Luay Nakhleh, professor and former chair of the Department of Computer Science at Rice University, is the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of the George R. Brown School of Engineering.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, a master’s from Texas A&M University, and in 2004 earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, all in computer science. He joined the Rice faculty in 2004 and was named chair of the computer science department in 2017.
His research at the intersection of computing and biology focuses on developing new methodologies and software to study the history of both specific genes and entire genomes, and the genetic links between species. During Nakhleh’s tenure as chair of computer science — the largest department at Rice, with 312 undergraduate majors and 258 graduate students — the faculty grew to 35 members with primary appointments in the department, plus a number of joint faculty and adjunct faculty.
Nakhleh received the Teaching and Research Excellence Award in 2015 and the Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Adviser Award in 2018, both from the school of engineering at Rice. In 2019, he was awarded the George R. Brown Prize for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s most prestigious teaching award, and in 2020 the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching. Nakhleh launched Rice’s first online degree in the School of Engineering, the Online Master of Computer Science program, and helped grow the Professional Master of Computer Science, the largest nonbusiness professional program at Rice.
He received the DOE CAREER award in 2006, the NSF CAREER award in 2009, the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching award in 2009, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in the molecular biology category in 2010, a John P. Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2012 (in the organismic biology and ecology category).