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The College of Engineering searches the world to hire the brightest people as its faculty. Among the college’s pool of brilliant and respected educators is a cadre of individuals who merit special recognition for outstanding contributions. This recognition comes in the form of endowed professorships or chairs. Chairs symbolize the confidence that industry, philanthropic organizations, and generous benefactors have in a faculty member’s work. Through endowed professorships, the college honors and supports faculty by providing the resources they need to remain at the forefront of their fields. Below are some of our newly endowed professors and a glimpse into their work.

Burcu Akinci

Paul P. Christiano Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2014

The complexities of construction projects and facility operations lie at the heart of Akinci’s research. As the co-director of the Smart Infrastructure Institute, she works with sensor-data-driven management and builds information-rich history models to aid decision-making during construction planning and execution. She aims to streamline construction and facility management processes.

Kumar Bhagavatula

U.A. and Helen Whitaker Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2014

One way of matching biometric signatures (face or iris images) with stored templates is to correlate the two. Bhagavatula is developing methods to perform these correlations in the presence of significant appearance variability in the biometric signatures (e.g. illumination changes, expression differences). His research interests also include: computer vision for autonomous/assisted driving, signal processing for two-dimensional magnetic recording (TDMR), and coding for flash memory systems. Bhagavatula is the Associate Dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs for the college.

Jacobo Bielak

Hamerschlag University Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2014

Bielak’s research focuses on monitoring bridge structures, earthquake engineering, and engineering seismology. He creates 3-D models to simulate earthquake effects on buildings and bridges. He is a member of the original Applied Technology Council committee that drafted the first seismic provisions for soil-structure interaction in the U.S., based mainly on his work. These provisions are now part of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) seismic provisions.

Neil Donahue

Thomas Lord Professor in Chemistry, 2015

Donahue, the director of the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research, is one of the most cited scientists in the field of geoscience. A leading expert in atmospheric chemistry and air-quality engineering, his research focuses on oxidation chemistry in the earth’s atmosphere and on aerosols, which have a negative impact on human health and the atmosphere.

David Dzombak

Hamerschlag University Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2014

Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dzombak’s research delves into water quality engineering, environmental restoration, and energy-environment issues. Among his many projects, he works on adapting infrastructure for climate change and forecasts water supply sustainability.

Chris Hendrickson

Hamerschlag University Professor Emeritus in Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2014

Hendrickson is the director of the Traffic21 Institute at CMU and editor-in-chief of the ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering. His research, teaching, and consulting are in the area of engineering planning and management, including design for the environment, system performance, construction project management, finance, and computer applications.

Jelena Kovačević

David Edward Schramm Memorial Professor, 2015

Jelena Kovačević, the head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, is a passionate educator whose recent research focuses on providing signal representation tools for use in communication and biomedical systems. She’s developed a toolbox containing an extensive list of tools with structure. (Structure distinguishes various classes of tools.) These can be multiresolution, multidimensional, wavelet-type, etc. A prolific writer, she co-authored the textbooks Wavelets and Subband Coding, Foundations of Signal Processing, and Fourier and Wavelet Signal Processing.

Philip LeDuc

William J. Brown Professor in Mechanical Engineering, 2015

LeDuc links mechanics to biochemistry at the cellular and molecular levels through examining structural regulation. Significant improvements in the prevention and treatment of cancer, birth defects, and aging, as well as novel applications such as engineered tissues, nutrition, and biological nanomachines may be achieved by manipulating mechanical interactions in biological systems at the molecular, cellular, and multi-cellular scales.

Greg Lowry

Walter J. Blenko, Sr. Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2014

Lowry specializes in water quality. At the nanoparticle level, his research includes developing and testing groundwater and soil remediation technologies to improve water quality. He is the Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation’s Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT).

M. Granger Morgan

Hamerschlag University Professor of Engineering, 2015

Morgan’s research addresses problems in science, technology, and public policy with a particular focus on energy, environmental systems, climate change, and risk analysis. His work involves the development and demonstration of methods to characterize and treat uncertainty in quantitative policy analysis. Morgan served as the founding department head of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy for 38 years, before stepping down in August 2014.

Burak Ozdoganlar

Ver Planck Professor in Mechanical Engineering, 2015

Ozdoganlar, the director of the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES), is a leader in the field of advanced manufacturing. His research focuses on mechanical, micro- and nanomachining processes, and equipment. His work in manufacturing processes finds cutting-edge applications in the medical and bio-medical fields, aerospace, energy, and robotics.

Douglas Sicker

Lord Endowed Chair of Engineering and Public Policy, 2015

Sicker, professor and head of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, is an international leader in telecommunications technology and policy with broad experience across academia, government, and industry. At the highest levels, his research interests include dynamic spectrum access, security and privacy, broadband networking, and network policy. His prolific research has produced over 180 peer-reviewed publications.

Jeanne VanBriesen

Duquesne Light Company Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2014

VanBriesen, the Director of the Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems, is an expert in water quality engineering. She focuses on biotechnology and monitors approaches for drinking water distribution systems and the formation of disinfection byproducts in drinking water treatment. Her recent research assesses the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing and unconventional gas processes. Her work on the treatment and discharge of drilling wastewater was instrumental in developing Pennsylvania state policy.