Following an especially ambitious recruiting year, the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (CBE) Department is excited to announce that 5 impressive new faculty members will join us for the fall 2013 and spring 2014 academic terms. The leap in faculty hiring is rooted in President Susan Herbst’s 2012 announcement that UConn will hire 290 new tenured/tenure track faculty members – in addition to filling vacancies – across the university by 2016.
All bring substantial academic credentials that will strengthen UConn Engineering programs. The new faculty members are profiled briefly below.
Kelly Burke joins the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department, and has an appointment in the Polymer Program of the Institute of Materials Science. Dr. Burke, who joins UConn under the Eminent Faculty Initiative, earned her PhD at Case Western Reserve University in 2010 and brings expertise in protein modification strategies, tissue engineering, structure-property relationships of liquid crystals, and biocompatible multifunctional polymeric materials. Dr. Burke was a post-doctoral associate at Tufts University (2010-13), where she received an NIH National Research Service Award Fellowship.
Yongku Cho joins the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2010. Dr. Cho’s research centers on protein engineering, optogenetics, neuroimaging and molecular neurobiology. He was most recently a post-doctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where his work involved the molecular engineering of light-activated proteins.
Luyi Sun joins the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department, and has an appointment in the Polymer Program of the Institute of Materials Science. Dr. Sun, who joins UConn under the Eminent Faculty Initiative, received his PhD at the University of Alabama in 2004 and brings expertise in multi-functional nanostructured materials; polymeric materials and new polymer processing development; layered compounds; green science and engineering; hydrates and porous materials for energy storage. He was an assistant professor of chemistry at Texas State University (2009-13) and was a post-doctoral fellow at both Texas A&M and the University of Alabama.
Julia Valla joins the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department with expertise in the design and development of novel catalysts for industrial applications and design of new, emerging technologies and processes for the clean and sustainable energy production. She earned her PhD at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece in 2005. Dr. Valla was previously an assistant research professor in CMBE and the Center for Clean Energy Engineering and, earlier in her career, a Project Leader for Rive Technology Inc.
Kristina Wagstrom joins the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department as the Northeast Utilities Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering Education. She brings expertise in sourcing and modeling atmospheric particulates, air pollutants, health impacts of atmospheric particulate matter deposition, and air quality models. Dr. Wagstrom received her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in 2009. She conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Minnesota (2009-12), and was an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. EPA (2012-13).