Pratt’s New Faculty 2014-2015

Meet faculty joining the Pratt School of Engineering during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Michael Bergin: Studying Tiny Particles with a Giant Global Impact

Michael Bergin studies the environmental and human health effects of natural and manmade microscopic particles floating all around the Earth’s atmosphere. Ranging in size from a few nanometers to tens of microns, particulate matter can be released into the air through everything from the burning of fossil fuels to the kicking up of mass quantities of dust.

Sina Farsiu: Processing an Avalanche of Images

Sina Farsiu wants to figure out how to peer into your soul . . . or at least your brain. An expert in designing computer image processing algorithms, Farsiu is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Duke Medicine who recently accepted a primary appointment in the Pratt biomedical engineering department with the hopes of strengthening collaborations across the university.

Aaron Franklin: Replacing Silicon Electronics with Nanomaterials

Aaron Franklin has joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke, with a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry. Leaving IBM’s research enterprise for a professorship, Franklin will continue his research into semiconducting nanomaterials and printable electronics.

Ken Gall: Making Materials for Biomedical Applications

Ken Gall will join the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science as both a professor and its chair. As an entrepreneur and former startup leader, he plans to help grow the department while offering faculty opportunities to bring technologies to market.

Yiyang Gong: Lighting Up Brain Activity

Yiyang Gong will join the faculty of the biomedical engineering department in Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering beginning November 1, 2014. An expert in nanophotonics, Gong is developing genetic sensors that literally light up the brain.

Joel Greenberg: Spotting Explosives and Tumors

Joel Greenberg has been named an assistant research professor in Duke’s Department of Electrical and computer Engineering. As a former research scientist in the department and member of the Duke Imaging and Spectroscopy Program (DISP), he will continue leading a project he has been working on since 2012—developing new ways to use x-rays to peer inside suitcases.

Kris Hauser: Building Smarter Robots

Kris Hauser, an expert in computer science, informatics and robotics, joined both the electrical and computer engineering department and the mechanical engineering and materials science department in Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering on August 3, 2014. Part of a steadily expanding robotics group on campus, he focuses on the planning and control of autonomous robots.

George Konidaris: Also Building Smarter Robots

George Konidaris, a specialist in artificial intelligence and computer science, joined the electrical and computer engineering department on September 1, 2014. With a dual appointment in the department of computer science, his research will focus on reinforcement learning, mobile manipulation, intelligent robotics, and effective learning and planning for control in unstructured environments.

Michael Lynch: Bending Microbial Metabolisms

Michael Lynch, an expert in genetic engineering and using microbes to produce useful chemicals, has joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. Previously the founder and chief science officer at OPX Biotechnologies, Inc., Lynch will continue his research into engineering microbial metabolism to be useful in a variety of applications.

David Mitzi: Harvesting More of the Sun’s Shine

David Mitzi, an expert in developing new materials for solar cell and other energy applications, has joined the mechanical engineering and materials science department at Duke University. His research will focus on making emerging photovoltaic materials more effective, cost-efficient and competitive for the market.

Willie Padilla: Exploring Technology’s “Terahertz Gap”

Metamaterials expert Willie Padilla has joined the electrical and computer engineering department of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering. Adding to one of the nation’s largest corps of faculty working with metamaterials, Padilla focuses on developing techniques and devices that work in the terahertz range of the electromagnetic spectrum—the new frontier of the information age.

Miroslav Pajic: Making Smart Systems that Interact with the World

Miroslav Pajic, an expert in cyber-physical systems, will join Duke as an assistant professor in July 2015. With a history of making the electronics embedded in the world around us connect and work together to safely interact with the physical world, Pajic will continue his focus on biomedical and automotive environments.

Henry Pfister: Inferring Answers through Graphical Models

Henry Pfister recently joined both the electrical and computer engineering department in Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering as well as the interdisciplinary Information Initiative at Duke (iiD). An expert in extracting information from both mountains and molehills of data, he will tackle informatics challenges in realms such as personalized health care, compressed sensing and wireless communications.

Xiling Shen: An Engineering Approach to Biomedical Challenges

Xiling Shen will join the biomedical engineering department in Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering in July 2015. An electrical circuit and computer systems expert by training, Shen applies his engineering background to understand the complex regulatory networks behind biological systems and diseases.

Jonathan Viventi: Engineering HD Brain Interfaces

Jonathan Viventi will join the biomedical engineering department in Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering in November 2014. After helping to develop the technology behind 4G cellular networks, he decided to use his knowledge of advanced wireless and electronic devices to try to tap into a much faster network—the human brain.