Nine New Faculty Join Pratt

The Pratt School of Engineering has hired nine new professors, bringing the total number of tenure track faculty for this academic year to 91. The new professors bring expertise in a wide range of fields, including neural prosthesis and neuroengineering, cancer imaging, materials, nanoscience, photonics, sensing, microbial engineering, environmental science and power and propulsion system development.

The Department of Biomedical Engineering has three new tenure track faculty starting the semester.


Jean-Marc Fellous


Jean-Marc Fellous, previously a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute, became an assistant professor in the BME department and a core member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience in September 2004. Fellous earned his Ph.D. in computer science and artificial intelligence at University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He research involves a combination of in vitro, in vivo and computational techniques to investigate the mechanisms of short-term memory in the rat hippocampus and active working memory in the prefrontal cortices.


Warren Grill, Ph.D.


Warren Grill joined BME from Case Western Reserve University as associate professor in July 2004. Grill earned his Ph.D. at Case Western Reserve University, and brought an active research program on electrical activation of the nervous system that spans computer-simulation to clinical experimentation. Grill serves on the editorial boards of the IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering and Neuromodulation and as a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration’s Neurological Devices Panel.


Kathryn Nightingale, Ph.D.


Kathryn Nightingale became an assistant professor in September 2004. Her research is focused on studying the response of tissue to ultrasonic excitation and she has been developing ultrasound imaging technologies to aid in treatment of breast cancer. Nightingale earned her Ph.D. from Duke in 1997.

“I’m extremely pleased with these three outstanding faculty,” said George Truskey, chair of the BME department. “Drs. Grill and Fellous will strengthen our effort in neuroengineering. They both have exciting computational and experimental research programs. Dr. Nightingale’s expertise in ultrasound imaging has led to innovative technologies for the detection of breast cancer and calcified atherosclerotic plaque.”

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering welcomes three new faculty members.

“We are very excited about the new faculty additions,” said April S. Brown, ECE chair. “The department is continuing its growth with emphasis on the Pratt School’s strategic initiatives. Each of the new faculty members has expertise in areas that spans more than one of these areas, including materials and nanoscience, photonics, and sensing. We now have 28 faculty members in our department, and we are beginning the exciting process of curriculum revision. These are definitely exciting times in our department.”

The new faculty members are Chris Dwyer, David R. Smith, and Adrienne Stiff-Roberts.


Chris Dwyer, Ph.D.


Chris Dwyer comes on board as an assistant professor. He received his Ph.D. in computer science in 2003 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research is focused on the design and fabrication of self-assembling nanoscale computational systems. Dwyer received his B.S. in computer engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 1998, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2000 and 2003, respectively. He worked in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at UNC as a postdoctoral fellow and at the Department of Computer Science at Duke as a visiting assistant professor from 2003-2004.

David Smith joins ECE as the Augustine Scholar and associate professor of ECE. Smith earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at San Diego, and then worked as a postdoc researcher on plasmon resonant particles as optical labels for biological and biochemical assays. Smith’s research interests include photonic crystals, metamaterials and negative index media, plasmon nanophotonics, and self-monitoring composites. Smith’s research, featured in the June 2004 issue of Physics Today, demonstrated that materials engineered to have negative permittivity and permeability demonstrate exotic behavior such as negative refractive index to subwavelength focusing.


Adrienne Stiff-Roberts, Ph.D.


Adrienne Stiff-Roberts joins ECE as an assistant professor. Her research interests encompass the epitaxial growth and characterization of bulk and quantum-confined semiconductor materials, as well as the design, fabrication, and characterization of optoelectronic and photonic devices, particularly in the infrared regime. She received both the B.S. degree in physics from Spelman College and the B.E.E. degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1999. She received an M.S.E. in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in applied physics in 2001 and 2004, respectively, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she investigated high-temperature quantum dot infrared photodetectors.

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department hired two new tenure track professors this year.


Claudia Gunsch, Ph.D.


Claudia Gunsch joins CEE as assistant professor in microbial engineering systems. Gunsch earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, and conducts research on pollutant degradation as applied to groundwater and air pollution treatment.

At Duke, Gunsch plans to continue research linking biotechnology to environmental engineering applications, including biosensors capable of pathogen and contaminant detection in water and air, DNA chips to study the microbial ecology of groundwater and air treatment systems, application of novel genes from environmentally relevant microorganisms, and methods to control the release of genetically engineered microorganisms in natural and controlled environments. Gunsch will teach basic and advanced classes in environmental engineering at Duke.


Heileen Hsu, Ph.D.


Heileen Hsu earned her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and will join Duke’s CEE department in January as assistant professor after completing a one-year post-doctoral position at the University of Delaware's Graduate College of Marine Studies. Hsu’s research interests focus on the chemical processes that determine the transport, transformation and toxicity of pollutant metals in aquatic systems, an area of research with important implications for improving the removal of mercury during wastewater treatment and for the biogeochemistry of mercury in aquatic systems.

At Duke, Hsu plans to study the effect of speciation on the transport and transformations of metals in engineered and natural systems, and to develop sensor technology for monitoring and remediation of contaminated sediments. Hsu will teach introductory environmental engineering classes and advanced classes in areas related to environmental aquatic chemistry.


Jonathan Protz, Ph.D.


And the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science welcomes new tenure track professor Jonathan Protz to the faculty.

Protz joined the department as an assistant professor. Prior to beginning his faculty position at Duke, Protz was an AAAS Defense Policy Fellow with the U.S. Department of Defense, and a management consultant with a leading global strategy consulting firm. Protz earned his Ph.D. degree from MIT in 2000, where he developed micro electromechanical systems technologies for power and propulsion applications.