Meet Pratt's New Faculty for 2016-2018

October 21, 2016

Duke Engineering is an ambitious community where the best and brightest minds are invited to devise creative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. With 14 outstanding tenured/tenure track faculty joining us in 2016-2018, we continue to add depth and breadth to our research focus areas in health, environmental sustainability, and intelligence and connectivity, while enhancing teaching and mentorship for our students. Learn more about the exciting work of our newest faculty members in the profiles below.


Cynthia Rudin: Digging Deep into Energy and Health Data

Associate Professor of Computer Science and Electrical & Computer Engineering (July 1, 2016)

Cynthia Rudin’s research focuses on using machine learning, data mining and applied statistics to discover knowledge—Big Data—to improve human decision-making. Her application areas are in energy grid reliability, healthcare and computational criminology. Director of the Prediction Analysis Lab, Dr. Rudin holds faculty appointments in both Duke’s electrical and computer engineering and computer science departments, with secondary appointments in statistics and mathematics.

Hai "Helen" Li: Modeling the Future of Computing After the Human Brain

Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering (January 1, 2017)

Hai "Helen" Li's research interests include brain-inspired computing systems and neuromorphic design, memory design and architecture based on conventional and emerging technologies, and device/circuit/architecture co-design for low power and high performance.

Yiran Chen: Integrating Tomorrow’s Technology into Today’s Devices

Associate Professor Electrical & Computer Engineering (January 1, 2017)

Yiran Chen will work to integrate emerging software/hardware solutions into commercial applications. With industry experience developing award-winning performance simulation tools for new microchip designs, his recent research has focused on emerging memory technologies, power-saving techniques for mobile devices, and brain-inspired computing systems.

Xin Li: Pushing Integrated Circuits to New Heights and New Frontiers

Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering (January 1, 2017)

Xin Li’s research is centered on using advanced statistical methods and machine learning techniques to create new ways to improve engineering designs in areas such as integrated circuits, medical devices and manufacturing processes. The goal of his work is to improve system performance and robustness, while reducing cost. He has also been collaborating closely with biomedical researchers working on brain-computer interfaces.

Gaurav Arya

Gaurav Arya: Modeling Soft Matter with Hard Calculations

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science (July 1, 2017)

Gaurav Arya's research expertise is in modeling the motion and interactions of atoms and molecules. He seeks to predict macroscopic properties of soft matter (such as rubber, skin cells, DNA, plastics and gels) for applications ranging from solar energy to cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Leila Bridgeman: Controlling Tomorrow's Smart Networks and Machines

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science (January 1, 2018)

Leila Bridgeman’s research builds on George Zames’s foundational work, exploring how the theory of conic sectors can be used to design controllers that guarantee closed-loop input-output stability when more conventional methods fail to apply. Her work has considered applications in robotic, process control, and time-delay systems. With collaborators, Dr. Bridgeman is working on novel applications of model predictive control in networked systems, vehicle control, heating, and ventilation.


Mark Borsuk: Valuing the Invaluable, Predicting the Unpredictable

Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering (September 1, 2016)

Mark Borsuk’s research concerns the development and application of mathematical models for integrating scientific information on natural, technical, and social systems. He is particularly interested in risk assessment and valuation techniques that can inform environmental policy and decision-making. He is also the originator of novel approaches to climate and land-use change assessment that combine risk analysis, game theory, and agent-based modeling.

Watch his New Faculty Lecture, "Clear Decision-Making in an Increasingly Murky World."

Andrew Bragg: Making Sense of Chaos in Environmental Systems

Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering (September 1, 2016)

Andrew Bragg’s research aims to understand turbulent flows through advanced theoretical methods and computational simulations. By combining tools from applied mathematics and statistical physics, he explores complex fluid flows in natural systems, from droplet movement in storm clouds to the dynamics within interstellar nebulae. At Duke, Dr. Bragg will create a fluid dynamics research center. The effort is expected to bring together CEE researchers looking at environmental systems, as well as MEMS faculty working on flutter in turbine engines and BME researchers investigating blood flow.

Johann Guilleminot: Accounting for Variabilities That Matter

Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering (July 1, 2017)

Johann Guilleminot’s research focuses on topics at the interface of uncertainty quantification, computational mechanics and materials science. He develops methods to improve the robustness and predictive capabilities of simulations under various types of uncertainties, with applications in design optimization and biomechanics for instance. Recently, he pioneered the construction of information-theoretic probabilistic models in nonlinear mechanics; these novel representations were shown to faithfully reproduce the patient-to-patient variability observed in living tissues, such as the brain and liver.


Tony Jun Huang: Developing Lab-on-a-Chip Technologies to Improve Health Care

Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science (July 1, 2016)

Tony Huang, a leader in the fields of microfluidics, acoustofluidics and lab-on-a-chip technologies, creates new diagnostic tools and treatments based on methods he developed to use sound waves to precisely detect and manipulate particles such as cells, vesicles, DNAs, RNAs and proteins. For example, his research group has developed sonic tweezers which, by manipulating the strength, direction and amplitude of waves, can move and sort cells in a fluidic chamber without contact. The technology shows promise for improving the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Watch his New Faculty Lecture, "Acoustofluidics - Merging Acoustics and Microfluidics for Biomedical Applications."

Junjie Yao: Listening into the Body through Light

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering (September 1, 2016)

Junjie Yao is a pioneer in the emerging field of photoacoustic tomography (PAT)–one of the fastest-growing biomedical imaging technologies, and the most sensitive modality for imaging rich optical absorption contrast over a wide range of spatial scales at high speed. He is working to develop state-of-the-art PAT technologies with novel and advanced imaging performance, and to translate PAT advances into diagnostic and therapeutic applications, especially in functional brain imaging and early cancer theranostics.

Shyni Varghese

Shyni Varghese: Making Miniature Models of Muscles, Bones and Tumors

Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Orthopaedic Surgery (Summer 2017)

Shyni Varghese is a leader in the field of biomaterials and stem cells. As Duke's first MEDx Investigator, she will demonstrate just how powerful collaboration between doctors and engineers can become. At Duke, she will continue to develop her research in three major areas—musculoskeletal tissue repair, disease biophysics and organ-on-a-chip technology.

Michael Tadross: Targeting Neuropharmacology with Molecular GPS Technologies

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering (July 1, 2017)

Michael Tadross’s research focuses on understanding neural circuits and their dysfunction, while recognizing the difficulties inherent in brain research given the complexity of synaptic and neuromodulatory communication between brain cells. His work at Duke will strive to transform the study of microcircuits by operating at the interface of tool development and deployment—creating novel methods to target molecularly specific drugs to defined cells and synapses.

Roarke Horstmeyer: Innovating the Future of Microscopy

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering (July 1, 2018)

Roarke Horstmeyer is interested in exploring new ways to capture and process biomedical images. He develops microscopes, cameras and computer algorithms for a wide range of applications, from forming 3D reconstructions of organisms to detecting neurons deep within tissue. His work lies at the intersection of optics, biology, signal processing and optimization.

New Faculty Members from 2015-2016

New Faculty Members from 2014-2015