School of Engineering welcomes new faculty

Eleven new faculty members are joining the School of Engineering. Top row (left to right): Katya Arquilla, Sara Beery, Joseph Casamento, Christina Delimitrou, Priya Donti, and Gabriele Farina. Bottom row (left to right): Ericmoore Jossou, Laura Lewis, Kuikui Liu, Lonnie Petersen, and Sherrie Wang. Photos courtesy of the School of Engineering.

The School of Engineering is welcoming 11 new members of its faculty across six of its academic departments and institutes. This new cohort of faculty members, who have either recently started their roles at MIT or will start their new roles within the next year, conduct research across a diverse range of disciplines. Their areas of expertise include semiconducting materials, human health in space, physics-informed deep learning, materials for nuclear energy, and using machine learning to address challenges in agriculture and climate change, to name a few.

“I warmly welcome this group of incredibly talented new faculty to our engineering community at MIT,” says Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “The work each of them is doing holds tremendous potential to drive solutions for many of the challenges our world faces. Their contributions as researchers and educators will have lasting impact on the school community. I look forward to seeing them thrive as they settle into their new roles.”

A number of these new faculty members conduct research at the intersection of computing and other engineering fields. New faculty members Sara Beery, Priya Donti, Ericmoore Jossou, and Sherrie Wang were hired as part of a shared faculty search focused on computing for the health of the planet with the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. Among the new faculty members, eight total have positions with both the School of Engineering and the college: six new faculty from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), which reports to both the school and college; one shared between the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, which reports to the college; and one shared between the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering and EECS. 

Katya Arquilla joined MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) as an assistant professor in June 2022. She serves as the Boeing Career Development Professor in Aeronautics and Astronautics. In her research, she monitors humans to quantify and augment their health and performance in extreme operational environments. She specializes in bioastronautics, psychophysiological monitoring, wearable sensor systems, and human-computer interaction. Previously, she was a postdoc working with Professor Julie Shah in the Interactive Robotics Group in AeroAstro. There, she worked on integrating psychophysiological monitoring — connecting physiological signals to psychological state — into human-robot interactions as a measure of psychological safety and trust. Arquilla earned a BS in astrophysics at Rice University and an MS and PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Before her graduate studies, she taught math and physics to middle and high school students at YES Prep Public Schools, a charter school for students in Houston’s underserved communities.

Sara Beery will join the Department of EECS as an assistant professor in September. She is currently a visiting faculty researcher at Google Research. Beery’s work focuses on building computer vision methods that enable global-scale environmental and biodiversity monitoring across data modalities and tackling real-world challenges, including strong spatiotemporal correlations, imperfect data quality, fine-grained categories, and long-tailed distributions. She collaborates with nongovernmental organizations and government agencies to deploy her methods worldwide and works toward increasing the diversity and accessibility of academic research in artificial intelligence through interdisciplinary capacity-building and education. Beery earned a BS in electrical engineering and mathematics from Seattle University and a PhD in computing and mathematical sciences from Caltech, where she was honored with the Amori Prize for her outstanding dissertation.

Joseph Casamento will join MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) as an assistant professor in January 2024. Casamento is currently a postdoc at Penn State University. He conducts research on nitride semiconducting materials at the Center for 3D Ferroelectric Microelectronics (3DFeM), a U.S. Department of Energy Energy Frontier Research Center. This work has applications in the development of next-generation energy-efficient electronic, photonic, and acoustic devices. Casamento received a BS in materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan, and an MS and PhD in material science and engineering at Cornell University.

Christina Delimitrou joined the Department of EECS as an assistant professor in September 2022 and was promoted to associate professor without tenure in January. Previously, she served as an assistant professor at Cornell University. Her main interests are in computer architecture and computer systems. Specifically, she is one of the first researchers to apply machine learning techniques to cloud systems problems, such as resource management and scheduling. She is also working on data-center server design, hardware acceleration, and distributed system debugging. Delimitrou was named an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and honored with two Google Faculty Research Awards, a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, an IEEE TCCA Young Computer Architect Award, an Intel Rising Star Award, and a Facebook Faculty Research Award. She earned a BS in electrical and computer engineering from the National Technical University of Athens and an MS and PhD in electrical engineering, both from Stanford University.

Priya Donti will join the Department of EECS as an assistant professor in September. Currently a part of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute’s Runway Startup Postdoc Program, she is working to build Climate Change AI, a global nonprofit that she co-founded in 2019. Her work focuses on physics-informed deep learning for forecasting, optimization, and control in high-renewables power grids. Donti earned a BS in computer science and mathematics from Harvey Mudd College and a PhD in computer science and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University. She was honored with the MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 Award and the ACM SIGEnergy Doctoral Dissertation Award. She was also honored as a U.S. Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellow, Siebel Scholar, NSF Graduate Research Fellow, and Thomas J. Watson Fellow.

Gabriele Farina will join the Department of EECS as an assistant professor in September. Farina currently serves as a research scientist at Meta in the Facebook AI Research group. Farina’s work lies at the intersection of artificial intelligence, computer science, operations research, and economics. Specifically, he focuses on learning and optimization methods for sequential decisio­­­n-making and convex-concave saddle point problems, with applications to equilibrium finding in games. Farina also studies computational game theory and recently served as co-author on a Science study about combining language models with strategic reasoning. He is a recipient of a NeurIPS Best Paper Award and was a Facebook Fellow in economics and computer science. Farina earned a BS in automation and control engineering from Politecnico di Milano and is currently finishing up his PhD studies in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.

Ericmoore Jossou will join MIT as an assistant professor in a shared position between the departments of Nuclear Science and Engineering and EECS in July. He is currently an assistant scientist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy-affiliated lab which conducts research in nuclear and high-energy physics, energy science and technology, environmental and bioscience, nanoscience, and national security. His research at MIT will focus on understanding the processing-structure-properties correlation of materials for nuclear energy applications through advanced experiments, multiscale simulations, and data science. Jossou earned a BS in chemistry from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and a master’s degree in materials science and engineering at the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja. He obtained his PhD in mechanical engineering with a specialization in materials science from the University of Saskatchewan. Jossou received the Petroleum Technology Development Fund scholarship in 2008, the African Development Bank scholarship in 2012, and the International Dean’s scholarship for doctoral studies at the University of Saskatchewan in 2015.

Laura Lewis PhD ’14 joined the Department of EECS and the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) as associate professor without tenure in February. She has been appointed as the Athinoula A. Martinos Associate Professor of IMES and EECS. Lewis is a principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT, as well as an associate faculty member at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital. Previously, she served as assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University. As a neuroscientist and engineer, Lewis focuses on neuroimaging approaches that better map brain function, with a particular focus on sleep. She is developing computational and signal processing approaches for neuroimaging data and applying these tools to study how neural computation is dynamically modulated across sleep, wake, attentional, and affective states. Lewis earned her BSc at McGill University and her PhD in neuroscience at MIT. She has been honored with the Society for Neuroscience Peter and Patricia Gruber International Research Award, the One Mind Rising Star Award, the 1907 Trailblazer Award, the Sloan Fellowship, the Searle Scholar Award, the McKnight Scholar Award, and the Pew Biomedical Scholar Award.

Kuikui Liu will join the Department of EECS as an assistant professor in September. He is currently a Foundations of Data Science Institute postdoc at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). His research interests are in the design and analysis of Markov chains, with applications to statistical physics, high-dimensional geometry, and statistics. To study these complex stochastic dynamics, he develops and uses mathematical tools from fields such as high-dimensional expanders, geometry of polynomials, algebraic combinatorics, statistical physics, and more. He earned a BS in mathematics and computer science, an MS in computer science, and a PhD in computer science, all from the University of Washington. He was the co-recipient of a best paper award at STOC 2019 and the William Chan Memorial Dissertation Award.

Lonnie Petersen joined MIT’s Department of AeroAstro as an assistant professor in September 2022. She serves as the Charles Stark Draper Career Development Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Petersen also joined the core faculty of IMES. Previously, she served as an assistant professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California at San Diego. As both a medical doctor and engineer, Petersen’s work bridges these two worlds. She holds a PhD in gravitational physiology, and her work is focused on fluid and perfusion regulation, specifically focusing on the brain. Applications include space and aviation physiology, including countermeasure development for long-duration spaceflight and exploration class missions. Additionally, she works on the application of knowledge gained in space for life on earth, including translation of technology and human-hardware interaction. Petersen earned a BA in physics, math, and chemistry at Frederiksberg College. She received her MS in space and aviation physiology from the University of Copenhagen. Petersen obtained an MD and PhD in gravitational physiology and space medicine from the University of Copenhagen. She has completed postdoctoral fellowships at Toyo University in Tokyo and UC San Diego School of Medicine. In addition to emergency medicine, Petersen has served in pre-hospital care and remote areas, including Greenland. 

Sherrie Wang will join MIT as an assistant professor in a shared position between the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society in April 2023. She will serve as the Brit (1961) & Alex (1949) d’Arbeloff Career Development Professor in Mechanical Engineering. Her research uses novel data and computational algorithms to monitor our planet and enable sustainable development. Her primary application areas are improving agricultural management and mitigating climate change, especially in low- or middle-income regions of the world. She frequently works with satellite imagery, crowdsourced data, and other spatial data. Due to the scarcity of ground truth data in many applications and noisiness of real-world data in general, her methodological work focuses on developing machine learning tools that work well within these constraints. Prior to MIT, Wang was a Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, hosted by the Global Policy Lab. She earned a BA in biomedical engineering from Harvard University and an MS and PhD in computational and mathematical engineering from Stanford.

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