University of Massachusetts Amherst

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College of Engineering Welcomes Five New Faculty Members

The College of Engineering welcomes five new faculty members for the fall semester of 2013: Boris Lau and Gouping (Gregg) Zhang, who will join the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department; Christos Dimitrakopoulos, joining the Chemical Engineering Department; Zlatan Aksamija, who will be a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; and Stephen Nonnenmann, in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. The college is very fortunate to employ these new faculty members with such diverse backgrounds, outstanding academic performance, and cutting-edge research experience.

Dr. Lau comes to UMass Amherst after serving as an assistant professor at Baylor University since 2009. His research involves fate and transport of metal-based nanoparticles in natural and engineered aquatic systems. Before going to Baylor, he served as a postdoctoral research fellow at Duke University from 2007 to 2008, and at Northwestern University from 2005 to 2007. Among other honors, he received a Madame Curie Fellowship from the European Commission in 2011, a Big 12 Faculty Fellowship from Baylor in 2009, and a National Water Research Institute Fellowship in 2004. Lau earned his Doctorate (2005) and M.S. (2002) in Environmental Engineering from the University of Wisconsin Madison, and his B.S. in Environmental Science and Biology from McGill University in 2000.

Dr. Zhang has been an associate professor at Louisiana State University since 2011, where he also served as an assistant professor from 2005 to 2011. Among other research interests, he studies the nano and micro mechanics of low-dimensional geomaterials for energy and marine ecosystem sustainability, and he researches bio-inspired/bioengineered soil stabilization for coastal and wetland sustainability. Among many rewards and honors, Zhang was a Special Visiting Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2012. He received the Overseas Collaborative Research Award from NSFC in 2012 and a Chevron Innovative Research Support Award (2011) and a Research Achievement Award from LSU (2010). He earned his Ph.D. in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering from MIT in 2002, and his M.S. (Geotechnical Engineering 1994), and B.S. (Hydraulic Engineering and Mechanical Engineering 1991) from Tsinghua University in China.

Dr. Dimitrakopoulos has spent the past 17 years as a research staff member at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. Most recently he was the leader of the Open Demonstration Facility of Advanced Nanoelectronics Manufacturing for Defense project doing DARPA-funded graphene research. He has spent the last six years working on large area, wafer-scale graphene growth, characterization, and optoelectronics. He spent 1993 to 2003 working on hybrid semiconductors and organic electronic devices and circuits. For another four years he was involved in the area of mircoelectronic chip interconnects. Dimitrakopoulos earned his Ph.D. (1993) and his Master’s (1993) in Materials Science at Columbia University and his B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from the National Technical University of Greece in 1986.

Dr. Aksamija reaches UMass after serving two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Wisconsin Madison, an NSF Transformative Computational Science Using Cyberinfrastructure Postdoctoral Fellowship from 2011 until the present, and a Computing Innovation Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Computing Research Association from 2009 to 2011. His research interests are in computational nanoscience and energy efficient semiconductor nanostructures. Among his honors are a 2008 Gregory Stillman Graduate Research Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, a First Place Outstanding Paper Award at the 2007 IEEE Electro/Information Conference, a 2005 Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship, and a Micron Technology Foundation Graduate Fellowship in 2001. He earned all his degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, a Ph.D. (2009) and M.S. (2005) in Electrical Engineering, as well as a B.S. (2003) in Computer Engineering.

Dr. Nonnenmann arrives from the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been working as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Nano Bio Interface Center since 2010. His research there involved designing a custom, variable environment chamber for in-situ measurements of cross-sectional systems and conducting in-situ scanning surface potential measurements of various energy related material systems within the operating regime. He was also a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University in 2010. Among selected honors, he won a Best Dissertation Award in 2010 and a Best Graduate Research Award in 2009 from Drexel University. He also received an NSF GK-12 Fellowship from 2006 to 2008, and an NSF IGERT Nanotechnology Fellowship from 2004 to 2006. Nonnenmann earned his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Drexel in 2010, his M.S. in the same discipline from the University of Central Florida in 2003, and his B.S. in Glass Science and Engineering from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2001. (July 2013)