Women Faculty and Leadership in SEAS
Women at GWU Engineering continue to be at the forefront of Education, Discovery, and Innovation
GWU Senior Administration
Vice Provost for Research
Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Fellow of ASME, Honorary Member of ASME
Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
Dr. Pamela Norris is the Vice Provost for Research at George Washington University. Dr. Norris previously served in roles as the Executive Dean, the Executive Associate Dean of Research, and the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science and is the Frederick Tracy Morse Professor Emerita of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She is recognized globally as a leading expert in nanoscale heat transfer, especially interfacial thermal transport with a focus on thermal management across a range of length scales. In 2016 she was honored with the Society of Women Engineers Distinguished Engineering Educator Award. She is also well known for leadership in the field of nanotechnology education, chairing the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) National Nanotechnology Institute’s Committee on Nanotechnology Education from 2003-2010 and organizing the first national Nano-Training Bootcamps, at the leading edge of the field. In 2021 she was elected an honorary member of ASME. She currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Nanoscale and Microscale Thermophysical Engineering, and recently served as the Vice President of Institutional Councils for the American Society for Engineering Education and as Chair of the Engineering Research Council.
Associate Dean for Research
Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
Ph.D, Brown University
Professor Lijie Grace Zhang's Bioengineering Laboratory for Nanomedicine and Tissue Engineering applies a range of interdisciplinary technologies and approaches in 3D/4D bioprinting, nanotechnology, tissue engineering, and drug delivery for various biomedical applications. The main ongoing research projects include: developing advanced 3D/4D bioprinting techniques and designing biologically inspired nanostructured scaffolds for complex cardiovascular, neural and musculoskeletal tissue regenerations; investigation of the influence of nano and chemical environments in directing stem cell differentiations for regenerative medicine; developing sustained drug formulations for long term and controlled drug release at disease or cancer sites; developing a novel 3D tunable tissue model for cancer metastasis study; and 4D printing soft biorobotics for biomedical applications.
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Ph.D., Iowa State University
Professor Rumana Riffat's research interests are in wastewater treatment, specifically anaerobic treatment of wastewater and biosolids, nutrient removal, and wastewater reuse. She and her research group have conducted extensive research on processes to further reduce pathogens, such as dual digestion, temperature phased digestion, and various pretreatment options. Her nutrient removal research has focused on determination of kinetics, and evaluation of various external carbon sources for denitrification. Current research projects include evaluation of high rate and annamox processes for carbon and nitrogen removal; as well as development of a small scale sewage treatment and wastewater reuse system for a developing country.
SEAS Department Chairs
Professor and BME Department Chair
Ph.D, University of Washington
Professor Vesna Zderic’s Therapeutic Ultrasound Laboratory conducts modeling and experimental work in the area of ultrasound therapy. Current projects include the application of ultrasound to enhance drug delivery through different biological barriers, studies of safety of therapeutic ultrasound application, and ultrasound application for functional modification of cells and tissues.
Professor and EMSE Department Chair
Ph.D, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor Zoe Szajnfarber's research group seeks to understand the fundamental dynamics of innovation in the monopsony market that characterizes government space and defense activities, as a basis for decision making. Current projects include mapping the innovation ecosystem at NASA, ESA and the DoD, modeling the interactions between organizational and technical systems architecture over time, and valuing alternative technology investment strategies and their impact on individual preference structures.
Ph.D, The University of Memphis
Professor Emilia Entcheva directs the Cardiac Optogenetics and Optical Imaging Laboratory. Her research group combines biophotonics tools with human stem-cell-derived cardiomyocyte technology and gene editing approaches to aid the advancement of personalized medicine. The lab played a key role in bringing optogenetics to the cardiac field and validating its use experimentally and computationally. The lab combines cell and tissue engineering, genetic engineering, all-optical cardiac electrophysiology, instrumentation and control, machine learning and transcriptomics analysis to help improve the maturity of engineered human heart tissues and their use in high-throughput drug-screening applications. Professor Entcheva is an AIMBE Fellow and her work is supported by the NSF and NIH.
Ph.D, University of Bourgogne
Professor Papa has developed an expertise in engineering novel therapeutic platforms at the interface of chemistry, biology, and medicine. She focuses her work on disease processes, particularly in cancer and vascular diseases, toward the goal of designing targeted translational therapies and new diagnostic methods. Her research is based on understanding system interactions (i.e. cell-cell and cell-particle) and delivery platforms (particle-based targeting strategies as well as cellular therapeutics). Her lab is geared to using this knowledge to identify both therapy-related and disease-related factors that can be used in a synergistic way to maximize the potential of these novel approaches.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Ph.D, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor Leila Farhadi is interested in understanding and modeling land surface and land-atmosphere interaction and exchange processes by utilizing innovative remote sensing, optimization and numerical modeling techniques. In particular, she is interested in the development of calibration-free techniques for estimating water balance, energy balance and carbon cycle parameters and flux components using remotely sensed data.
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A registered professional engineer, Professor Kim Roddis has experience in heavy industrial and general commercial building design, as well as in bridge design. She is a structural engineer with varied teaching and research interests, which include: design, fabrication, and construction processes; structural applications of artificial intelligence and computer-aided design; web-enhanced teaching; fatigue and fracture in bridges; frame stability; and seismic steel connections. She is recognized nationally as an expert in distortion-induced fatigue of steel highway bridges and internationally as an expert on the application of artificial intelligence and advanced computing methods to civil engineering problem solving.
Ph.D, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Yun Shen joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at George Washington University (GWU) on September 1st, 2022. Her research is tackling the challenges on Solutions to Health-Environment Nexus (SHEN). In particular, she is investigating the transmission and control of environmental pathogens, including the transfer, persistence, infectivity/virulence, and inactivation/removal of pathogens in a variety of environments (i.e., wastewater, drinking water, soil, and indoor air). She is also investigating the interactions between pathogens and other emerging contaminants (e.g., microplastics) in the environment. Her research is supported by NSF, EPA, USDA, and NIH. Prior to joining GWU, Dr. Shen was an assistant professor in Chemical and Environmental Engineering at University of California, Riverside from 2020 to 2022.
Dr. rer. nat. (equivalent to Ph.D.) Computer Science, Philipps University Marburg
Yasemin Acar is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at The George Washington University. Her research is broadly in the area of human factors in security and privacy, with a major focus on secure software development. Most recently, her focus has been diversifying security and privacy research, implementing cryptography securely, and researching trust in the open source community.
Ph.D, Northwestern University, 1986
Professor Hyeong-Ah Choi's research lab centers its activities on graph and optimization algorithms in network problems and on analysis and design of algorithms relevant to modern massive data problems. Current projects include the development of low-complexity algorithms to find underutilized wireless channels in cognitive radio networks and the analysis of modern online education content in finding optimal learning paths.
Associate Professor of Practice
Ph.D, University of Virginia, 2010
Dr. Dobolyi joined GWU in the fall of 2021, having previously taught computer science at George Mason University for eight years. Her interests in computer science education focus on how to retain and increase the number of students in such courses, especially under-represented groups, via techniques such as self-pacing, active learning, test-driven development, automated feedback, student-led discussions, and focusing on non-traditional computer science applications. She has also worked in industry as a data scientist at a startup, and as an applied deep learning researcher at the non-profit IQT Labs, specializing in biomedical applications of computer vision and NLP. Her current research interests include automated testing for deep learning models and characterizing uncertainty in research on emerging infectious diseases.
Ph.D, North Carolina State, 1993
Professor Poorvi Vora and her research group conduct research on problems in the general areas of electronic security and privacy. Their recent work has been in the area of statistical election audits, where they were able to significantly decrease the number of sampled ballots needed in a ballot polling election audit, for the same error measures. Earlier work includes research on end-to-end-verifiable (E2E-V) voting systems, which enable voters in an election to audit outcomes without requiring them to rely on the trustworthiness of election technology or individual participants. The group has also worked on cryptanalysis of symmetric-key ciphers, and on game-theoretic models of privacy. Past contributions due to Professor Vora in the general area of imaging include the Vora value as a measure of color filter fidelity.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Ph.D. 2015, University of California, Santa Barbara
Professor Adam’s lab develops novel hardware foundations at the intersection of materials, devices, and circuits to enable new ways of computing. Her research interests are focused on emerging nanoelectronic and nanoelectromechanical devices and their integration in beyond von Neumann systems such as computation-in-memory and neuromorphic platforms. Her group innovates at the design, simulation and nanofabrication level with a vision of system-level experimental demonstrations. Recent work has been investigating two-terminal non-volatile memory devices called memristors that have an electrical behavior similar to that of an artificial synapse and can be used for both data storage and processing.
Ph.D. 1975, University of Waterloo
Professor Mona Zaghloul is the director of GW’s Institute of MEMS and VLSI Technologies. She conducts research in: digital and analog design of VLSI circuits, VLSI systems applications, and the design and implementation of micro/nano-sensors using micro and nano technology. Examples of the devices on which her team works are: chemical gas sensors, biosensors, and RF-MEMS. Her research group works in collaboration with local and national laboratories and with industry. Professor Zaghloul has published over 300 technical papers in the general areas of circuits and systems, microelectronics systems design, VLSI circuits design, and MEMS/NEMS systems, and she has contributed to several books.
Engineering Management and Systems Engineering
Ph.D., Purdue University
Professor Caitlin Grady studies the form and functions of interconnected infrastructure across water, food, and energy systems. Her research seeks to combine network models, socio-technical data, and ethical-epistemic analyses to create a more sustainable and secure environment. Current projects include modeling embedded nitrogen trade and it's influence on water quality, climate change impacts on hydropower and the U.S. electricity grid, ethical implications of research choice in spatial science, and managing critical infrastructure under uncertainty. Her work is currently supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor Erica Gralla studies operations and supply chain management in disaster response and other urgent or uncertain environments. Her research seeks to combine the strengths of human intuition and mathematical models to create better decision-making approaches. Current projects include transportation planning models for aid delivery, innovative ways to collect and analyze data to support emergency response decision-making, strategies to support better decision-making in design and product development, and human intuition for managing uncertainty.
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2004
Dr. Lorena A. Barba is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Professor Barba leads a research group in computational science and fluid dynamics, but often crossing disciplinary borders into applied mathematics and aspects of computer science. With a central interest in computational fluid dynamics, she extends her research program into other areas, driven by the motivation of using computational methods and high-performance computing in new fields. One of these is biomolecular physics, where she is developing computer methods for problems in protein electrostatics. Her team works using GPU accelerators and develops parallel algorithms for large-scale computing.
Ph.D., Stanford University, 2012
Professor Saniya LeBlanc’s research lies at the intersection of materials science, energy conversion, and thermal transport. Her group enables nanomaterials integration by bridging the divide between rapid, inexpensive manufacturing of nanostructures and device integration of nanoengineered components. Her experimental research includes development of scalable nanomanufacturing processes such as spray coating and printing of functional nanomaterials. Projects involve energy harvesting devices that utilize the unique combination of properties offered by nanostructured materials; recent examples include thermoelectric power generators for waste-heat recovery. Combining energy system, cost, and policy analyses, she creates feasibility assessments for the scaling of nanotechnologies for energy applications.
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2010
Professor Megan Leftwich's Biologically Inspired Energy Laboratory investigates natural fluid dynamics phenomena and applies their findings to engineering problems. Curent projects include the wake dynamics of vertical axis wind turbines is standard and complex configurations, the hydrodynamics of pinniped swimming (in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Zoo), and the fluid dynamics of human birth.