Campus & Community

Stevens School of Engineering and Science Welcomes Record Number of New Faculty in Fall 2018

Twenty-two researchers join SES, bringing expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning, alternative energy and other pillar areas

The Edwin A. Stevens Building, central office for the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science
The Edwin A. Stevens Building, central office for the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science

Stevens Institute of Technology opened its doors to 30 new faculty members for the 2018-19 academic year. It is the largest number of faculty to be added in a single year in the university’s history, adding to its already impressive pedigree and bolstering its image as a research powerhouse.

Twenty-two of those faculty members will be in the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science (SES). Eighteen of them begin this semester. "We extend a warm welcome to our new faculty members," says Jean Zu, dean of the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science. "They bring many impressive accomplishments and expertise with them to Stevens, and we are excited about the momentum they will contribute as we continue building a world-class, prominent school of engineering and science."

With expertise in foundational research pillar areas including artificial intelligence, machine learning, biomedical engineering and resilience and sustainability, these new faculty members will not only strengthen the university’s research and teaching expertise but also support the largest undergraduate class in the university’s history. 

All of the new SES faculty members are:

William Aeberhard, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences

Prior to joining Stevens, William Aeberhard was an adjunct scholar in statistics at Dalhousie University. His methodological research areas include robust statistics, semi‐ and non‐parametric methods and the development of models with complex dependence structures. He highly values cross‐disciplinary collaborative research with particular interest in complex ecological questions in marine biology, epidemiology and volcanology. He earned his Ph.D. in statistics jointly from the University of Geneva, Switzerland and the University of Sydney, Australia.

Sergul Aydore, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Prior to joining Stevens, Sergul Aydore was a machine learning scientist at Amazon’s demand forecasting where she built neural network models to predict demands of millions of products to enable better in-stock positions. She is also an associate member of the parietal team at Inria, Saclay, France where she works on novel regularization methods for machine learning. Prior to Amazon, Sergul was a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University where she implemented machine learning models for EEG data. She then spent a year as a data scientist at JP Morgan. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical and electronics engineering from Bogazici University, Istanbul. She received her Ph.D. from the Signal and Image Processing Institute at University of Southern California.

Yi Bao, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering

Prior to joining Stevens, Yi Bao was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was the manager of the Advanced Civil Engineering–Materials Research Laboratory. His research area includes fiber optic sensors, smart materials, bendable concrete and 3D concrete printing. He received the Outstanding Reviewer Award from American Society of Civil Engineers. He was a guest researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Bao received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, China. He received Ph.D. degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he was appointed the inaugural Franklin Y. Cheng Scholar and graduated with honors for academic excellence.

Antonio Barbalace, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Prior to joining Stevens, Antonio Barbalace was a research assistant professor at Virginia Tech where he was supported by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force. For the last two years, he led the operating system and virtualization team of Huawei Research, Germany, as a principal research scientist where he was recognized for the design and development of key products as well as the creation of intellectual property. Barbalace’s research targets emerging computer architectures, which are increasingly complex (highly‐parallel, heterogeneous, tightly‐coupled, etc.) and seeks answers about how to (re)architect entire software to ease programmability, maximize portability, enable improved performance, energy efficiency, fault tolerance and security. He received his Ph.D. in industrial engineering on cyber‐physical systems from the University of Padova, Italy.

Darinka Dentcheva, Professor and Chair, Department of Mathematical Sciences

Dentcheva has been with Stevens since 2000. She is an internationally recognized leading researcher on optimization of stochastic systems. She is a frequent reviewer and panelist for the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. She has published nearly 90 papers, chapters and conference reports, and currently she serves as editor and conference chair for journals and conferences including the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Mathematical Reviews, the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Programming Society. She received her Ph.D. in mathematics from Humboldt University.

Muhammad Hajj, Professor and Chair, Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering and Director, Davidson Laboratory

Prior to joining Stevens, Muhammad Hajj was the J. Byron Maupin Professor of Engineering at Virginia Tech. He was also the associate dean at the Graduate School and director of the Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics. Hajj is a renowned scholar in the fields of fluid mechanics, structural dynamics and fluid-structure interactions. His research and education initiatives have been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the U.S. State Department, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and industry.

Jae Chul Kim, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Jae Chul Kim is a materials scientist with expertise in inorganic materials and electrochemistry for energy storage. His research has focused on innovating materials to address challenging issues in green technology, emphasizing novel materials design, electrochemical analysis and structural characterization for Li‐ion, Na‐ion, K‐ion batteries and their all‐solid‐state systems. Before joining Stevens, he was a materials postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Kim earned his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from MIT.

Jinho Kim, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Prior to joining Stevens, Jinho Kim was a postdoctoral scientist in the biomedical engineering department at Columbia University. He is interested in developing innovative biomedical methodologies to provide practical solutions to unmet clinical needs with an initial focus on respiratory disease management. His research laboratory will pursue creating techniques allowing rapid and accurate disease diagnosis using molecular probes such as aptamers, targeted drug delivery via visually assisted devices, and tissue and organ regeneration through stem cell replacement therapy. To achieve these goals, his lab will utilize an integrated multi-disciplinary approach combining mathematical modeling, microfluidics, optics and tissue engineering. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering with highest honors, and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Temple University. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Columbia University.

Kevin Lu, Teaching Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Kevin Lu joins Stevens as a full-time faculty member after three and a half years as an adjunct professor and 34 years in the telecommunications industry. He worked at Bellcore, Telcordia and Broadcom contributing to wireless and optical communications systems design and engineering. He teaches the Internet of Things, special problems in computer and electrical engineering, digital system design, and engineering design VI, VII and VIII. He is a member of the IEEE Standards Association standards board, chair of the industry connections committee, member of the new standards review and standards education committees, is the standards coordinating committee coordinator, and member of the SCC42 on transportation. He received his Sc.D. in systems science and mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis.

Reza Marsooli, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering

Prior to joining Stevens, Reza Marsooli was an associate research scholar at Princeton University. His research focuses on coastal and riverine hydro‐morphodynamics in the context of flood hazards, flood mitigation, climate adaptation and coastal resilience. He has been cultivating a prominent role in his scientific community and currently serves as the branch director of the American Society of Civil Engineers at the Central Jersey branch. Marsooli received his Ph.D. in engineering science from the National Center for Computational Hydro‐Science and Engineering at the University of Mississippi.

Weina Meng, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering

Prior to joining Stevens, Dr. Meng was a postdoctoral researcher at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Her research interests include understanding, development, multi-scale characterization and modeling, and structural application of advanced construction composites to improve the resiliency, sustainability and climate adaptability of civil infrastructure. She serves as a committee member in ACI 239 for Ultra-high Performance Concrete. She received her Ph.D from Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Yue Ning, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Prior to Stevens, Dr. Ning was earning her doctoral degree at Virginia Tech. Her research interests are applied machine learning, data analytics and social media analysis with an emphasis on solving real‐world problems in social informatics, health informatics and information security. Her doctoral dissertation was focused on modeling and understanding event propagation in large‐scale news and social media datasets. She received her Ph.D. in computer science from Virginia Tech and her M.S. from the Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Ansu Perekatt, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Prior to Stevens, Ansu Perekatt was a postdoctoral researcher at Rutgers University studying transcriptional regulation and stem cell dynamics in the intestinal epithelium. Her research at Stevens primarily focuses on elucidating the mechanism of dedifferentiation and oncogenic stemness during cancer progression. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Jie Shen, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Prior to Stevens, Jie Shen was earning his doctoral degree at Rutgers University. His research interests lie in both the theoretical aspects and applications of machine learning. He is particularly interested in high-dimensional statistics, large-scale optimization and their interplay. The problems that he has been working on include low-rank matrix recovery, variable selection, online and stochastic optimization, and active learning. During 2013 and 2014, he was a visiting scholar at the Learning and Vision Research Group at the National University of Singapore. He received his B.S. in mathematics and his M.S. in computer science, both from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Rutgers University.

Min Song, Professor and Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Before joining Stevens, Min Song was the David House Professor, chair of the computer science department and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech. He was also the founding director of the Michigan Tech Institute of Computing and Cybersystems. His current research interests are in the areas of cognitive radio networks, Internet of Things and cyber physical systems, mobile computing, network security, artificial intelligence and wireless communication networks. Min was the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2007. He is an IEEE Fellow.

Hongjun Wang, Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Honjung Wang has been with Stevens since 2005. Wang is a leading researcher in tissue engineering, biomaterials design, signal transduction, stem cells and nanomedicine. He has published in many leading journals including Advanced Healthcare Materials, Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, ACS Nano, and Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, and holds multiple invention patents for tissue engineering and cell cultures. He is an active member of many societies including the American Society of Engineering Education, the Tissue Engineering & Regenerative Medicine International Society and the Society for Biomaterials. He received his Ph.D. in polymer chemistry and physics from Nankai University.

Shushen Wang, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Prior to Stevens, Shushen Wang was a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Statistics and RISELab at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include machine learning, randomized linear algebra, convex optimization, big data and distributed computing. Before RISELab, he was a research intern at Baidu Big Data Lab and Google Research in Beijing, China. He received his B.E. and Ph.D. in computer science from Zhejiang University.

Jun Xu, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Prior to joining Stevens, Jun Xu was earning his doctoral degree at Pennsylvania State University. His research specializes in security of computing systems and he endeavors to mitigate the threats of software vulnerabilities and malware. He previously worked at Samsung Research America and FireEye Research Lab as a research assistant. He is a recipient of the Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award 2018 and Guo-moruo Scholarship at University of Science and Technology of China 2013. He received his Ph.D. from the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University.

Fan Yang, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Before joining Stevens Institute of Technology, Fan Yang was a postdoctoral fellow at the Molecular Foundry of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His expertise is micro-/nano-scale heat transfer. His work involves understanding the fundamentals of thermal transport at the micro-/nano-scale and searching for new materials with unusual tunable thermal transport properties used for thermal management and energy conversion. Previously, he also worked on the phonon mean free path spectroscopy. In the future, he is interested in thermal energy conversion in novel materials and devices with experimental and theoretical approaches. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

Xian (Annie) Zhang, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Prior to joining Stevens, Dr. Xian (Annie) Zhang was an assistant professor at State University of New York at Buffalo. Her research interests are nanomaterials, nano-manufacturing and energy transport/conversion with special focus on two-dimensional materials and thin films. Her work has been presented at international conferences and published in leading scientific journals such as Nature and ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. She received her teaching certification from Columbia Teaching Center. She received her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University as part of a joint program with the University of Michigan. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Columbia University.