College of Engineering Welcomes New Faculty


By Mark Dwortzan

The College of Engineering welcomed ten new faculty members for the 2011-2012 academic year. Experts in diverse fields, they reflect the College’s interdisciplinary nature and are expected to bring innovative ideas to its classrooms and research labs.

Previously chief technology officer for LGS, a subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent Technologies, David J. Bishop (ECE, MSE, Physics) is the new head of the Division of Materials Science & Engineering.

In a career at Alcatel-Lucent (originally AT&T Bell Laboratories) spanning three decades, Bishop has advanced telecommunications, networking and cyber security solutions for the U.S. government market. He served the company in several high profile roles, including vice president of Optical, Nanotechnology and Physical Sciences Research and president of Government Research & Security Solutions.

An American Physical Society (APS) and Bell Labs Fellow who holds 46 patents and has authored or co-authored about 250 publications, Bishop received his PhD in physics from Cornell University in 1978. His research focuses on silicon micromechanics, MEMS in lightwave networks, all-optical switching, low temperature physics, superconductivity and nanotechnology. He received the APS 2009 George E. Pake Prize for “his effective leadership of AT&T/Lucent/Bell Labs research during an especially turbulent time in the telecommunications industry, and for his seminal contributions to low-temperature physics research.”

Professor Allen Tannenbaum (ECE), formerly Julian Hightower professor at Georgia Institute of Technology’s (GIT) Departments of Electrical/Computer and Biomedical Engineering and an IEEE fellow, received his PhD in mathematics from Harvard University in 1976. Author or co-author of five research texts on systems and control and more than 400 publications, and associate editor of SIAM Journal of Control and Optimization, SIAM Imaging Science and International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control, he has pioneered new mathematical techniques for selected engineering problems in systems and control, vision, signal processing and cryptography. His research interests include computer vision, image processing, computer graphics, control theory, cryptography and biomedical imaging.

Allen’s wife, Research Professor and Senior Lecturer Rina Tannenbaum (ME, BME), previously a professor at GIT’s School of Materials Science & Engineering, received her PhD in chemical engineering and catalysis from the Swiss Federal Institute in 1982. A member of the American Chemical Society, Materials Research Society and American Physical Society, Tannenbaum has authored a book, several book chapters and more than 120 journal publications. Her research aims to derive a methodical, comprehensive understanding of the bonding-structure-function relationship in multi-component, metal-polymer nanostructures, leading to advanced optical, biomedical and electronic devices. She is also working to develop bio-based and bio-compatible functional materials derived from renewable resources.

Previously a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics at MIT, Assistant Professor James C. Bird (ME) completed his PhD degree at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science in 2010. His research centers on fluid mechanics and complex fluids, particularly on the dynamics of drops and bubbles—key phenomena for problems in public health, climate change, oil exploration and other fields.

Assistant Professor Chuanhua Duan (ME), formerly a postdoctoral fellow in the Materials Science Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, earned his PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in 2009. His research focuses on nanofluidics and its practical applications in biosensing and energy conversion and storage.

Assistant Professor Ahmad “Mo” Khalil (BME) joined the College from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Boston University, where he served as a postdoctoral fellow under Professor James Collins (BME). He earned his PhD in mechanical engineering at MIT in 2008. His research vision is to understand and rewire biological systems that give rise to complex cellular phenotypes, such as differentiation and mechanotransduction, by integrating reverse engineering, synthetic biology and “digital microfluidic” approaches. Khalil seeks to uncover design principles underlying biological systems and, in turn, engineer new biological properties that may address global challenges in medicine, energy, and the environment.

Assistant Professor Darren Roblyer (BME), previously a Department of Defense postdoctoral fellow in the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic at the University of California, Irvine, earned his PhD in bioengineering at Rice University in 2009. Leveraging training in biomedical optics and cancer biology, his research focuses on developing optical instrumentation targeted towards diagnosis and therapy monitoring of cancer and metabolic pathologies.

Assistant Professor Emily M. Ryan (ME) hails from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where she served as a computational scientist and postdoctoral research associate. She earned her PhD in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in 2009. Her research centers on developing and applying computational tools to improve energy systems, with an emphasis on cleaner, more efficient energy conversion and storage technologies.

Formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, Assistant Professor Mac Schwager (ME, SE) earned his PhD in mechanical engineering at MIT in 2009. He designs control algorithms for multi-robot systems to accomplish global tasks in a decentralized manner, and envisions his research leading to a sophisticated theory of multi-robot systems in which decentralized control algorithms enable large groups of robots to seamlessly monitor and interact with the natural world.

Assistant Professor Wilson W. Wong (BME), previously a postdoctoral scholar in cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco, received his PhD in chemical engineering from UCLA in 2007. At BU Wong aims to apply his training in metabolic engineering and immune cell engineering to rapidly and predictably engineer desired properties in human immune cells to treat diseases.

Assistant Professor Cara E. Stepp joins BU’s Sargent College with an affiliated appointment in the BME Department.