New & noteworthy

April 14, 2020
This article appeared in Berkeley Engineer magazine, Spring 2020

Rebecca Abergel, assistant professor of nuclear engineering, and David Schaffer, professor of bioengineering and of chemical and biomolecular engineering, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They are among 443 members who were recognized for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

This year, a sizeable contingent of Berkeley Engineering alumni was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, which is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Eleanor Allen (M.S.’07 CEE), David Allstot (Ph.D.’79 EECS), Reginald DesRoches (B.S.’90, M.S.’92, Ph.D.’97 CEE), John Fan (B.S.’66 EECS), Susan Hubbard (Ph.D.’98 CEE), Ronald Klemencic (M.S.’86 CEE), Steven Kramer (B.S.’77, MEng’79 CEE), Chen-Ching Liu (Ph.D.’83 EECS), Lelio Mejia (M.S.’78 CEE), Rabab Ward (M.S.’69 EECS) and Deng Zhonghan (Ph.D.’97 EECS) were all recognized by the academy.

Alper Atamturk, professor of industrial engineering and operations research, was named an INFORMS Fellow as well the next chair of the INFORMS Optimization Society.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences graduate student Carlos Biaou won a UC Berkeley Sather Gate Young Volunteer Award for giving his time and expertise to serve the Berkeley community. Biaou also won the Pillar of the Community Award from the Latino/a Association for Graduate Students in Engineering and Science at Berkeley (LAGSES) in 2019.

Bolt Threads — co-founded by David Breslauer (Ph.D.’10 BioE) — received an honorable mention in the 2019 Fast Company Innovation by Design awards for their new Mylo Driver Bag, a high fashion tote made from engineered mushroom mycelium cells.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences professors Eric Brewer (B.S.’89 EECS) and David Wagner (M.S.’99, Ph.D.’00 CS), along with Ian Goldberg (M.S.’98, Ph.D.’00 CS) and Randi Thomas, have won the 2019 USENIX Test of Time Award for their 1996 paper “A Secure Environment for Untrusted Helper Applications.”

Kevin Carter (B.S.’86 CE) was appointed vice president and managing principal for Huitt-Zollars, Inc., a full-service consultant for all market sectors. Previously, he had worked for the city of Glendale for 16 years, as well as a design-build contractor.

Civil and environmental engineering professor emeritus Anil Chopra (M.S.’63, Ph.D.’66 CE) was awarded the Nigel Priestley International Prize by the Rose School at the University of Pavia, Italy. He was honored for his professional achievements and excellence in education in the field of earthquake engineering and engineering seismology.

Civil and environmental engineering professor Matthew DeJong’s project on monitoring the health of aging railway infrastructure was honored with the New Civil Engineer TechFest Rail Visionary Award.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences professor James Demmel (Ph.D.’83 CS) and Vasily Volkov (Ph.D.’16 CS) have won the 2019 ACM/IEEE Supercomputing Conference Test of Time Award for their paper, “Benchmarking GPUs to Tune Dense Linear Algebra.” The paper describes a first-of-its-kind vision of GPU architectures as a vector machine.

Michelle DeRobertis (B.S.’80, M.S.’82 CE) received a Ph.D. from the University of Brescia in Lombardy, Italy.

Leslie Field (M.S.’88, Ph.D.’91 EECS) gave a presentation at the inaugural Global Climate Restoration Forum at the United Nations. Field is the CEO and founder of ICE911 Research, a non-profit focused on developing materials to preserve and rebuild polar and glacial ice and polar habitats.

Darryll Pines

Darryll Pines (B.S.’86 ME) has been named the next president of the University of Maryland, College Park. He is currently the dean of the university’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, and he previously served as chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering. A faculty member at the university since 1995, his research focuses on structural dynamics, including structural health monitoring and prognosis; smart sensors; adaptive, morphing and biologically inspired structures; and the guidance, navigation and control of aerospace vehicles. (Photo courtesy University of Maryland)

Civil and environmental engineering graduate students Teddy Forscher, Alexandra Pan and Stephen Wong all received prestigious Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowships. These fellowships are awarded to students pursuing degrees in transportation-related disciplines and aim to advance the transportation workforce.

Suresh Garimella (Ph.D.’89 ME) will become the new president at the University of Vermont in July. He is currently the executive vice president for research and partnerships and professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

Andres Gomez (M.S.’14, Ph.D.’17 IEOR) and Renyuan Xu (M.S.’15, Ph.D.’19 IEOR) have joined the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering as assistant professors.

Sumit Gulwani (Ph.D.’05 CS), Susmit Jha (M.S.’11, Ph.D.’11 EECS), electrical engineering and computer sciences professor Sanjit Seshia and Ashish Tiwari will receive the 2020 Most Influential Paper Award by the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering, given to the paper judged to have had the most influence on the theory or practice of software engineering during the 10 years since its original publication.

Bruce Hajek (Ph.D.’79), professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), has been named head of UIUC’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is an internationally renowned expert in the field of communications networks.

Bioengineering professor Amy Herr received the 2019 Faculty Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring at UC Berkeley from the Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs Program. Herr was also appointed to the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, a high-level advisory and steering position at the national level.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences graduate student Grant Ho and his co-advisers, professors Vern Paxson (M.S.’91, Ph.D.’97 CS) and David Wagner (M.S.’99, Ph.D.’00 CS), were honored with a Distinguished Paper award at the 2019 USENIX Security Symposium for “Detecting and Characterizing Lateral Phishing at Scale.”

Feisal Jaffer (B.S.’97 EECS) is the new global head for Hilton’s luxury LXR Hotels and Resorts brand. Jaffer previously was the senior vice president of business development for Capella Hotel Group.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences professor Michael I. Jordan has won the distinguished John von Neumann Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was cited for “contributions to machine learning and data science.”

Jay Keasling, professor of bioengineering and of chemical engineering, was awarded the Doing a World of Good Medal by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for his achievements in advancing the social contributions of engineers.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences postdoctoral researcher Pragya Kushwaha, currently in the Berkeley Short-channel IGFET Model (BSIM) group, has won a prestigious 2019 IEEE Electron Devices Society Early Career Award.

Srinivasan Keshav (M.S.’88, Ph.D.’91 CS) won a 2019 Indian Institute of Technology Delhi Distinguished Alumni Award. A professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada, he is known for his cutting-edge research in computer networking and energy informatics and for his current research on blockchains for transactive energy.

Bill Kramer (Ph.D.’08 CS) has been selected as the next director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, a joint research center of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Chenming Hu

Chenming Hu, electrical engineering and computer sciences professor emeritus, was awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor in recognition for “a distinguished career of developing and putting into practice semiconductor models, particularly 3D device structures, that have helped keep Moore’s Law going over many decades.” Hu was one of the researchers behind FinFET, a revolutionary 3D transistor structure that overcame physical barriers limiting device design and has been replacing the transistors used by industry for the past five decades.

Bioengineering assistant professor Liana Lareau received the 2019 Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation Faculty Scholars Program Award by the UC Berkeley Innovative Genomics Institute. Lareau will lead a new project using genome editing tools to understand how “silent” mutations lead to human disease and to predict which mutations have big effects on human health.

Jack Moehle, professor of civil and environmental engineering, is the recipient of the George W. Housner Medal, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s most prestigious award. The medal is awarded for extraordinary and lasting contributions to public earthquake safety.

Shmuel Oren, professor of industrial engineering and operations research, was selected as the key speaker at the first Felix Höffler Memorial Lecture, hosted by the EWI Energy Conference, held at the University of Cologne, Germany.

As part of an NVIDIA team, computer science Ph.D. student Taesung Park, Ting-Chung Wang (M.S.’15, Ph.D.’17 EECS) and Jun-Yan Zhu (Ph.D.’17 CS), as well as NVIDIA’s Ming-Yu Liu, created a real-time AI art application, called GauGAN, that won two coveted awards — Best in Show and Audience Choice — at the SIGGRAPH 2019 Real-Time Live Competition.

Stanley Qi (Ph.D.’12 BioE) has been named to the annual “SN: Scientists to Watch” list by Science News.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences professor Jaijeet Roychowdhury (M.S.’89, Ph.D.’92 EECS) and Ph.D. student Tianshi Wang were awarded the Nokia Bell Labs Prize for their work on “A Classical Spin on Quantum Computing.” Their innovation is a new type of processor element that will be significantly more efficient in computing the answers to discrete optimization problems.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences professor Stuart Russell has published a book, “Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control,” in which he explains why society needs to design artificial intelligence that is beneficial, not just smart, and presents a solution for doing so.

Brian Salazar (B.S.’15, M.S.’17 ME), now a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student, was honored with the Best Poster Presentation Award at the 2019 International Conference on Planarization/CMP Technology.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences professor Ion Stoica was honored with the ACM SIGOPS Mark Weiser Award.

Valerie Taylor (Ph.D.’91 EECS)
has been named a 2019 Argonne Distinguished Fellow. She is currently the director of the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of Argonne National Laboratory.

William Tarpeh (Ph.D.’17 CEE) was selected by Chemistry and Engineering News as one of its “Talented 12: Young Scientists Tackling the World’s Problems with Chemistry.” His work consists of creating ways to extract resources from human waste to make valuable products, like fertilizers and cleaning products.

Mechanical engineering professor Masayoshi Tomizuka was recently awarded the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Soichiro Honda Medal.

Assistant bioengineering professor Moriel Vandsburger was presented with the American Heart Association Transformational Project Award for his work on molecular MRI methods for integrative physiological imaging in gene therapy.

Electrical engineering and computer sciences professor Ming Wu (Ph.D.’88 EECS) has been named the 2020 recipient of the IEEE Electron Devices Society’s Robert Bosch Micro and Nano Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) Award for pioneering contributions in MEMS optical switches and optoelectronic tweezers.

Michael Yartsev, professor of bioengineering, was awarded a Jannett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award from the Society for Neuroscience in recognition for his work in applying cutting-edge neural techniques to bats to understand how brain circuits mediate spatial and social behaviors.

Yasuo Yoshikuni (Ph.D.’07 BioE) and his colleagues at the Joint Genome Institute invented a genetic engineering tool, CRAGE, that will make studying secondary metabolites much easier and fill significant gaps in our understanding of how microbes interact with their surroundings and evolve.


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