New & noteworthy

Tyler Chen crossing the stage at commencement

Tyler Chen (B.S.’19 BioE/MSE) was this year’s winner of the University Medal, Berkeley’s highest honor for graduating seniors. He leaves campus with a succession of impressive scientific and technological breakthroughs, plus a near-perfect GPA of 3.96. In addition to co-founding and mentoring the Berkeley Hyperloop team, he worked in the Streets Lab, designing microfluidic devices to manipulate individual cells for RNA sequencing. Among other achievements, he helped develop carbon nanotube-based biosensors to track the health of astronauts. And, during a campus makeathon, he led a successful effort to build gripping devices for a person with quadriplegia. As part of the University Medalist honor, Chen delivered a speech to thousands of his peers at the campuswide commencement ceremony in May. (Photo by Adam Lau)

Alexis Abramson (Ph.D.’02 ME) is the new dean of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. Previously, she was a Case Western Reserve University professor, specializing in sustainable energy technology.

Materials science and engineering adjunct professor Joel Ager and Yanwei Lum (M.S.’15, Ph.D.’18 MSE) are co-authors of a study in Nature Catalysis showing that a simple copper-based catalyst can be used to recycle carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals and fuels, economically and efficiently.

Maria Artunduaga (MTM’18 BioE) took home the first prize in the Big Bang! Business Competition at UC Davis. Her company, Respira Labs, is developing a wearable device that uses acoustic sensors, data signal processing and artificial intelligence to predict and prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) attacks.

Anil Aswani (M.S.’07, Ph.D.’10 EECS), assistant professor of industrial engineering and operations research, has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to investigate personalized chronic disease management.

Matthew Avery (B.S.’01 MSE) was recently promoted to partner at Baker Botts LLP, where he is an intellectual property attorney. He also serves as an adjunct professor at UC Hastings, where he teaches courses on patent prosecution and food and drug law.

Pamela Bhatti (B.S.’89 BioE) has been appointed the associate chair for innovation and entrepreneurship at Georgia Tech’s school of electrical and computer engineering.

Professor Jeffrey Bokor is the new chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, taking over for outgoing chair James Demmel. Professor John Canny will succeed Bokor as the department’s associate chair and Demmel as chair of the computer science division.

Civil and environmental engineering professor Jonathan Bray (Ph.D.’90 CEE) and graduate student Daniel Hutabarat were awarded the Outstanding Paper Award by the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering.

Danny Broberg (Ph.D.’19 MSE) started a one-year term as the 2019-20 Optical Society and Materials Research Society congressional fellow. “I look forward to applying the lessons learned in my research on semiconductor materials to science-informed policymaking on energy and climate issues,” he said.

Assistant professors Alvin Cheung and Anca Dragan of electrical engineering and computer sciences and associate professor Javad Lavaei and assistant professor Barna Saha of industrial engineering and operations research have been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to scientists and engineers in the early stages of their careers.

Professor emeritus Leon Chua in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences has been named the 2019 Celebrated Member by the Electron Devices Society of the IEEE.

Meryll Dindin (MEng’19 BioE), Thomas Galeon (MEng’19 BioE) and Pierre-Louis Missler (MEng’19 CEE) were the winning team at the first Code and Response Codeathon for their creation of AsTeR, a platform for collecting and prioritizing information to facilitate decision-making during natural disasters.

Jordan Edmunds, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering and computer sciences, was named a 2019 Hertz Fellow. He specializes in the fabrication of neural interfaces.

Chelsea Finn (Ph.D.’18 EECS) has won the prestigious ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award, given for the best doctoral dissertation in computer science and engineering.

Mark Godwin (B.S.’04, M.S.’07, Ph.D.’11 ME) is the co-founder of Boxbot, which recently unveiled a new system for delivering packages to consumers using self-driving vehicles and a new hub that can automatically load delivery vehicles with packages.

Civil and environmental engineering professor Allen Goldstein received the Yoram J. Kaufman Unselfish Cooperation in Research Award from the American Geophysical Union for advancing scientific understanding of Earth and its planetary health.

Nadia Heninger (B.S.’04 EECS) has won the 2019 Borg Early Career Award, given to a woman in computer science and/or engineering who has made significant research contributions and who has contributed to her profession, especially in the outreach to women. She is currently an associate professor of computer science and engineering at UC San Diego.

Mark D. Hill (M.S.’83, Ph.D.’87 CS) has won the ACM-IEEE CS Eckert-Mauchly Award, considered the most prestigious award in the computer architecture community. He is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Professor Sanjay Kumar is the new chair of the Department of Bioengineering, taking over from outgoing chair Dan Fletcher.

Carl Lampert (B.S.’74 EECS, B.S.’74, M.S.’77, Ph.D.’79 MSE) received an Outstanding Contribution Award from Elsevier Publishers for 38 years of service as editor-in-chief of the journal Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, as well an award from the Society of Vacuum Coaters for his service as technical director.

Two electrical engineering and computer sciences professors have won awards from the IEEE Technical Committee on Cyber-Physical Systems: Edward Lee (Ph.D.’86 EECS) won the Technical Achievement Award and Sanjit Seshia won the Mid-Career Award.

Michael Lieberman, professor emeritus of electrical engineering and computer sciences, has won the 2020 IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award from the Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society for his groundbreaking research in the physics of low-temperature plasmas and their application.

Jitendra Malik, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, has been given the IEEE Computer Society’s 2019 Computer Pioneer Award for his leading role in computer vision research.

Tahir Masood (M.S.’86, Ph.D.’90 CEE) has been named the president and managing director of National Engineering Services of Pakistan, the largest state-owned consulting engineering company in Pakistan.

Samantha McBirney (B.S.’12 BioE) was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered for her graduate work on an inexpensive magnetic detector for malaria.

Shane Mortazavi (B.S.’75, M.S.’77 IEOR) has been named vice president of operations at Vitrium, a solutions provider of industrial solid-state drive and memory solutions.

Civil and environmental engineering professor Scott Moura (B.S.’06 ME) received an NSF Career Award for his project “Estimation and Control of Electrochemical-Thermal Battery Models: Theory and Experiments.”

Vasuki Narasimha Swamy (M.S.’15, Ph.D.’18 EECS) has been honored with a 2019 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award for her work in designing robust wireless protocol frameworks for ultra-reliable low-latency communications.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences assistant professor Aditya Parameswaran has won the Very Large Data Bases Early Career Award for developing tools for large-scale data exploration, targeting non-programmers.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences professor emeritus David Patterson, Zhangxi Tan (M.S.’08, Ph.D.’13 CS) and Lin Zhang of the Tsinghua-UC Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI) have been chosen to co-direct the new RISC-V International Open Source Laboratory, a nonprofit research lab launched by TBSI to expand and elevate the capabilities of reduced instruction set computer microprocessors. 

Stuart Russell, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, was named a 2019 Carnegie Fellow in recognition of his artificial intelligence work.

Lee Schruben, professor of industrial engineering and operations research, retired this year after 19 years on the Berkeley faculty. He has been a key figure in the department, serving as chair and helping to launch the Center for Entrepreneurship in Technology.

Zu-Jun “Max” Shen, professor of industrial engineering and operations research and of civil and environmental engineering, has published a paper with UCLA assistant professor Auyon Siddiq (M.S.’14, Ph.D.’18 IEOR) that shows how smart placement of defibrillators may help save lives for victims of cardiac arrest.

Scott Shenker, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most distinguished scientific organizations in the country.

M. Vali Siadat (B.S.’67 EECS) of Richard J. Daley College, one of the city colleges of Chicago, has been named the recipient of the 2019 American Mathematical Society Award for Impact on the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics for his many contributions to mathematics education at both the pre-college and college levels.

Michal Siwin´ski (B.S.’97 EECS) is the new corporate vice president at Cadence Design Systems, which develops computational software tools.

Pivot Bio, founded by Karsten Temme (Ph.D.’11 BioE), was named to Fast Company’s 2019 “The World’s Most Innovative Companies” list in the food sector. Pivot Bio makes the world’s first nitrogen-producing microbial that grafts onto corn to act as a sustainable fertilizer.

Mechanical engineering professor Masayoshi Tomizuka has been selected to receive UC Berkeley’s Carol D. Soc Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring Award.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences professor Claire Tomlin (Ph.D.’98 EECS) is one of nine Berkeley faculty honored with membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for 2019.

Rachel Vandenberg (B.S.’86 CEE) has been promoted to senior vice president at Dewberry, where she has overseen the growth and expansion of its ports and intermodal practice across the East and West coasts.

David Wagner (M.S.’99, Ph.D.’00 EECS), professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, was awarded the prestigious USENIX Test of Time Award for research on computer security completed when he was a Berkeley graduate student.

Teresa Williams (M.S.’14, Ph.D.’17 AS&T) is finishing up a year in Washington, D.C., as an AAAS congressional science and engineering fellow working on policy related to electric vehicles, workforce development, toxic chemicals and energy efficiency on the Energy and Commerce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Undergraduate students Caleb Wright, mechanical engineering, and Charles Yang, materials science and engineering and electrical engineering and computer sciences, won a competition co-hosted by the MIT Climate CoLab and the United Nation’s Environment Program, which sought ideas for achieving the U.N.’s sustainable development goals by 2030. Working with fellow Berkeley student Dan Ma, they were the only undergraduate team in the competition, beating out 69 other teams to take first place.

Mechanical engineering professor Paul Wright received the Berkeley Citation, awarded to individuals whose contributions to UC Berkeley go beyond the call of duty and whose achievements exceed the standards of excellence in their fields.

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Topics: Faculty, Alumni, Honors & awards


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