The University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering welcomes new faculty from around the world

The environment, medical technologies, robotics, transportation networks, and a variety of other topics are the focus of research for new faculty members hired this fall within the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering. The 18 new faculty join more than 400 current CSE faculty, many world-renowned in their fields.

Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Maziar Hemati_AEMMaziar Hemati
Assistant professor

Hemati received his B.S. in aerospace engineering in 2007, M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 2009 and 2013 respectively from the University of California, Los Angeles. Previously, he was a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. His research focuses on how modeling, optimization, dynamical systems and control theory intersect, and applying these ideas in the context of fluid flow physics and machine-fluid interactions.

Linares _thumbRichard Linares
Assistant professor

Linares received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aerospace engineering in 2009, 2010 and 2013, respectively, from the State University of New York, Buffalo. From 2013-15, he received a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and served as a research associate at the United States Naval Observatory from 2014-15.  His research uses state and parameter estimation and uncertainty quantification to develop methods relevant to space situational awareness, vehicle attitude estimation, vehicle formation flight, small satellite systems and autonomous navigation.


Department of Biomedical Engineering

Zhi YangZhi Yang
Assistant professor

Yang received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Previously, he was an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the National University of Singapore. Yang’s research interests include high-precision, low-power, miniaturized sensors and circuits for robotics. He will pursue those interests with a focus on neuroprosthetics.


Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Mahesh MahanthappaMahesh Mahanthappa
Associate professor

Mahanthappa received a B.A. in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Colorado and his Ph.D. in chemistry at Stanford University. After postdoctoral studies at the University of Minnesota Departments of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Chemistry, he joined the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2006 and was promoted to associate professor in 2012. His research leverages chemical synthesis and physical materials characterization to develop new, sustainable and degradable polymers and surfactants, advanced battery materials, and next-generation membranes for chemical separations.


Department of Chemistry

Joseph Topczewski_thumbJoseph Topczewski
Assistant professor

Topczewski earned his Ph.D. degree in chemistry at the University of Iowa in 2011, where he was an ACS pre-doctoral fellow in medicinal chemistry. He was awarded an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan. His research focus is on making chemical synthesis sustainable. His approach is to develop more efficient ways to use dwindling fossil fuels and to develop methods to sustainably use biomass as a feedstock for chemical synthesis.


Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering

khaniAlireza Khani
Assistant professor

Khani earned his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Arizona in 2013. He received his B.S. in civil engineering in 2006, and his M.S. in transportation engineering in 2008 from the Sharif University of Technology in Iran. Khani’s research interests include study and modeling of transportation networks and user behavior, intelligent transportation data analysis, public transit, and non-­motorized travel.


Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Junaed SattarJunaed Sattar
Assistant professor

Sattar received his Ph.D. in computer science from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He worked as postdoctoral fellow at the Laboratory for Computational Intelligence (LCI) and the Institute for Computing, Information, and Cognitive Systems (ICICS) at the University of British Columbia. Previously he was an assistant professor at Clarkson University, where he founded the Robotic Autonomy and Interactions Lab (RAIL). His primary research focus is to enable robots to work safely and intuitively with people, by improving robot perception, their intentions and/or actions, and engaging in dialog.

Haiyi ZhuHaiyi Zhu
Assistant professor

Zhu received her Ph.D. from the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in July 2015. Her Ph.D. work combines management theories, statistics and machine learning to understand the underlying principles in large-­scale, social-computing systems. She is a recipient of several awards, including best paper honorable mentions at the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work in 2012, CHI conference 2013, Human Factor Prize 2013, and Facebook fellowship 2014­-15.


Department of Earth Sciences

Andy Wickert_thumbAndy Wickert
Assistant professor

Wickert received his Ph.D. in 2014 from the University of Colorado and completed a postdoc at the University of Potsdam in Germany. His research encompasses retreating late Quaternary ice sheets and glaciers and its impact on runoff and water delivery to the oceans, climate change impacts on rivers and geomorphic systems, global sea level and glacial isostatic adjustment, and field instrumentation development. More generally, he seeks to find better ways to connect diverse geologic data with physically ­based models to better interrogate and interpret Earth’s past and present.

Cara Santelli_thumbCara Santelli
Assistant professor

Santelli earned her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography. Her recent work as a post-doc at Harvard and as a research geologist and assistant curator of minerals at the Smithsonian Institution examines the impact of microbial activity on geological processes, including mineral formation, environmental geochemistry, and remediation of contaminated environments. Her research in geomicrobiology will be a collaborative effort linking CSE’s Department of Earth Sciences with the College of Biological Sciences BioTechnology Institute.


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

SarahSwisher_thumb.jpgSarah Swisher
Assistant professor

Swisher recently received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley where she also earned her master’s degree. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. As part of her graduate research, she designed and built a flexible electronic device that uses impedance spectroscopy to provide early detection of pressure sores in patients. Previously, she worked for Garmin International, Inc. as a design engineer on GPS based bicycle computers. Her research focus lies in materials for biocompatible and bioresorbable electronic materials.

Mehmet Akcakaya_thumbMehmet Akcakaya
Assistant professor

Akcakaya received his graduate degrees from Harvard University and his undergraduate degree from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He previously worked as a postdoctoral research fellow, and an instructor in medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School. Mehmet’s expertise is in biomedical imaging with a particular emphasis in magnetic resonance imaging. He expects to work closely with the researchers at the University’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR).


Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Dan Mitchell_thumbDan Mitchell
Assistant professor

Mitchell received his Ph.D. in information, risk, and operations management from the University of Texas. He became an assistant professor at Singapore University of Technology and Design in the engineering systems and design pillar. His research interests are focused on financial engineering, specifically applying stochastic control to problems in finance. He has worked on projects in option pricing, algorithmic trading, federal intervention in the interest rate market, and human mortality forecasting.

Ankur Mani_thumbAnkur Mani
Assistant professor

Mani received his Ph.D. in media arts and sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Previously, he was a research scientist in the operations management group at New York University’s Stern School of Business.  His research interests include distributed experimentation and learning in modern supply chain networks and social networks with applications to revenue management and sustainability.


School of Mathematics

Camelia Pop_thumbCamelia Pop
Assistant professor

Pop received her Ph.D. in mathematics from Rutgers University in 2012. She was a Hans Rademacher Instructor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania from 2012­-15. Her research interests are in partial differential equations and stochastic processes, including applications to population genetics and mathematical finance.

WeiKhu ChenWeiKuo Chen
Assistant professor

Chen received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Irvine in 2012. Previously, he was a L.E. Dickson instructor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Chicago from 2012-15. His research interests are in probability theory and mathematical physics, focusing on stochastic dynamics, spin glasses, and random matrices.


Department of Mechanical Engineering

Suhasa Kodandaramaiah

Suhasa Kodandaramaiah
Assistant professor

Originally from India, Kodandaramaiah received his master’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology, both in mechanical engineering. Since 2013, he has been a post-doctoral associate in the media lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests focus on engineering tools for scalable, high-throughput, cellular resolution manipulation, and interrogation of intact biological systems such as the brain. 


School of Physics and Astronomy

Glesener Lindsay_thumb

Lindsay Glesener
Assistant professor

Glesener received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. From 2013-15, she was a post-doctoral researcher and an assistant researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, Space Science Laboratory.  She received a short-term post-doctoral fellowship at the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science from 2013-14, and the Tomkins Thesis Prize for Instrumentation from the Royal Astronomical Society in 2013.  Her research interests are magnetic energy release and particle acceleration in solar eruptive events, including solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).