Jonsson School Bolsters Roster of Experts to Meet Growing Needs

Dean Mark Spong

Dr. Mark Spong

The Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science continues its trend of adding about a dozen new tenure-track faculty members to its roster each year.

The new faculty members work in a range of fields, offering expertise from robotics and prosthetics to speech and music processing. Their research interests cover a gamut of subjects, including bioengineering, nanotechnology, cybersecurity and computational modeling. Some come to UT Dallas from postdoctoral research positions; others are from teaching and researching positions at universities in Paris, New York City and Singapore.

Nearly all of the new faculty members credit the growth of the Jonsson School and its increasing portfolio of research as reasons for joining the University. With the new additions, the Jonsson School has over 200 faculty members who teach about 7,000 students.

“Recently, we have opened the doors to the new Bioengineering and Sciences Building, creating an additional 220,000 square feet for world-class research labs to support biomedical engineering and our interdisciplinary work in the Texas Biomedical Device Center,” said Dr. Mark W. Spong, dean of the Jonsson School and holder of both the Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair in Electrical Engineering and the Excellence in Education Chair.  

“We have also started construction on a new engineering building that will primarily house the Mechanical Engineering Department and contain research and teaching labs, faculty offices and student workspaces. These efforts have helped us to recruit even more top faculty and students from around the world, as evidenced by our newest additions to the school.”

New Tenure-Track Faculty

Benjamin Carrion-Schafer

Dr. Benjamin Carrion-Schafer

Dr. Benjamin Carrion-Schafer, assistant professor, electrical engineering

Previously: assistant professor, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Research interests: VLSI design, reconfigurable computing

Quote: “The Department of Electrical Engineering at the Jonsson School has very famous professors in my area, with whom I am looking forward to collaborate. Also, the potential of industrial collaboration in my research field in Dallas is extraordinary. Dallas is becoming international hub for high technology industries, and UTD is not only benefiting from it, but also driving this transformation. It is extremely exciting to actively take part in this. My work on VLSI design and electronic design automation should contribute to strengthen the department's program, and I look forward to graduate my first students to support the growth of the local technology industry.”

Simon Dai

Dr. Simon Dai

Dr. Simon Dai, assistant professor, mechanical engineering

Previously: postdoctoral researcher, Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Pennsylvania State University

Research interests: bio-inspired materials, superhydrophobic surfaces, micro/nanofabrication, heat transfer, thermal management

Quote: “My research group will be focused on solving the critical energy, water and health issues in our society. We believe nature has already given us some solutions. We will keep learning from nature and conducting interdisciplinary research to break the conventional academic barriers and provide new solutions to the scientific and engineering communities. I look forward to working here with my colleagues and contributing to the fast growth of UT Dallas.”

Nicholas Fey

Dr. Nicholas Fey

Dr. Nicholas Fey, assistant professor, bioengineering and mechanical engineering, UT Dallas; physical medicine and rehabilitation, UT Southwestern Medical Center 

Previously: postdoctoral fellow, Center for Bionic Medicine, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago; physical medicine and rehabilitation, Northwestern University

Research interests: neuromuscular biomechanics, rehabilitation engineering and robotics, prosthetics and orthotics

Quote: “The Jonsson School provides a unique environment for my research in applied biomechanical engineering to complement local experts in controls engineering and applied neuroscience, as well as a means to translate device and rehabilitation interventions to the clinic via a close and productive relationship with the UT Southwestern Medical Center. It is no coincidence that an environment of such quality and scale was an opportunity provided by the Lone Star State.”

Joseph Friedman

Dr. Joseph S. Friedman

Dr. Joseph S. Friedman, assistant professor, electrical engineering 

Previously: CNRS research associate, Université Paris-Saclay

Research interests: beyond-CMOS computing, logic circuit design, spintronics, carbon nanotubes, graphene, memristors

Quote: “As Moore’s Law comes to an end, my research objective is to invent, design and analyze novel computing paradigms that exploit nanoscale phenomena to achieve greater capabilities than conventional CMOS architectures. I am excited to contribute to interdisciplinary collaboration at UT Dallas by connecting materials and device research with computing applications.”

Qing Gu

Dr. Quin Gu

Dr. Qing Gu, assistant professor, electrical engineering

Previously: postdoctoral researcher, University of California, San Diego

Research interests: design, fabrication and characterization of nano- and micro-scale semiconductor devices (such as lasers, waveguides and sensors), novel light-emitting materials, quantum behavior analysis in nanostructures and integrated photonic circuits

Quote: “Miniature semiconductor lasers have recently become excellent candidates for light sources for various applications such as photonic integrated circuits and bio-sensing. Investigating such devices using novel light-emitting materials and cavity designs at UT Dallas promises to improve the performance and to open new areas of application for these lasers.”

Tien Nguyen

Dr. Tien N. Nguyen

Dr. Tien N. Nguyen, associate professor, computer science

Previously: associate professor, computer engineering, Iowa State University

Research interests: software engineering

Quote: “At an energetic and fast-growing place as the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas, I am pleased to contribute to its cutting-edge research in developing scientific foundations and advanced technologies in software engineering. I am also excited to be part of such a high-impact and collaborative research environment with excellent colleagues and industrial partners in the area.”

Justin Ruths

Dr. Justin Ruths

Dr. Justin Ruths, assistant professor, mechanical engineering and systems engineering 

Previously: assistant professor, engineering systems design, Singapore University of Technology and Design

Research interests: control and optimization or large-scale systems and networks

Quote: “I’m looking forward to adding my research and teaching to the impressive portfolio of work happening at UT Dallas. My long-range research aims are to understand how to influence large networks, detect and deter attacks in industrial control systems and cyber-physical systems, design electric stimuli to stop epileptic seizures before they start, and develop radio-frequency waveforms that yield higher fidelity nuclear spectra or resonance imaging for biochemical (e.g., cancer) research and diagnosis.”

Ill Ryu

Dr. Ill Ryu

Dr. Ill Ryu, assistant professor, mechanical engineering 

Previously: postdoctoral scholar, Brown University

Research interests: computational material modeling, fracture mechanics, dislocation dynamics, mechanical behaviors of crystalline materials

Quote: “The computational modeling technique that I am developing could provide detailed information about the evolution of microstructures in a reasonable spatial and temporal scale. The multi-scale approach combining with atomistic modeling will certainly play an important role in the progress of advanced energy systems and virtually all industrial technologies, not only due to their improved properties in strength, toughness and thermal stability, but also due to their potential to save energy by reducing the weight of structural systems. With my research motivation, I believe mechanical engineering at UT Dallas fits well with my expertise. The fast-growing environment in our department could give me many chances to contribute and develop new research with outstanding faculty and students.”

Chin-Tuan Tan

Dr. Chin-Tuan Tan

Dr. Chin-Tuan Tan, associate professor, electrical engineering, Jonsson School; associate professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, UT Dallas 

Previously: assistant professor, New York University School of Medicine

Research interests: auditory perception, psychophysics, electrophysiology, auditory processing, speech and music processing, neuroplasticity, behavioral and physiological modeling, and multimodal auditory stimulation (acoustic, electric and bone-vibration) in assistive hearing devices (hearing aids, cochlear implants, bone-anchored hearing aids)

Quote: “My current goal is to understand the underlying mechanism of both normal hearing and hearing impaired listeners in perceiving distorted/degraded speech and music, and to apply a closed-loop design concept in current assistive hearing devices by providing central auditory function as feedback to mitigate the adaptation process of the listeners to their devices and achieve better speech and music reception.” 

William Vandenberghe

Dr. William Vandenberghe

Dr. William Vandenberghe, assistant professor, materials science engineering 

Previously: research scientist, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, UT Dallas

Research interests: theoretical study of electronic transport at the nanoscale

Quote: “The Materials Science and Engineering Department at UT Dallas has some of the best researchers in the world working within a great collaborative atmosphere.” 

Victor Varner

Dr. Victor Varner

Dr. Victor Varner, assistant professor, bioengineering

Previously: postdoctoral fellow, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University

Research interests: biomechanics, mechanobiology, heart development, lung development, computational modeling, tissue engineering

Quote: “I’m very excited to join the dynamic research community at UT Dallas. My lab is working to understand how complex tissues, especially the lungs and heart, are constructed inside developing embryos. This work has implications for regenerative medicine and will help guide bioengineers in their efforts to create replacement tissues for patients in the laboratory.” 


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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