The School of Engineering welcomes new faculty in bioengineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering, civil and environmental engineering and computer science. This brings the total of tenured and tenure-track faculty to 112.
John T. McDevitt joins the Rice faculty as the Brown-Wiess Professor of Bioengineering and Chemistry, coming from the University of Texas at Austin. There, he led a large research group that published more than 160 peer-reviewed papers and secured 100-plus patents/patent applications, one of largest patent portfolios in UT history.
McDevitt focuses on the development of micro-medical devices fabricated with the same methods used to make integrated circuits. They show the potential to reduce health care costs while improving treatments for cancer, stroke, heart and neurological disease patients. His group’s nano-biochip work earned the Science Coalition’s Best Scientific Advances award and Popular Science’s “Best of What's New Award” last year. He is a founder of Labnow, which targets release of HIV immune tests in poor nations.
McDevitt is from the Silicon Valley area. He earned a chemistry doctorate from Stanford in 1987 and received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo in 1982. He did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
James McLurkin joins Rice as an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science from a role as a research associate at the University of Washington in Seattle.
His research interest is in developing distributed algorithms for multi-robot systems, with a focus on both algorithm and systems design. During five years as a lead research scientist at iRobot, he developed software for large swarms of autonomous robots called SwarmBots. The idea was inspired by nature and the behavior of bees and ants in performing individual tasks to collectively contribute to group goals.
McLurkin has addressed audiences at companies and universities, including the Smithsonian Museum, Harvard University, Infosys, IBM, and Honda. In 2003, he was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the nation’s five leading robotics engineers. That year Black Enterprise magazine also ranked him as among the “Best and Brightest” under 40 years of age.
A New York native, he received an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering with a minor in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1995. He earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999 and received a master’s degree in 2003 and doctorate last year in computer science from MIT.
Deepak Nagrath joins Rice as an assistant professor in the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering after serving as a research associate in the Department of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Nagrath’s research interests lie in the application of systems-biology approaches to human diseases. He uses transcriptional and metabolic design principles to analyze healthy and diseased biological states. His research focuses on various diseases such as metabolic syndrome, cancer, and diabetes, and potential treatments using metabolic supplementation and embryonic stem cells. Nagrath uses engineering principles such as multi-objective optimality and non-equilibrium thermodynamics for analyzing complex disease states.
Nagrath, who is from India, earned a doctorate in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in applied mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York in 2003. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorke, India.
Amina Ann Qutub comes to Rice as an assistant professor of bioengineering from the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Her research interests are computational modeling of molecular and cellular response to hypoxia, cerebrovascular systems biology, engineering of specialized blood vessels, design and computational testing of microvascular therapies, and the integration of multiscale models.
Qutub, who is from Hoffman Estates, Illinois, spent a year as vice president for administration and director of corporate partnerships for the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children in Washington D.C. She also founded a company, B3io, Inc. in Berkeley, to provide tissue and membrane simulation tools for the pharmaceutical industry.
A Rice graduate, she received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1999. She earned a doctorate in bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco in 2004.
Ilinca Stanciulescu joins Rice as an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering after serving in a similar post at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Campaign.
Her research interests are in computational mechanics (non-linear finite elements), constitutive modelling of materials, structural analysis, and non-linear dynamics. She co-authored a textbook, “Post-Elastic Analysis of Structures.”
Stanciulescu, who is from Bucharest, Romania, previously served as a junior lecturer in the Department of Strength of Materials of the Technical University of Civil Engineering (TUCE.) in Bucharest. She also worked as a structural design engineer for two different companies.
She earned both bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1995 and a master’s degree in science in 1996 from the TUCE. She received a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Bucharest University in 2000 and earned her doctorate in civil engineering at Duke University in 2005. She was also a post-doctoral research associate at Duke.
Rafael Verduzco joins Rice as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in a chair endowed by the Louis and Peaches Owen Foundation.
Most recently, Verduzco was a postdoctoral scholar in the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where he studied bent-core liquid crystals, water-soluble dendrimers for drug delivery, and conjugated polymeric materials for organic electronics. This work relies heavily on polymer synthesis, neutron and x-ray scattering, and surface characterization tools.
Verduzco is from Sugar Land and attended Rice, receiving a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 2001. He earned a master’s degree in 2003 and doctorate in chemical engineering in 2007 from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
– Engineering News
August 23, 2009