Three departments in the George R. Brown School of Engineering will have new departmental chairs, effective July 1.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Philip B. Bedient
, the Herman Brown Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is founding director of the Center for Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED). After Hurricane Ike in 2008, the SSPEED Center initiated research into ways of better preparing and defending Houston and Galveston from storm surge and flooding. His current research is focused on the impact Hurricane Harvey had on Houston in 2017.
Bedient is also the designer of the Rice University and Texas Medical Center Flood Alert System (FAS4). Bedient joined the Rice faculty in 1975, the year he earned his Ph.D. in environmental engineering sciences from the University of Florida. He previously served as CEE department chair from 1992 to 1999.
He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Institute of Hydrology, American Water Resources Association, Association of Environmental Engineering Professors, American Academy of Water Resources Engineers and the American Geophysical Union.
, professor of statistics (STAT), earned his Ph.D. in STAT from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1992, taught at Southern Methodist University, and joined the Rice faculty in 2000. He was magister of Jones College from 2005 to 2011, served as associate chair of STAT since 2016 and is the director of the new data-science minor.
Of special interest to Guerra is under-represented minority recruitment and retention in the STEM fields. His longtime collaboration with investigators from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center focuses on statistical genetics, in which statistical methods are used to analyze genetic data, with an emphasis on genotype-phenotype relationships.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
, professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE), earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Ohio State University in 1999, and joined the Rice faculty that same year. He is founder of WARP (Wireless Open-Access Research Platform) a scalable and programmable wireless platform used to prototype advanced wireless networks.
Sabharwal is chair of the ECE Corporate Affiliates program and past director of the Center for Multimedia Communication. His research focuses on advanced medical devices and wireless communications. He founded the Scalable Health Initiative at Rice, with support from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and IBM Research.
He is co-founder of Cognita Labs, which is developing two complementary digital technologies for the diagnosis and management of chronic lung diseases.
The three new chairs were preceded in their posts by Rob Griffin, Marina Vannucci and Edward Knightly, respectively.