UCI Engineering Faculty Ranks Grow with Five New Members

Oct.3, 2022 – The UC Irvine Samueli School of Engineering is welcoming five new faculty members in 2022-23. The newly hired members are:

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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringRyan Hayes

Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Ryan Hayes

Research Interests: computational protein engineering, therapeutics, biocatalysis, drug design, molecular simulation

Education: Ph.D., Rice University

Hayes, who most recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan, has a multidisciplinary background in engineering, chemistry and physics. His research focuses on improving the accuracy of computational protein design to enable more efficient use of experimental resources. He has published 24 peer-reviewed articles, delivered 16 conference talks, and won several awards, including the Protein Society Hans Neurath Outstanding Promise Travel Award, a Center for Theoretical Biological Physics Junior Research Fellowship and a Molecular Biophysics Training Grant.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil and Environmental EngineeringShakira Hobbs

Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Shakira Hobbs

Research Interests: bioplastics and food waste disposal, sustainable energy, water pollution, food-energy-water nexus, international development

Education: Ph.D., Clemson University

Hobbs comes to UCI from the University of Kentucky, where she has taught civil engineering since 2019. Her research involves developing waste management techniques for bioplastics and food waste, modeling glyphosate transport in water systems, converting waste to energy and investigating early adoption of sustainable technologies. Dedicated to disseminating engineering and environmental sustainability concepts to the public, she embarks on humanitarian engineering trips with her students and founded BioGals, a nonprofit organization that empowers women of color to engineer dynamic solutions for sustainable development. Her research efforts have been funded by NSF and NIH and most recently she won an NSF ADVANCE grant to advance underrepresented women in engineering doing community-engaged research. Hobbs is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Association of Environmental & Science Professors and the National Society of Black Engineers.

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceHyoukjun Kwon (January 2023)

Assistant Professor
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Hyoukjun Kwon

Research Interests: computer architecture, machine learning, hardware accelerator for deep learning, compiler for accelerators, mapping and dataflow optimization on accelerators, cross-stack optimization of AI systems, network-on-chips

Education: Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology

Kwon, a research scientist at Meta’s (formerly Facebook) Reality Labs, works on deep learning accelerators with flexible dataflow and mappings based on data- and communication-centric approaches. Kwon earned his doctorate in computer science and while at Georgia Tech, he developed a flexible deep neural network accelerator called MAERI and an open-source infrastructure for modeling dataflows within deep learning accelerators called MAESTRO. His thesis was recognized with an honorable mention at the 2021 Outstanding Dissertation Award competition of the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture/IEEE Computer Society’s Technical Committee on Computer Architecture. He is co-author of a book on computer architecture and has published 25 peer-reviewed articles.

Materials Science and Engineering

Department of Materials Science and EngineeringElizabeth M.Y. Lee

Assistant Professor, Samueli Faculty Development Chair
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Elizabeth LeeResearch Interests: computational materials science, machine learning in materials modeling, nanoscale dynamics, materials for energy applications, quantum information science

Education: Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Lee’s research centers on materials for energy and quantum technology applications to target both fundamental understanding and novel materials design using computational and theoretical approaches. Before coming to UCI, she was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, where she developed first-principles computational frameworks with neural networks to investigate chemical bonding dynamics and equilibria in quantum materials and metal surfaces. In her graduate work, she studied nanoscale energy transport phenomena in molecular semiconductors to design next-generation photovoltaics and LEDs. She has published 21 peer-reviewed articles, and her awards include the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Department of Energy Leadership Computing Challenge Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Electronics and Photonics Materials Award, and University of Chicago Maria Lastra Excellence in Mentoring Award.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringJulián J. Rimoli

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Julián J. Rimoli
Research Interests: computational solid mechanics, multiscale modeling of solids, aerospace structures

Education: Ph.D., California Institute of Technology

Rimoli joins UCI from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was the Pratt & Whitney Professor of Aerospace Engineering. His research involves the computational mechanics of materials and structures, with special interest in problems of multiple length and time scales, and in the development of theories and computational techniques for seamlessly bridging them. He is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, Donald W. Douglas Prize Fellowship and Ernest E. Sechler Memorial Award in Aeronautics. Rimoli has published 47 peer-reviewed articles and 19 conference proceedings and is co-editor of a 2019 Frontiers Research Topic e-book collection titled “Multiscale Lattices and Composite Materials.” He holds two U.S. patents.

– Rachel Karas