while others held research positions at places such as Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The school now has nearly 260 faculty members who teach about 7,500 students. The labs of some of the new faculty members will move into the new engineering building, which will house the Department of Mechanical Engineering and is expected to open in fall 2018.

“The addition of these faculty members, each an expert in their own right, brings added value to the Jonsson School. These researchers and teachers will contribute not only to the advancement of their fields through innovation, but also will improve the success of our students with hands-on guidance and instruction,” said Dr. Poras T. Balsara, interim dean and professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The school's faculty members are continually recognized for their research and teaching. This year, the work of two professors made it on to Google Scholar’s list of classic papers, a collection that showcases highly cited papers that have stood the test of time. Dr. Robert Hart, clinical associate professor of mechanical engineering, garnered a 2017 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award for delivering the highest quality instruction, and Balsara was honored with a 2017 Provost Award for Faculty Excellence in Research Mentoring. Also, Dr. Ravi Prakash, professor of computer science, received the President’s Teaching Excellence Award in Graduate/Professional Instruction.


New Tenure-Track Faculty 

Dr. Rodrigo A. Bernal

Dr. Rodrigo A. Bernal

Dr. Rodrigo A. Bernal, assistant professor, mechanical engineering

Previously: postdoctoral associate, University of Pennsylvania

Research interests: mechanical properties of nanomaterials, multiphysics phenomena at the nanoscale, nanoscale metrology, MEMS and NEMS, electron microscopy

Quote: “I decided to come to UT Dallas because of the impressive growth of the Jonsson School, which also provides the opportunity to participate in shaping its future direction. I was also attracted by the high caliber of my fellow faculty in mechanical engineering and our research facilities. I am investigating how we can apply mechanical deformation (stretch, compress, twist) to nanomaterials in order to control other properties, such as electrical resistance or temperature. This research has applications for the next generation of electronic sensors.”

Dr. Kyle Fox

Dr. Kyle Fox

Dr. Kyle Fox, assistant professor, computer science 

Previously: postdoctoral associate, Duke University 

Research interests: algorithms and theory, computational geometry and topology, combinatorial optimization, graph algorithms 

Quote: “I research the algorithmic foundations of computer science and their relationship to geometry and topology. UT Dallas provides me with both resources and a network of colleagues vital for doing my work.”

Dr. Ghanshyam Gohil

Dr. Ghanshyamsinh Gohil

Dr. Ghanshyamsinh Gohil, assistant professor, electrical and computer engineering

Previously: postdoctoral researcher, North Carolina State University

Research interests: power electronics, renewable energy integration, electrical vehicles

Quote: “Power electronics touches every aspect of our life. From the cars we drive and houses we live in, to the electronic appliances that we use and energy we consume, power electronics impacts the way we utilize electric power. Substantial portions of power consumed today flow through power electronics converter. My research focus is to make these power converters more efficient, reliable, smaller and cost-effective so that the human life can be improved.”

Dr. Todd Griffith

Dr. Todd Griffith

Dr. Todd Griffith, associate professor, mechanical engineering

Previously: principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico; technical lead for Sandia’s Offshore Wind Energy Program

Research interests: renewable energy, with a focus in wind energy and structural dynamics

Quote: “My research is focused on developing new wind turbine technologies — such as large-scale, novel rotor blade concepts and smart sensing for health management — that have the potential to improve performance and reduce the cost of electricity. Both UT Dallas and the state of Texas provide excellent environments and opportunities to perform cutting-edge research and to train students in the wind energy and broader renewable energy field.” 

Dr. Shuang Hao

Dr. Shuang Hao

Dr. Shuang Hao, assistant professor, computer science

Previously: postdoctoral associate at University of California, Santa Barbara

Research interests: network security, large-scale measurement, anomaly detection, underground economics

Quote: “My research focuses on detecting and mitigating unwanted traffic and online attacks in large-scale systems. The goal is to improve the security and usability of internet services. The Department of Computer Science and the Cyber Security Research and Education Institute at UT Dallas have excellent environments and support to conduct leading research and education. I am very excited to work with my colleagues and students.”

Dr. Yang Hu

Dr. Yang Hu

Dr. Yang Hu, assistant professor, electrical and computer engineering

Previously: PhD candidate, University of Florida

Research interests: computer architecture, network system, internet of things, edge computing, hardware acceleration for emerging applications

Quote: “My research helps modern AI and machine learning technologies to be seamlessly deployed in our surrounding environment. I am interested in developing internet of things and computer architecture techniques toward this goal. I joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for its interdisciplinary research background and strong collaboration with industries. The department’s strategic plan on IoT also makes it an attractive and exciting place to work.”

Dr. Justin Koeln

Dr. Justin Koeln

Dr. Justin Koeln, assistant professor, mechanical engineering

Previously: postdoctoral research associate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research interests: dynamic systems and control, energy systems, distributed control

Quote: “My research aims to increase the performance and efficiency of complex energy systems through dynamic modeling and control. I am eager to work with the exceptional students and faculty at UT Dallas and continue to grow the University’s strength in dynamic control systems, thermal-fluid sciences and power systems.”

Dr. Sriraam Natarajan

Dr. Sriraam Natarajan

Dr. Sriraam Natarajan, associate professor, computer science

Previously: associate professor, School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, Indiana University

Research interests: machine learning and artificial intelligence with emphasis on health care problems

Quote: “I have joined UT Dallas to continue the development of human-aware artificial intelligence algorithms that are generalizable and can effectively model heterogeneous, multi-relational, temporal and noisy data with a human-in-the-loop.”

Dr. Shiyi Wei

Dr. Shiyi Wei

Dr. Shiyi Wei, assistant professor, computer science

Previously: postdoctoral associate, University of Maryland

Research interests: software engineering, programming languages, security

Quote: “My research focuses on designing automated tools to improve the security and reliability of real-world software. My work has been devoted to developing state-of-the-art analysis techniques detecting critical security vulnerabilities in popular applications. I continue to address the challenges of tool usability and scalability, exploring new ways to combine program analysis, machine learning and crowdsourcing.” 

New Faculty Series

News Center is publishing profiles of tenured and tenure-track professors who have recently joined the University. The following school profiles have been published:

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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