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 2014-2017
Samuel Bazzi has been selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow beginning 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 (i) the effect of foreign aid on economic growth, (ii) econometric best practice in identifying the causes of economic growth, and (iii) 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 has been selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow beginning in fall 2014. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at BU, 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 has been selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow beginning in fall 2014. Emily 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 research 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 (PNNL). Prof. 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 has been selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow beginning in fall 2014. Gustavo, assistant professor of Finance, received his PhD 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 has been selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow beginning in fall 2014. She directs the STEPP LAB for Sensorimotor Rehabilitation Engineering and is an assistant professor in the Departments of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at BU. She received the 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 BU, 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 BU, which he joined after receiving his PhD 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 BU, 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 BU, which he joined in 2012. After receiving his PhD 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 Physics Department at BU 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 PhD in Physics from Rutgers University. Before joining BU, 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 BU, which he joined in 2012. After receiving his PhD 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 BU’s Questrom School of Business, which he joined in 2012. He received his PhD in Physics from SUNY Stony Brook in 2008, followed by a postdoctoral position at New York University’s 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 of marketing at BU’s 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 PhD in Computer Science from BU under the supervision of John Byers and Michael Mitzenmacher (from 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.
Junior Faculty Fellows, Class of 2012-2015
Jason Bohland was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2012. He is an assistant professor in the Departments of Health Sciences and Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences in the College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, having joined the BU faculty in 2009. His research focuses on understanding the circuits in the brain, using a variety of methods to gather large-scale data about signaling among neurons in both mouse and human brains. He also serves as the director of the Quantitative Neuroscience Laboratory. Professor Bohland received his PhD at BU, specializing in cognitive and neural systems.
Luis Carvalho was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2012. He joined BU’s Department of Mathematics & Statistics after receiving his PhD from Brown University in 2008. He began his education in civil engineering, with a focus on transportation engineering. As he learned more about operations research, he became more interested in the theory, leading to his work in statistical applications. His work has found applications in diverse areas, including unsupervised land cover classification from satellite images, assessing interaction among genes in genome-wide association studies, and identifying communities in social networks. Professor Carvalho specializes in Bayesian statistics, computational biology, and statistical inference.
Dino Christenson was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2012. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, received his PhD from Ohio State University in 2010, and came to the BU faculty later that year. He studies American political behavior with a focus on the context in which individuals and organizations seek out, receive, and process political information. His recent work concerns campaign dynamics in the early stages of presidential primary elections and interest group networks. Professor Christenson also serves as the director of the Honors and BA/MA programs for his department and is the co-organizer of the Research in American and Comparative Politics workshop.
Douglas Densmore was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2012. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. He was awarded his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. Originally interested in programming video games, Professor Densmore discovered an interest in microprocessor design, leading to his expertise in computer-aided design (CAD) tools. A postdoctoral fellowship enabled him to start applying this expertise to the design of CAD tools for synthetic biology, opening up an exciting new area in life sciences. In addition to working in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Densmore also serves as affiliated investigator for the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center.
Sharon Goldberg was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2012. She joined BU’s Department of Computer Science in 2010. Her research focuses on the security and privacy of computer networks, by combining formal techniques from cryptography and game theory with empirical network data and large-scale simulations. She has served on working groups of the advisory council to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the security and reliability of telecommunications systems. Professor Goldberg received her PhD from Princeton University in July 2009. Before coming to BU, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research, New England.
Nachiketa Sahoo was selected as an Institute Junior Faculty Fellow in fall 2012. He joined the Information Systems Department in the Questrom School of Business in July 2011. His research includes applying machine learning techniques to problems in social science. For example, how should recommendation systems (such as for books or movies) handle changing preferences among the customers? In another arena, how can publications, blog posts, and comments be used to identify individuals with particular areas of expertise? Before working at BU, Professor Sahoo earned his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College.