Two faculty members in the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University, Luay Nakhleh and Francisco “Paco” Vargas, have been named to endowed chairs, effective July 1.
Reginald DesRoches, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering, and Marie Lynn Miranda, Howard R. Hughes Provost and Professor of Statistics, recommended Nakhleh and Vargas for the endowed chairs, and the nominations were approved by the Board of Trustees at its May 10 meeting.
Presently professor of computer science (CS) and of biosciences, and chair of the CS department, Nakhleh was named the J.S. Abercrombie Professor of Computer Science.
He earned his Ph.D. in CS from the University of Texas in 2004, and joined the Rice faculty that year.
In 2012, Nakhleh was awarded a fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; in 2010, a research fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; in 2009, a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation; and in 2006, a Department of Energy Career Award. In 2015 he received the inaugural Teaching and Research Excellence Award from the School of Engineering.
Vargas has been named the Louis Owen Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He earned his Ph.D. from Rice in chemical engineering in 2009 and joined the Rice faculty in 2013. For three years prior to that, Vargas worked as an assistant professor at the Petroleum Institute, and as a manager of flow assurance in the research and development program at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., both in Abu Dhabi.
In 2015 and 2017, Vargas was judged author of the best applied papers by the South Texas Section of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Since 2017, he has served as the chief technology adviser for Engineered Innovation (ENNOVA) of Stafford, Texas. This year, he co-authored a book, Asphaltene Deposition: Fundamentals, Prediction, Prevention, and Remediation. Vargas serves on the advisory board of the National Science Foundation-sponsored Partnerships for International Research and Education devoted to “Multi-Scale, Multi-Phase Phenomena in Complex Fluids for the Energy Industries.”