School Welcomes New Faculty
Seven new faculty members joined the School of Engineering and commenced their academic duties at the start of the fall ’07 term. The new faculty members, whose brief profiles appear below, bring expertise in areas of strategic importance to the School as it plots its research future, including environmental and transportation engineering, biomaterials and biomedical engineering.
Civil & Environmental Engineering
The Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department welcomed a record four new junior faculty members: Drs. Joseph Bushey, Maria Chrysochoou, Nicholas Lownes and Adam Zofka.
Dr. Joseph Bushey earned his Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (2003) and his M.S. in environmental engineering and science at Stanford University (1996). He brings expertise in water quality engineering, and his research interests include the transport of metals and toxins within natural systems. Before joining UConn, beginning in 2003 he conducted post-doctoral research at Syracuse University involving the effect of landscape on mercury cycling, and the mobility and bioavailability of mercury within forest ecosystems. Earlier in his career, he worked as a research assistant in the Department of Civil Engineering at Stanford University, and as a research chemist/engineer with P.H. Glatfelter Co. of York, PA. Dr. Bushey co-authored five book chapters and published six scholarly journal papers and five conference proceedings.
Dr. Maria Chrysochoou earned her Ph.D. at the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ (2006) and her M.S. at the Technische Universitaet Dresden, Germany (2003), both in environmental engineering. After completing her doctorate, Dr. Chrysochoou held a post-doctoral research position at the Stevens Institute that involved in-depth examination of fly ash, chromite ore processing, and munitions remediation. She was named the graduate assistant of the year (2005) by the Stevens Institute Department of Civil, Ocean and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Chrysochoou has published more than 10 scholarly papers in refereed journals and delivered 13 presentations at professional conferences. Her research interests involve the geoenvironmental and geochemical characterization of soil, waste, industrial by-products and complex media.
Dr. Nicholas E. Lownes earned his Ph.D. in August 2007, and his M.S. degree in 2005 – both at the University of Texas-Austin in transportation engineering. Dr. Lownes was awarded a number of honors throughout his academic career, including four named graduate fellowships. He has published one scholarly journal paper and three refereed conference papers to date. In addition, he held leadership roles in several student chapters of professional societies and honor societies. Dr. Lownes brings expertise in traffic engineering – including highway safety, human factors and cost-benefit analysis – traffic micro-simulation, network analysis and public transportation systems. Dr. Lownes worked as an Installation Water Resources Manager with ESA Environmental following receipt of his B.S., and through four college internships he gained experience in building demolition and reconstruction, human/traffic engineering, and construction inventory control.
Also joining the CEE department with expertise in transportation engineering is Dr. Adam Zofka, who was awarded his Ph.D. by the University of Minnesota (2007) and his M.S. by Gdansk University of Technology, Poland (2001), both in civil engineering. Dr. Zofka’s research interests include pavement engineering – particularly the characterization, testing and modeling of bituminous materials; asphalt mixtures, asphalt binders, and reclaimed asphalt pavements (RAP); pavement performance and non-destructive testing. He has published six scholarly papers in peer reviewed professional journals and conference publications. Dr. Zofka has garnered a number of scholarships and honors, including the Matthew J. Huber Award for Excellence in Transportation Research and Education, presented by the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota in 2006, and the 2001 Gold Medal of the President of Gdansk University of Technology.
Computer Science & Engineering
Dr. Yufeng Wu joined the Computer Science & Engineering Department with expertise in computational biology and bioinformatics. He received his Ph.D. in 2007 from the University of California – Davis and his M.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1998. Dr. Wu is particularly interested in computational problems in population genomics, including association mapping of complex diseases and inference of genealogical networks from population-scale variation data. He employs combinatorial or probabilistic approaches in resolving these complex problems. Dr. Wu has published seven scholarly journal papers and conference presentations, and he received a best student paper award for his presentation concerning models and efficient algorithms for association mapping of complex diseases with ancestral recombination graphs. Before embarking on his doctoral program, Dr. Wu was a software engineer (1998-03) at PrairieComm, Inc. (now part of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.), an Illinois startup company.
Two new faculty members joined the Mechanical Engineering Department: Drs. Shiva Kotha and Wei Sun, both in areas spanning biomaterials.
Dr. Shiva Kotha previously was an assistant professor in the School of Dentistry at the University of Missouri -Kansas City. He obtained his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 2000. Dr. Kotha conducted post-doctoral research in aerospace/mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame, and in orthopaedic surgery at Washington University of St. Louis, MO. His research interests include scale-dependent tissue mechanics, bone adaptation to mechanical loading, devices and materials for improving chronic health problems, non- and minimally- invasive tissue engineering, and development of novel composites for use in prosthetics. Dr. Kotha’s current research focuses on evaluating the molecular profiles underlying bone adaptation to mechanical loading in non-invasive regeneration/shaping of bone, and in the development of novel devices and materials for improving chronic health issues. He has published more than 20 scholarly papers in prestigious scientific journals.
Dr. Wei Sun received his Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2003 and his M.S. in Materials Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China in 1993. Following receipt of his doctoral degree, Dr. Sun was a post-doctoral fellow in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a staff engineer in the Heart Valve Therapy R&D department at Edwards Lifesciences LLC, Irvine, CA. His research focuses on the experimental study and constitutive modeling of cardiovascular biomaterials, and the study of tissue and organ function using computational biomechanics tools. Earlier research has involved new heart valve and annuloplasty prosthesis design, modeling of biomimetic fiber scaffold materials for artery substitutes, and biomechanics of heart valve biomaterials.