Meet Our Team


mueller

Rolf Müller
Center Director

jung copy

Sunny Jung
Research Coordinator

abaid
Nicole Abaid
Education Coordinator
mohammed (1)
Afroze Mohammed
Coordinator for
Industrial Partnerships

abaidCollege of Engineering
Dynamic systems, animal behavior, and bio-inspired mechatronics

Dr. Nicole Abaid received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003 and the University of Kansas in 2008, respectively, and her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University in 2012. Since August 2012, she has worked as an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Virginia Tech.

Personal website: www.esm.vt.edu/~nabaid

bayandorCollege of Engineering
Aerospace structures and design, bioinspired flight

Dr. Javid Bayandor is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He obtained his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2000. Dr. Bayandor is the founder and director of the Crashworthiness for Aerospace Structures and Hybrids (CRASH) Lab at Virginia Tech. His areas of expertise include aero- and astronautics, unsteady propulsion and energy, planetary exploration missions, space physics, bioinspired flight, and advanced aerospace structures and design.

behkamAssociate professor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Bacteria-based theranostics, bio-hybrid microrobotics, nanorobotics

Dr. Bahareh Behkam is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. She received her Ph.D. and master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008 and 2003, respectively, and bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in 1999. Her group at the Micro/NanoScale Biotic/Abiotic Systems Engineering Laboratory has research focus on the interface between biological and synthetic systems (or bio-hybrid engineering) at the micro and nanoscale. Her current research projects can be divided in two categories: (1) Developing bio-hybrid engineered systems in which biological components are utilized for actuation, sensing, communication, and control. (2) Studying mechanism of adhesion, motility and sensing in cells or unicellular microorganisms.

Personal website, www.sbes.vt.edu/behkam/index.php

ben-tzviAssociate professor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Bio-Inspired Technology, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Mechatronics Design, Dynamic Systems and Control

Dr. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi is an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering and the founding Director of the Robotics and Mechatronics Laboratory at Virginia Tech. He received the B.S. degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Mechanical Engineering from the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology in 2000 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto, in 2004 and 2008, respectively. Dr. Ben-Tzvi’s current research interests are in robotics & autonomous systems, mechatronics, dynamic systems and control, mechanism/machine design and system integration, and novel sensors and actuators. Examples of applications of his research include autonomous mobile robots with symbiosis of locomotion and manipulation and modular & reconigurable mobile robotics for search & rescue and hazardous environment sensing and monitoring; design of intelligent biomimetic robotic tails for robust dynamic stabilization and agile maneuvering of mobile robots on rough terrain; autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) launch and recovery from naval vessels; haptics devices and upper-extremity exoskeletons for tele-operation and rehabilitation therapy; advanced medical devices and robotic systems for precision surgery; and novel smart sensors and actuators for biomedical applications.

boreykoAssistant professor, Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics, College of Engineering
Fluid-structure interaction, interfacial phenomena, phase-change heat transfer

Dr. Jonathan Boreyko is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University in 2012 and bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from Trinity College in 2007. Dr. Boreyko leads the Nature-Inspired Fluids & Mechanics Lab at Virginia Tech and his research is a multi-disciplinary combination of fluids dynamics, heat transfer, interfacial phenomena, materials science, and renewable energy. His current research interests include condensation and frost phenomena, fabricating micro/nano-patterned surfaces with special wettability, and designing fluidic systems inspired by nature for heat transfer and water harvesting applications.

Personal website: www.beam.vt.edu/boreyko/index.php

caoAssistant professor, Computer Science, College of Engineering
Computer graphics, high performance computing, large-scale data visualization

Yong Cao is an assistant professor of the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of California, Los Angeles in 2005, M.S. in Pattern Recognition and Intelligence System from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2000, and B.S. in Computer Science from University of Science and Technology of China in 1997. Dr. Cao is the director of the Graphics and Visualization Lab at Virginia Tech, which focuses on the research of high performance visualization and simulation, parallel computing on many-core architecture, character animation, and video game based learning.

Personal website: people.cs.vt.edu/yongcao/

choiAssistant Professor, Aerospace & Ocean Engineering, College of Engineering
Advanced numerical methods in computational fluid dynamics, fluid-structure interaction, multidisciplinary analysis and design optimization

Dr. Seongim Choi is an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace & Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech. She received her Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University in 2006, and master’s and bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering from Seoul National University in 1999 and 1997, respectively. Dr. Choi leads the Aerospace Multidisciplinary Design Laboratory at Virginia Tech and has research expertise in the development of high-fidelity, multidisciplinary analysis and design methods to enable the creation of efficient, environmentally friendly, and realizable aerospace systems.

Personal website: http://amdl.kaist.ac.kr/introduction-menu

de-vitaAssociate Professor, Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics, College of Engineering
Biomaterials, mechanics of nonlinear elastic, viscoelastic and liquid crystals biological systems

Dr. Raffaella De Vita is an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at Virginia Tech. She received her Ph.D. and master’s in Mechanical Engineering from University of Pittsburgh in 2005 and 2003, respectively, and bachelor’s in Mathematics from University of Naples II in 2000. She directs the Mechanics of Soft Biological Systems Lab and works in the general areas of experimental and theoretical mechanics of nonlinear elastic, viscoelastic, and liquid crystal biological systems including tracheae, ligaments, tendons, cells, and lipid bilayers.

Personal website: www.beam.vt.edu/devita/

fengAssistant professor, Biological Systems Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences/College of Engineering
Biomolecular engineering of eukaryotic systems, metabolic engineering, systems & synthetic biology

Dr. Xueyang Feng is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. He earned his Ph.D. in Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012 and bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering from Huazhong University of Science & Technology in 2008. Dr. Feng directs the Biomolecular Engineering Lab at Virginia Tech with research focus on biomolecular engineering of eukaryotic systems such as yeast, plants, and mammalian cells.

Personal website: https://sites.google.com/a/vt.edu

garvinAssociate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
Bioinspired buildings, facility investments, project delivery systems

Dr. Michael Garvin is an associate professor in the Via Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and a principal faculty member in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech. He obtained his Ph.D. in Construction Engineering & Management and master’s in Civil & Environmental Engineering, both in MIT, and bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from United States Military Academy, West Point in 1989. His research and education pursuits are geared toward fundamentally changing how institutional owners, such as Departments of Transportation, Universities, and Federal Agencies, make constructed (or real) asset investment and financing decisions. He develops decision support systems for facility investments and project delivery. Currently, he has a particular interest in policies and practices related to infrastructure public-private partnership arrangements.

hajjProfessor, Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics, College of Engineering
Flapping flight, fluid dynamics, reduced order modeling

Dr. Muhammad Hajj is a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. and master’s in Civil engineering from University of Texas at Austin in 1990 and 1985, respectively, and bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from American University of Beirut in 1983. His research interests include reduced-order modeling, analysis, and identification of nonlinear systems with applications in fluid dynamics, fluid-structure interactions, and structures vibrations.

Personal website: www2.esm.vt.edu/~mhajj/

jiaoAssociate Professor, Fish & Wildlife Conservation, College of Natural Resources and Environment
Fisheries ecology & management, population dynamics, stock assessment

Dr. Yan Jiao is an associate professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. She obtained her Ph.D. from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2004, and master’s and bachelor’s from Ocean University of China in 1997 and 1993, respectively. Dr. Jiao’s research interests are to explain the nature of aquatic species and manage them as appropriate as we can in a probabilistic way. Particularly, she studies population dynamics and stock assessment, risk analysis, fisheries management (decision analysis, adaptive management), fishery ecology and statistical computing. Her recent research projects study spatial-temporal dynamics and its modeling in fisheries and ecosystem modeling (climate driven population dynamics modeling; quantification of species interaction).

Personal website: www.yanjiao.fishwild.vt.edu/

Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics, College of Engineering
Biological fluid transport, nonlinear dynamics, interfacial dynamics

Dr. Sunghwan Jung is an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from University of Texas at Austin in 2005. Dr. Jung is interested in problems of biofluid mechanics related to nonlinear interactions between soft bodies and their surrounding fluid. Examples of his research include how animals drink, dive and jump out of water, how plant leaves survive from raindrops, how fluid interfaces interact with each other, and how fluid interface deforms in vicinity of flexible objects.

Personal website: www.beam.vt.edu/sunnyjsh/

kurdilaProfessor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Bioinspired control, dynamical systems theory, unmanned systems and robotics

Dr. Andrew Kurdila is the W. Martin Johnson Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He earned his Ph.D. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1988, master’s in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1985 and bachelor’s in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Cincinnati in 1983. He works in the general areas of dynamical systems theory, control theory and computational mechanics.

leonessaAssociate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Adaptive control, bioinspired robotics, medical device for disabilities

Dr. Alexander Leonessa is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He received three degrees from Georgia Tech: a doctorate in Aerospace Engineering in 1999, a master’s in Applied Mathematics, also in 1999, and a master’s in Aerospace Engineering in 1997; he holds his bachelor’s in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 1993. Dr. Leonessa’s research expertise lies in nonlinear systems and control. Particularly, Dr. Leonessa has worked on developing medical device to restore the voice of stroke patients and others who have suffered paralysis of the vocal folds.

mallikarjunanProfessor, Biological Systems Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences/College of Engineering
Bioinspired noses, nondestructive sensing

Dr. Kumar Mallikarjunan is a professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. He obtained his B.E. in Agricultural Engineering from Tamilnadu Agricultural University in 1986, M.E. in Agricultural & Food Engineering from Asian Institute of Technology in 1988, and Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from University of Guelph in 1993. His research is focused on the use of technologies like electronic nose, spectroscopy and ultrasound for development of nondestructive methods to evaluate quality, detect pathogen and toxin contaminations and develop rapid tools for medical diagnostics.

Personal website: ww2.bse.vt.edu/kumar/

mooreProfessor, Biological Sciences, College of Science
Behavioral ecology & endocrinology, physiological ecology

Dr. Ignacio Moore is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. He obtained his Ph.D. in Zoology from Oregon State University in 1999 and bachelor’s in Biochemistry from University of Arizona in 1994. He has worked on reptiles, amphibians, and birds from the arctic to the equator and sea-level up to 5000m. His research group focuses on providing an integrative understanding of how animals function in their unique social and physical environment. They study animals from a variety of perspectives including physiological function, neuroendocrinology, ecology, evolution, and behavior. Currently, they have two primary areas of interest: (1) Behavioral endocrinology, physiology, and ecology of tropical birds. (2) Stress and life-history tradeoffs in temperate birds.

Personal website:  www.faculty.biol.vt.edu/moore/

muellerAssociate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Bioinspired sensing, biosonar systems

Dr. Rolf Müller is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech and the director of Shandong University – Virginia Tech International Laboratory in China. He holds three degrees from University of Tübingen: doctorate (1998), mmaster’s (1995), and bachelor’s in Biology (1992). Dr. Müller’s research is focused on wave-based sensing paradigms inspired by the biosonar system of bats. His current research projects focus on the dynamics of biosonar sensing in bats as well as its technical reproductions.

Brent D Opell, Professor, Biological Sciences.

Professor, Biological Sciences, College of Science
Integrative biology, spider silk

Dr. Brent Opell is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University in 1978, M.S. in Zoology from Southern Illinois University in 1974, and bachelor’s in Botany/Zoology from Butler University in 1971. His research focuses on spider systematics and integrative biology. Systematics studies utilize morphological and molecular characters and incorporate aspects of phylogeography. Integrative studies examine the adhesive delivery system of viscous capture threads that are spun by araneoid orb-weaving spiders. These studies model the interaction of threads with surfaces and describe how droplet and axial fiber features determine thread stickiness and how the setal features of insect surfaces affect this adhesion. Dr. Opell and his students also examine how temperature, ultraviolet light, and humidity affect the properties and performance of spider prey capture threads and how these responses adapt a species’ orb-web to function optimally in its characteristic habitat.

Personal website: www.faculty.biol.vt.edu/opell/

philenAssociate professor, Aerospace & Ocean Engineering, College of Engineering
Adaptive structures, bioinspired systems and structures, smart materials

Dr. Michael Philen is an associate professor in the Department of Aerospace & Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech. He holds a doctorate and a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 2006 and 2005, respectively, and a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1998. He directs the Aerospace Structures and Materials Laboratory (ASML) and has general research interests in adaptive structures, biologically inspired systems and structures, and structural dynamics and control. Particularly, for adaptive structures, the research centers on the analysis and design of intelligent structures using smart materials that can adapt and/or compensate for unwanted stimuli to better improve the performance of the system.  For bioinspired systems and structures, the research focuses on developing advanced systems that are inspired by the sensing, actuation, and intelligent control found in biology.

Website: www.aoe.vt.edu/people/webpages/mphilen/index-mphilen.html

Laboratory: www.asml.aoe.vt.edu/

Joseph C. Pitt, Philosphy

Professor, Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences
Bioinspired concept

Dr. Joseph Pitt is a professor in the Department of Philosophy at Virginia tech. He received his Ph.D. and master’s in Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario in 1972 and 1970, respectively, and bachelor’s in Philosophy from the College of William and Mary in 1966. He has major research interests in history and philosophy of science and technology, with an emphasis on the impact of technologies on scientific change. His historical interests include Galileo, Hume, and American pragmatism.

ramakrishnanProfessor, Computer Science, College of Engineering
Data analytics, mining scientific datasets

Dr. Naren Ramakrishnan is the Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering and director of the Discovery Analytics Center at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Sciences from Purdue University. His major research interests are in mining scientific datasets and developing new algorithms and abstractions for knowledge discovery. His research has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Smithsonian Magazine,Popular Science, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Personal website: people.cs.vt.edu/~ramakris/

reichardAssociate Professor, Building Construction, College of Architecture & Urban Studies
Bioinspired building systems, building sciences

Dr. Georg Reichard is an associate professor of Building Construction and a principal faculty member of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech. He holds a doctoral and a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Graz University of Technology. His research deals with numerical methods, simulation and data models in the area of building sciences. In his current research, he focuses on building performance, energy efficiency in buildings, retrofitting solutions, systems integration, integrated control strategies and smart building materials – using modeling and simulation assessment techniques to improve our buildings, systems and operation processes.

rossAssociate Professor, Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics, College of Engineering
Biodynamics, control, computations

Ross is an associate professor of dynamical systems and fluid dynamics in Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics at Virginia Tech, an interdisciplinary department dedicated to research and education emphasizing breadth and depth in the fundamental principles of mechanics and mathematics, including applications to bioengineering and biomechanics. He is author of more than 70 publications, including over 50 journal articles (over 2800 citations, h-index of 25) in the fields of mathematical modeling and nonlinear dynamics, with application to problems in fluid mechanics, disease spread, orbital mechanics, biolocomotion, structural mechanics, vehicle control and chemical physics. He has spoken to thousands at dozens of universities worldwide including MIT, Caltech, Stanford, Cornell, UCLA, TU Munich, Univ. of Toronto, Univ. of Warwick, ETH Zurich, and Univ. of Barcelona, and at several prestigious international forums, including the British Science Festival and the Zurich Physics Colloquium. His research has been featured in the pages of Science, American Scientist, New Scientist, Science News, Astronomy, the Times of London, the BBC, and several other international news outlets, including those in India, Russia, Finland, Poland, Turkey, Brazil, and China.

 

He has obtained externally sponsored research projects totaling $10 million, with a personal share of over $2 million, including a prestigious NSF CAREER award in the Dynamical Systems program, and an NSF IGERT to cross-train graduate students in biology and engineering with a focus on biological transport problems. He has supervised 8 PhD and 2 MS students to the completion of their degrees and is currently supervising 6 more, many of whom have gone to positions in academia, government, and industry. Ross helped initiate the current interest in dynamical systems methods among the space flight mechanics community, particularly the use of invariant manifold theory. He has received several certificates of recognition from NASA and has co-authored a book on Dynamical Systems, the Three-Body Problem, and Space Mission Design. His PhD in control and dynamical systems from Caltech was supervised by Jerry Marsden.

Personal website: www2.esm.vt.edu/~sdross/

Warren Ruder, Biological Systems Engineering.

Assistant Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences/College of Engineering
BioMEMS, cell physiology, gene circuit engineering, synthetic biology

Dr. Warren Ruder is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. He received two degrees from Carnegie Mellon University: a doctorate in Biomedical Engineering in 2009 and a master’s in Mechanical Engineering in 2008; he obtained his bachelor’s in Civil/Environmental Engineering from MIT in 2002. His lab focuses on applying synthetic biology constructs, methods, and paradigms to solve a range of industrial, medical, and environmental problems. The mission includes both understanding the fundamental biology of natural bioprocessing systems as well as re-engineering these systems with synthetic control circuits. Dr. Ruder has expertise in multiple fields including gene circuit engineering, cell physiology and biomechanics, microfluidics, MEMS, biomaterials, and polar (Antarctic) ecology.

Personal website: www.warrenruder.com/

sochaAssociate Professor, Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics, College of Engineering
Animal locomotion, gliding flight of snakes, internal flow in insects

Dr. Jake Socha is an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics at Virginia Tech. He earned a Bachelor of Science in physics and biology from Duke University in 1994 and a Ph.D. in biology (with a focus on biomechanics) from the University of Chicago in 2002. After graduate school, he was the Ugo Fano Postdoctoral Fellow at Argonne National Laboratory, studying insect flow systems using synchrotron x-ray imaging at the Advanced Photon Source. His research program at Virginia Tech combines both interests, investigating the biomechanics and functional morphology of flows in and around organisms. Specific research topics include the behavior, biomechanics, and aerodynamics of gliding flight in flying snakes, and the biomechanics and physiology of internal convective flows involved in breathing, feeding, and circulation in insects. Prior to entering science, he was a member of the Teach for America national teacher corps.

Personal website: www.thesochalab.org/

staplesAssociate Professor, Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics, College of Engineering
Biological fluid dynamics, computational fluid dynamics, multiscale methods

Dr. Anne Staples is an associate professor of fluid dynamics and biomechanics in the Department of Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics at Virginia Tech. She obtained a doctorate in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University in 2006 and a bachelor’s in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University in 2000. Dr. Staples is a Core U.S. Fulbright Scholar for 2015-2016. She directs the Laboratory for Fluid Dynamics in Nature (FiNLab) at Virginia tech and has research focus on two themes: fluid flows in nature, and advanced computational methods for fluid flows. The FiNLab studies natural systems ranging from insect respiratory flows, which occur at the microscale, to human cardiovascular flows, to planetary atmospheric flows with length scales on the order of tens of kilometers. The FiNLab has an emphasis on biomimetics for efficiency, resilience, and sustainability, on high performance computing, and on advanced multiscale computational modeling.

Personal website: www.stapleslab.org/#!people/c1d94

sultanAssociate professor, Aerospace & Ocean Engineering, College of Engineering
Tensegrity & membrane structures, energy harvesting, helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, coordination

Dr. Cornel Sultan is an associate professor in the Department of Aerospace & Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech. He holds Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering and master’s in Mathematics from Purdue University, and B.S./M.S. (Diploma Engineer) from Bucharest Polytechnic University (Romania). His current research is in the areas of tensegrity and membrane structures, rotary and fixed wing aircraft, energy harvesting, and coordination, requiring a strong background in mathematics. The research is aimed at understanding physical systems and designing engineering systems via thorough mathematical analysis, which may eventually generate ideas and fundamental results of larger generality than initially contemplated.

Personal website: www.aoe.vt.edu/people/webpages/csultan

taftiProfessor, Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Biological & computational fluid dynamics, fluid-structure Interaction, turbulence modeling

Dr. Danesh Tafti is the William S. Cross Professor and Interim Department Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He obtained his Ph.D. from Penn State University in 1989 and master’s from Texas Tech in 1983. His research expertise includes Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in dynamic geometries, parallel computing, turbulence modeling, large eddy simulations, turbulent flow and heat transfer, fluid-structure interaction, particulate flows, Discrete Element Method (DEM). Applications include internal and external cooling of turbine vanes and blades, heat transfer enhancement surfaces in compact heat exchangers, fluidized beds, cardio-vascular flows, aerodynamics of flapping flight for Micro-Air Vehicle (MAV) applications, CO2 capture, microfluidics, and flows in solid rocket motors.

taylorProfessor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering
Bioinspired buildings, energy efficiency dynamics, information systems integration dynamics

Dr. John Taylor is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University in 2006, a master’s in Logistical Systems Management from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 1998, another master’s and a bachelor’s from Tulane University in 1996 and 1991, respectively. Dr. Taylor is the Associate Director for Research of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, and the director of the Civil Engineering Network Dynamics Lab at Virginia Tech. He specializes in the investigation of civil engineering network dynamics of industrial and societal importance. His current research focuses on; (1) achieving sustained energy conservation in the built environment by coupling energy use with occupant networks and examining inter-building network phenomena, (2) examining the trending increase in global outsourcing of engineering services and its impact on project network productivity, (3) understanding and improving response times by affected human networks during extreme events, and (4) examining the impact of integrated information systems on project networks and the associated virtualization of the workforce.

Personal website: www.cend.cee.vt.edu/

tuckerAssociate Professor, School of Visual Arts, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
Animation & visualization, motion capture

Thomas Tucker is an associate professor of the School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech. He received his Master’s of Fine Arts from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998 and Bachelor of Fine Arts from Kansas City Art Institute in 1996. His work is about creating spatial environments that dynamically represent inner vision and 3D form. His projects include: dealing with body mechanics using motion capture, using technology to create a responsive virtual heritage environment in collaboration with art historians, using animation to describe internal organ movements in collaboration with bimolecular imaging specialists, helping city councilmen visualize new traffic simulations and designing serious games.

Personal website: http://thomastucker.net/

wangAssistant Professor, Aerospace & Ocean Engineering, College of Engineering
Atomistic-to-Continuum Coupling, failure and fracture Analysis, fluid-structure interactions

Dr. Kevin Wang is an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace & Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech. He obtained his Ph.D. and master’s in Computational and Mathematical Engineering from Stanford University in 2012 and 2009, respectively, and bachelor’s in Information and Computational Sciences from Nanjing University in 2006. Dr. Wang’s research group are interested in developing physics-based predictive models and high-performance computational methods for the solution of real-world engineering problems involving multiple physical domains (e.g. fluid, structure), multiple physical fields (e.g. thermal, mechanical), and physical properties and behaviors at multiple length and time scales (e.g. nano, micro, macro). Dr. Wang’s research expertise includes multi-material fluid-structure interaction, atomistic-to-continuum coupling, and failure and fracture analysis.

Personal website: www.multiphysics.aoe.vt.edu/about.html

websterAssociate Professor, School of Visual Arts, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
Animation, 3D modeling & visualization

Dane Webster is an associate professor in the School of Visual Arts and the director of the Master’s in Fine Arts program in Creative Technologies at Virginia Tech. Prof. Webster is also a Senior Fellow with the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT), a research center focused on the intersection of art & design with science & technology. He received his Master’s of Fine Arts in Photography/Digital Imaging from Washington State University in 2000, and Bachelor’s of Science from Weber State University in 1998. He teaches various courses in 3D computer animation and create coding. His research has been focused on the use of 3D modeling and animation for use in animated short films, gaming, and spatial visualizations. Recently he has been exploring the world of data visualization using Processing.

Personal website: http://danewebster.com/About-Me

zhangProfessor, Biological Systems Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences/College of Engineering
Enzyme engineering, in vitro synthetic biosystems

Dr. Yi-Heng Percival Zhang is a professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. (2002) in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering at Dartmouth College, master’s (1996) and bachelor’s (1993) in Biochemical Engineering at East China University of Science and Technology. His two research goals are (i) replacing crude oil with sweet hydrogen produced from sugars and (ii) feeding the world by out-of-the-box solutions. For implementing Goal One, his research topics cover biomass pretreatment and saccharification, biorefinery design, cellulase engineering, cellulose hydrolysis modeling, consolidated bioprocessing microorganism development, synthetic biology (in vitro and in vivo), and energy efficiency analysis. For implementing Goal Two, he accomplished low-cost conversion of non-food cellulose to edible starch for the first time and is working on in vitro artificial photosynthesis for CO2 fixation. In a word, he is a pioneer of in vitro synthetic biology, a revolutionary paradigm-shifting biomanufacturing platform.

Personal website: www.sugarcar.com/

zhuAssistant Professor, Statistics, College of Science
High-dimensional and functional data analysis, Bayesian Methods, Statistical machine learning

Dr. Hongxiao Zhu is an assistant professor in the Department of Statistics at Virginia Tech. She received her Ph.D. in Statistics from Rice University in 2009. Her research interests include Bayesian methods, functional data analysis, high dimensional data analysis, statistical machine learning, and applications biometrics, bioinspired engineering, neuroscience, and genomics.

Personal website: www.apps.stat.vt.edu/zhu/