Two New Henry Samueli Chairs in Engineering Announced

Professors Kyriacos A. Athanasiou and Efi Foufoula-GeorgiouFeb. 20, 2019 - UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman has appointed Distinguished Professors Kyriacos A. Athanasiou and Efi Foufoula-Georgiou as Henry Samueli Chairs in Engineering.

Established in 2005 by the Regents, with funding from Henry and Susan F. Samueli, the endowed chair positions were created in support of engineering programs and other related disciplines within the Samueli School. Both chairs are the first in their respective departments.

“Both of these professors are leading experts in their fields, conducting innovative research, and are well deserving of this respected new title and financial award,” said Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington.

Athanasiou, Distinguished Professor of biomedical engineering, researches musculoskeletal and cartilaginous tissues and develops clinical instruments and devices. The senior academic has spent his career inventing biomimetic tissue for treating damaged knees, jaws, hips, shoulders and other joints. Along the way, Athanasiou has become an authority on translating engineering innovations into commercially available medical treatments. He is a recipient of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 2018 Savio L-Y. Woo Translational Biomechanics Medal, a past president of the Biomedical Engineering Society  and the current editor-in-chief of the Annals of Biomedical Engineering.

 “Some of our best schools and programs, emerging colleges and great buildings at UCI carry the Samueli name,” said Athanasiou. “Inasmuch as I equate the Samuelis with excellence, it is such an honor for me to be named a recipient of the Henry Samueli Chair. I look forward to even greater accomplishments in translating our engineering advances to medical use.”

Foufoula-Georgiou, Distinguished Professor of civil and environmental engineering, conducts research focusing on hydrology and hydroclimatology. Since joining the Samueli School of Engineering in 2016, Foufoula-Georgiou has released groundbreaking research findings on topics ranging from regional climate and extreme heat events to river delta dynamics. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the European Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“I am truly honored to be selected for this prestigious endowed chair,” said Foufoula-Georgiou. “I want to thank Henry and Susan F. Samueli for recognizing the value of scholarly research and investing in it. The flexibility of discretionary funds will allow me to undertake new and innovative paths in the vital and timely subject of water and climate research. I am confident that the enrichment of scientific inquiry and potential new discoveries that the generous support of the Samueli endowment will enable, will bring honor to the School of Engineering and UCI as a whole.”

These two professors join the school’s existing three Henry Samueli Endowed Chairs in Engineering:  Xiaoqing Pan, William A. Sirignano and H. Kumar Wickramasinghe.

– Lori Brandt




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