Junior Faculty Fellows
The Hariri Institute for Computing Junior Faculty Fellows program aims to recognize outstanding early-career computational researchers at Boston University, and to connect them with one another and with the Institute community at large. For more information about the program and how to nominate someone, please visit the Jr. Faculty Fellow program page.
Junior Faculty Fellows, Class of 2016-2019
was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2016. He is an assistant professor in the Departments of Global Health and Epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health. His research applies the analytical tools of economics and data science to the study of population health. Research interests include the economic spillover effects of HIV treatment scale-up in southern Africa, population health impacts of policy interventions, and chronic disease management in low-resource settings. Current work involves a novel record linkage of South Africa’s national laboratory database, creating a national patient cohort in collaboration with BU and South African colleagues. He is a recipient of BU’s Peter T. Paul Career Development Professorship and a graduate of Harvard School of Public Health.
Jacob Groshek was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2016. He is an assistant professor of emerging media studies at Boston University, where his research focuses on communication technologies and the ways in which the structure, content and uses of online and mobile media may influence sociopolitical change at the macro (national) and micro (individual) levels. Related to these pursuits, his body of work also includes applied econometric analyses, such as time-series and panel models that link democratic change with media diffusion and social media content. He earned his Ph.D. at Indiana University in 2008 and has since published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles, including pieces in Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, Social Scientific Computer Review, and the International Journal of Communication, among others. He has previously held academic appointments at Iowa State University, Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands), the University of Melbourne (Australia), and was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (France).
Lei Guo was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2016. She is an assistant professor of emerging media studies at Boston University’s College of Communication. Her research focuses on the development of media effects theories and methodologies, emerging media and democracy, and international communication. Professor Guo earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014, and recently published a book that she co-edited with Maxwell McCombs, The Power of Information Networks: New Directions for Agenda Setting.
Adam Guren was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2016. He is an assistant professor of economics at Boston University. Professor Guren is a macroeconomist who uses large microeconomic datasets together with computational models to answer macroeconomic questions, with a focus on the housing market and its interactions with the macroeconomy. Recent and ongoing research includes work on foreclosures and foreclosure policy, house price dynamics, mortgage design, the relationship between home prices and consumption, and the impact of consumer and producer behavior on inflation. Professor Guren received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 2014, and has been on faculty at BU since graduating.
Dan Li was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2016. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University. Professor Li works on a wide range of topics in the broad area of boundary layer meteorology and hydrology. His recent research focuses on understanding the impacts of global climate change on cities and the impacts of urbanization on the climate using global and regional climate models. After receiving his Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Princeton University in 2013, he spent two years as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Program of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at Princeton University.
Sahar Sharifzadeh was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2016. She joined Boston University in fall 2014 as an assistant professor of electrical & computer engineering and materials science & engineering. Her research interests involve understanding and predicting the electronic properties of material using first-principles electronic structure theories. Professor Sharifzadeh obtained her B.S. in electrical and computer engineering from University of California, Berkeley in 2003 and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 2009. She then joined the Molecular Foundry, a nanoscience user facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as a postdoctoral fellow, and subsequently as a project scientist. Professor Sharifzadeh is also an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Physics at Boston University.
Junior Faculty Fellows, Class of 2015-2018
Manuel Egele was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2015. He is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Boston University. His research interests span all areas of systems security—in particular mobile and embedded systems security, privacy, and malicious code analysis. Prior to his appointment at Boston University, he was a systems scientist at Carnegie Mellon University. Before that he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Computer Security Group of the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Technology in Vienna.
Kirill Korolev was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2015. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Graduate Program in Bioinformatics at Boston University, which he joined in 2013. After receiving his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Harvard University in 2010, he spent three years at MIT as a Pappalardo Postdoctoral Fellow. Professor Korolev uses mathematical modeling, computation, and statistical analysis of data to understand evolution and population dynamics in a variety of practical contexts. The main focus of his group is on the spatial organization of microbial colonies, evolution in cancer tumors, and invasions of exotic species or pests. He is also interested in sudden transitions in complex system such as an onset of dysbiosis in the gut microbiome. Overall, his work seeks simplicity in the complexity of dynamic and evolving collectives.
Sam Ling was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2015. He is an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University. Professor Ling directs the Visual Neuroscience lab, which aims to understand how the human visual system optimizes itself for the task at hand. Towards that end, his research combines a variety of techniques, including psychophysics, computational modeling, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) all aimed at understanding how early visual processing is formed, and how it can change as a result of top-down or bottom-up modulation. Prior to joining Boston University, Sam received his Ph.D. in psychology from New York University and completed his postdoctoral training at Vanderbilt University.
Neha Gondal was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2015. She is an assistant professor of sociology. Prior to joining Boston University, Professor Gondal served as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and School of Communication at The Ohio State University for two years. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from Rutgers University in 2013 and her M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics in 2005. She uses quantitative and mathematical techniques to study culture and stratification through the lens of social networks. She is particularly interested in investigating how micro-level cultural and structural processes concatenate to generate macro-level network structures.
Lorenzo Orecchia was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2015. He is an assistant professor of computer science at Boston University, which he joined in 2015 from MIT, where he was a postdoctoral associate and an applied mathematics instructor. Lorenzo obtained his Ph.D. in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on the theoretical study of algorithms, with the goal to design methods that are both mathematically sound and applicable in practice. Professor Orecchia’s research has produced algorithmic advances for foundational computational problems, both of combinatorial nature, such as graph clustering, and of continuous nature, such as the solution of systems of linear equations and of large resource-allocation linear programs. Professor Orecchia advocates a broad approach to the design of algorithm that incorporates techniques from discrete and continuous optimization and is able to model computational challenges arising in a variety of applications, including machine learning, numerical analysis and combinatorial optimization.
Junior Faculty Fellows, Class of 2014-2017
Samuel Bazzi was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2014. Samuel is an assistant professor of economics and a development economist with a Ph.D. in economics from University of California, San Diego in 2013. He currently works with large-scale administrative datasets to study topics at the intersection of labor and macroeconomics. He has published papers investigating the effect of foreign aid on economic growth, econometric best practice in identifying the causes of economic growth, and the effect of global commodity price shocks on civil war in low-income countries. Bazzi’s present research agenda is focused on three areas. First, he examines the causes and consequences of labor mobility in the process of economic development. One study looks at the long-run effects of large-scale population resettlement on regional inequality. Second, he investigates the role of access to finance in driving the entry and growth small, productive firms. Third, he explores the role of political decentralization as an alternative to violent conflict in ethnically diverse, resource-rich societies. Most of his research is based in the large emerging markets of Brazil and Indonesia.
Ksenia Bravaya was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2014. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at Boston University, which she joined in 2013. Professor Bravaya received her Ph.D. in theoretical and computational quantum chemistry from the Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2008. Professor Bravaya’s research aims to develop new theoretical methods targeting processes involving multiple electronic states, chemistry of open-shell species in magnetic fields, and metastable systems.
Emily Ryan was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2014. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Division of Materials Science and Engineering at Boston University. She received her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2009, where her dissertation focused on numerical modeling of chromium poisoning in the cathode of a solid oxide fuel cell. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon she worked as a post-doctoral research associate and a staff computational scientist in the Computational Mathematics and Engineering group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Professor Ryan’s work at PNNL examined computational modeling of energy systems at the meso-scale. Since joining Boston University in 2012, she founded the Computational Energy Laboratory, which focuses on the development of computational models of advanced energy systems, including fuel cells, carbon capture technologies, and advanced battery technologies. Funding for her research comes from the Department of Energy, Samsung Electric Corporation, and Boston University.
Gustavo Schwenkler was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2014. Gustavo, an assistant professor of finance, received his Ph.D. in management science and engineering in 2013 from Stanford University and his diploma in applied mathematics and economics from the University of Cologne. His research focuses on the development of statistical and computational tools for the measurement of financial risks. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, he served as a summer associate in the unit of investment banking strategies at Goldman Sachs; an intern in risk and portfolio management at Sal. Oppenheim, Jr. & Cie; and an intern in sales and trading at Deutsche Bank. Gustavo’s academic honors include the Gerald J. Lieberman Fellowship and the Stanford Graduate Fellowship, both from Stanford University.
Cara Stepp was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2014. She directs the STEPP LAB for Sensorimotor Rehabilitation Engineering and is an assistant professor in the Department of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences and Department of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. She received an S.B. in engineering science from Smith College, S.M. in electrical engineering and computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology. Prior to joining Boston University, she completed postdoctoral training in computer science & engineering and rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington. Her research uses engineering tools to rehabilitate sensorimotor function.
Junior Faculty Fellows, Class of 2013-2016
Taylor Boas was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow beginning in fall 2013. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Boston University, which he joined after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009. His research examines various aspects of electoral politics in Latin America, including campaigns, political communication, voting behavior, and religion and politics, and involves a variety of methods, such as online survey experiments and the statistical analysis of electoral data. Professor Boas has played a lead role in developing interdepartmental programs for training social science graduate students in quantitative methods. Prior to starting at Boston University, he was a visiting fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame.
Francesco Decarolis was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2013. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Boston University, which he joined in 2012. After receiving his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, he spent three years as assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison. His research focuses on the use of empirical methods to analyze firms behavior in auctions and procurement systems.
Pankaj Mehta was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2013. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at Boston University and is a theoretical physicist interested in problems at the interface of physics and biology. He holds a BS in mathematics from Caltech and a Ph.D. in physics from Rutgers University. Before joining Boston University, he was a postdoctoral fellow with Ned Wingreen in the Biophysics Theory Group at Princeton University. His research aims to provide an understanding of how complex behaviors observed within single cells and cellular populations arise from the interaction of many individual molecular elements and how these interactions allow cells to perform sophisticated computations in response to environmental cues.
Konstantinos Spiliopoulos was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2013. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at Boston University, which he joined in 2012. After receiving his Ph.D. at the University of Maryland at College Park, he was a Prager Assistant Professor at Brown University. His current research work focuses in two main areas: Monte Carlo methods, rare event simulation and mathematical analysis of multi-scale systems and equilibrium problems; and development of mathematical and computational tools for the quantification of systemic risk in large financial networks.
Dylan Walker was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2013. He is an assistant professor of information systems at the Boston University Questrom School of Business, which he joined in 2012. He received his Ph.D. in physics from SUNY Stony Brook in 2008, followed by a postdoctoral position at the New York University Stern School of Business. His research applies empirical techniques to large-scale social networks and networked systems in order to understand the role of online interactions in the diffusion of information, behaviors, and dynamic processes. His work fuses in-the-wild networked randomized trials with large-scale data analysis to inform new policies and incentive structures that seek to promote or discourage behavioral and economic outcomes at the individual, community, and population level.
Georgios Zervas was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2013. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Marketing at the Boston University Questrom School of Business. Previously, he was a Simons Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University and an affiliate at the Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS) at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Boston University under the supervision of John Byers and Michael Mitzenmacher (Harvard). He is broadly interested in problems lying in the intersection of marketing, computer science, and economics, and a much of his work has focused on large-scale empirical studies of internet markets, including online advertising, crowd-sourced reviews, and daily deals.
Please visit Past Fellows page for prior Junior Faculty Fellows