Eight new faculty members in five departments have joined the George R. Brown School of Engineering, and another will join a sixth department on July 1, 2017.
Palash Bharadwaj is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE). Before coming to Rice, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the Photonics Laboratory at ETH Zurich (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), and earned his Ph.D. in physics and astronomy from the University of Rochester in 2012. While there he investigated the interaction of single quantum emitters (such as dye molecules or quantum dots) with optical antennas made from colloidal metal nanoparticles.
His research focuses on the optical and electrical properties of nanomaterials and next-generation optoelectronic devices. He develops optoelectronic characterizations of functional nano-materials, and creates low-dimensional metal-semiconductor hybrid mesoscale materials and devices for applications ranging from solid-state lighting to quantum computing, and from photovoltaics to photocatalysis.
Matthew Brake, the principal research and development engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, comes to Rice as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering (MECH). Brake earned three degrees in MECH from Carnegie Mellon: a B.S. in 2002, an M.S. in 2004 and a Ph.D. in 2007.
He joined Sandia in 2008 after working there as a post-doctoral fellow. In 2012, he was a visiting academic at the University of Oxford, where he helped establish a multi-institution collaboration to pioneer research in mechanical joints and interfacial mechanics. Since 2012, Brake has served as an adjunct research assistant professor at the University of New Mexico. His research interests include interfacial mechanics, model reduction theory and nonlinear dynamics.
Jesse Chan joined the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics (CAAM) as an assistant professor. Chan earned a B.A. in CAAM from Rice in 2008, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in computational science, engineering and mathematics from the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at the University of Texas in Austin, in 2013.
For two years Chan served as a Pfeiffer Postdoctoral Instructor in CAAM at Rice, and since 2015 has worked as a postdoctoral researcher in mathematics at Virginia Tech, where his mentor is Tim Warburton, formerly a member of the CAAM faculty at Rice. Chan’s research interests include high-order discontinuous Galerkin methods for problems in wave propagation, discontinuous Petrov-Galerkin methods as applied to problems in fluid dynamics, and high-performance implementations of numerical methods for partial differential equations.
Zachary C. Cordero, whose research focuses on metals processing, powder metallurgy, and alloy and microstructure design, joined materials science and nanoengineering as an assistant professor. He earned a B.S. in physics in 2010, and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering in 2015, both from MIT. Starting in 2011, he worked as a research assistant with the Schuh Group at MIT, where his doctoral work focused on using the driven-alloy theory to predict the microstructure of transition metal alloys subjected to plastic deformation.
Cordero served as a post-doctoral researcher in the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. At Rice, he will head the Additive Lab, which will develop techniques to print metal parts with complex shapes and dialed-in microstructures.
C. Fred Higgs III became the John and Ann Doerr Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership. He joined the Carnegie Mellon University faculty in 2003 and was promoted to full professor in 2012. There he headed the Particle Flow and Tribology Lab and was a thrust leader in the NextManufacturing Center which focuses on the future of additive manufacturing.
Higgs earned a B.S. in MECH from Tennessee State University in 1995, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in MECH from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1997 and 2001, respectively. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology for two years before joining the Carnegie Mellon faculty.
Pedram Hassanzadeh joined MECH as an assistant professor. He received his M.A. in mathematics and Ph.D. in MECH from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. In 2007 he earned a master’s in MECH from the University of Waterloo, Canada, and in 2005, a B.S. in MECH from the University of Tehran.
Since 2013 Hassanzadeh has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, where he received a two-year Ziff Environmental Fellowship from its Center for the Environment. His research interests include fluid dynamics of extreme-causing weather patterns, closure models for geophysical turbulence, eddy-mean flow interaction, stochastic models for climate systems, and jets and vortices in rotating stratified turbulence.
Fred C. MacKintosh is professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. He comes from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where he has served as professor of theoretical physics since 2001. MacKintosh received bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Washington in 1984, and a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton in 1989.
After two years as a postdoctoral researcher with Exxon Research and Engineering, MacKintosh joined the physics faculty at the University of Michigan. His research interests include cell mechanics; intracellular remodeling; extracellular matrices, including collagen; non‐equilibrium and active processes in biology; and soft biological and biologically inspired materials.
Gururaj V. Naik joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) as an assistant professor. He became a postdoctoral scholar in materials science and engineering at Stanford University after earning his Ph.D. in ECE from Purdue University in 2013. He received a B.E. in electronics and communications engineering from B.M.S College of Engineering in Bangalore, India, in 2006, and an M.E. in microelectronics from the Indian Institute of Science, also in Bangalore, in 2008.
Naik’s research focuses on nanophotonics, a discipline straddling nanotechnology and optics, with an emphasis on photon upconversion by loss-harvesting in extremely small metal particles. The research has applications in energy, medicine and bioimaging. In 2013 he received a Graduate Student Fellowship from the IEEE Photonics Society
Omid Veiseh will join bioengineering as an assistant professor on July 1, 2017. He earned his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, and nanotechnology, from the University of Washington in 2009. For two more years he worked there as a research associate in the departments of neurological surgery, and of materials science and engineering. Since 2011 he has worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of chemical engineering and the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 2013, Veiseh received a three-year, $300,000 Postdoctoral Fellowship Award for breast cancer research from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. This year he received a $380,000 Advanced Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Rice won a $2 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to recruit Veiseh to bioengineering. The grant is one of 35 totaling nearly $80 million announced in May by the publicly funded CPRIT.