The Duke UCEM has recruited faculty champions from each of the nine UCEM-affiliated academic departments. They work closely with Graduate School staff and co-PIs of the UCEM to help integrate the Sloan Scholars into the research community.


franzKatherine J. Franz, Ph.D.
Chair and Alexander Hehmeyer Professor of Chemistry

Katherine Franz will guide the committee in its mentoring efforts and program development. She has mentored more than 50 (combined) Ph.D., masters, and undergrad students and has served as a co-director of an NSF REU program; faculty affiliate for Duke’s BioCoRE program; advisory committee member for a Duke Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) grant; and activity leader for Duke’s Females Excelling More in Math and Science (FEMMES) program. Dr. Franz’s research focuses on elucidating the structural and functional consequences of metal ion coordination in biological systems.

hongJiyong Hong, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry

Jiyong Hong received a B.S. and M.S. from Seoul National University (South Korea), and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Scripps Research Institute where he later held a postdoctoral research associate position. While at Duke, Prof. Hong was the Director of Graduate Studies of the chemistry department (2013-2017) and has been the Co-director of GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need, US Department of Education) Fellowship Program since 2015. He is also a Member of Duke Cancer Institute and Duke Pharmacological Sciences Training Program funded by NIH, and was a Member of Duke NSF REU: Chemistry and Applications of Smart Molecules and Materials (CASMM). He has a long track record of mentoring female and African-American graduate students (8 and 2 out of 14 since 2005, respectively), and of actively including undergraduate researchers in his research program. He is also faculty in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke. Prof. Hong’s research interest includes synthesis and study of mechanisms of action of natural products, identification of small molecule modulators for biological processes, and development of synthetic methods for rapid construction of molecular complexity.

Computer Science


Ashwin Machanavajjhala, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Ashwin Machanavajjhala is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and an Associate Director at the Information Initiative at Duke (iiD). Previously, he was a Senior Research Scientist in the Knowledge Management group at Yahoo! Research. His primary research interests lie in algorithms for ensuring privacy in statistical databases and augmented reality applications. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early CAREER award in 2013 and the 2008 Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Management of Data (ACM SIGMOD) Jim Gray Dissertation Award Honorable Mention. Dr. Machanavajjhala graduated with a Ph.D. from the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University and a B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

MaggsBruce Maggs, Ph.D.
Pelham Wilder Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

In addition to his departmental appointments, Bruce Maggs is also a Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative. He received S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985, 1986, and 1989, respectively. His advisor was Charles Leiserson. After spending one year as a postdoctoral associate at MIT, he worked as a research scientist at NEC Research Institute in Princeton from 1990 to 1993. In 1994, he moved to Carnegie Mellon, where he stayed until joining Duke University in 2009 as a Professor in the Department of Computer Science. While on a two-year leave-of-absence from Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Maggs helped to launch Akamai Technologies, serving as its Vice President for Research and Development, before returning to Carnegie Mellon. He retains a part-time role at Akamai as Vice President for Research. Dr. Maggs’s research focuses on computer networks, distributed systems, and computer security. From December 2003 to February 2006, he served as a Member of the Board of the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, an organization that provides support to mentoring programs. Dr. Maggs also served as a Big Brother to a minority child in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh program from January 1997 to June 2005, and was named Big Brother of the Year for Greater Pittsburgh in 2004.

RudinCynthia Rudin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering

In addition to her primary appointments, Cynthia Rudin has secondary appointments in the statistics and mathematics departments and directs the Prediction Analysis Lab. Her interests are in machine learning, data mining, applied statistics, and knowledge discovery (Big Data), and in particular, machine learning models that are interpretable to human experts. Her application areas are in energy grid reliability, healthcare, and computational criminology. Previously, Dr. Rudin held positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, and New York University. She holds an undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She received a Ph.D. in applied and computational mathematics from Princeton University. She is the recipient of the 2013 and 2016 INFORMS Innovative Applications in Analytics Awards, an NSF CAREER award, was named as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by Poets and Quants in 2015, was named by as one of the 12 most impressive professors at MIT in 2015, and won an Adobe Digital Marketing Research Award in 2016. Her work has been featured in Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Times of London, Fox News (Fox & Friends), the Toronto Star, WIRED Science, U.S. News and World Report, Slashdot, CIO magazine, Boston Public Radio, and on the cover of IEEE Computer. She serves on committees for DARPA, the American Statistical Association, INFORMS, the National Institute of Justice, and the National Academy of Sciences. She is past-chair of the INFORMS Data Mining Section, and is chair-elect of the Statistical Learning and Data Science section of the American Statistical Association.


ReedMichael Reed, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics

Michael Reed is engaged in a large number of research projects that involve the application of mathematics to questions in physiology and medicine. He also works on questions in analysis that are stimulated by biological questions. For recent work on cell metabolism and public health, see Dr. Reed has trained 22 Ph.D. students, 11 of whom have been women. They include Danielle Carr Ramdath, an African-American woman who is now Associate Dean of the Faculty at Smith College, and Freda Porter-Locklear, one of the few Native American women to receive the Ph.D. in Mathematics. Since 1999, Dr. Reed has mentored 11 postdocs. In this group, seven are female, two are African-American, and one is of Hispanic descent. For the past seven years, Dr. Reed has been the PI of an NSF Research Training Grant in Mathematical biology. This spring, the grant funded a 10 day workshop for 26 students from small colleges. Of the 26 students, 21 were women and nine were African-American. In 2016, Dr. Reed received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in mentoring.

RoblesColleen Robles, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mathematics

Colleen Robles received her Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in 2003 under the supervision of David Bao (University of Houston) and Richard Froese. Following a postdoctoral position at the University of Rochester, she joined Texas A&M University. Dr. Robles has held visiting positions at the University of Utah and the Institute for Advanced Study. She is a differential geometer. Her research interests have included Finsler geometry (which is a generalization of Riemannian geometry), calibrated geometry (the study of special classes of minimal submanifolds), and various rigidity questions for both rational homogeneous varieties and Schubert varieties. Her recent work addresses questions in complex geometry and representation theory that are motivated by Hodge theory.


SpringerRoxanne P. Springer, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics

Roxanne Springer has organized multiple recruitment efforts, including Duke campus visits by undergraduates from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spellman College, and recruiting at the National Society of Black Physicists. She has also served as a Dean’s Graduate Fellowship reviewer; faculty sponsor of the Bouchet Society (supporting URM graduate students); and mentor to an African American physics graduate student. She has served as chair of the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society (APS) and on the Executive Committee of the Division of Nuclear Physics of the APS. Dr. Springer obtained her undergraduate degree in Physics and Chemical Physics from Rice University, and her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in Theoretical Particle Physics. She works on weak interactions (the force responsible for nuclear beta decay) and quantum chromodynamics (the force that binds quarks into hadrons and generates the mass of protons and neutrons).

WarrenWarren Warren, Ph.D.
Ames B. Duke Professor of Physics, Chemistry, Radiology, and Biomedical Engineering
Chair, Physics Department
(919) 660-1604

Warren Warren’s research interests and 300 papers reflect advances in very fundamental physics or technology, generally using magnetic resonance or nonlinear optics, with applications in extremely complex systems such as clinical imaging and art conservation. He has received awards from the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), the Optical Society of America, the American Physical Society, and the American Chemical Society. Dr. Warren is the author of an award-winning textbook, The Physical Basis of Chemistry. He has mentored 30 coworkers who have obtained faculty positions, including two of Hispanic descent, in the last six years.

Statistical Science

MukherjeeSayan Mukherjee, Ph.D.
Professor of Statistical Science

Sayan Mukherjee’s research topics include statistical and computational methodology in genetics, cancer biology, metagenomics, and morphometrics; Bayesian methodology for high-dimensional and complex data; machine learning algorithms for the analysis of massive biological data; integration of statistical inference with differential geometry and algebraic topology; stochastic topology; discrete Hodge theory; and inference in dynamical systems.

Dr. Mukherjee is also a dedicated mentor at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels. He was the coordinator of the Masters in Statistical Science and developed outreach efforts to underrepresented minority students. He has also been involved in classes at North Carolina Central University, a historically black institution, and recruiting students from NC Central for summer research opportunities at Duke.

ReiterJerry Reiter, Ph.D.
Professor of Statistical Science

Jerry Reiter graduated from Duke with a B.S. in mathematics in 1992. After working for two years as an actuary, he earned his Ph.D. in statistics from Harvard University in 1999. He landed back at Duke in the Department of Statistical Science in fall 2002. Between 2010 and 2015, he was the Mrs. Alexander Hehmeyer Professor of Statistical Science, having been appointed as a Bass Chair in recognition of “excellence in undergraduate teaching and research.” He was the recipient of the Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2007. This annual award is given by Duke undergraduates to a member of the Duke faculty. He was also the recipient of the Outstanding Postdoc Mentor award for 2016. Dr. Reiter has supervised 12 Ph.D. dissertations and four Master’s theses in statistical science. He participates in both applied and methodological research in statistical science and is most interested in applications involving social science and public policy. His methodological research focuses mainly on statistical methods for protecting data confidentiality, for handling missing data, and for modeling complex data, including methods for causal inferences.

Biomedical Engineering

reichertWilliam M. Reichert, Ph.D.
Alan L. Kaganov Professor of Biomedical Engineering

William “Monty” Reichert graduated with a B.A. in biology and chemistry from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1975 before seeking a doctorate in macromolecular science and engineering from the University of Michigan. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1982, he was an NIH National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellow, a Whitaker Fellow, and an NIH New Investigator Fellow at the University of Utah in the Department of Bioengineering. He joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Duke University in 1989, and is currently the Theo Pilkington Professor of Biomedical Engineering as well as Director of the Duke-Makerere BME partnership to accelerate the development of biomedical engineering in Uganda.

Dr. Reichert was the first member of the engineering faculty to receive the Clemson Award from the Society for Biomaterials. He has served as an elected Fellow of the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering, the American Council on Education, the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. Dr. Reichert has also received recognition for his student mentoring, especially in the area of diversity, having received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring from The Graduate School and the Catalyst for Change Institutional Award from the Quality Education for Minorities Network. Dr. Reichert has received more than 30 years of uninterrupted NIH support from six different institutes and sustained support from the Medtronic Corporation.

WaxAdam Wax, Ph.D.
Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Adam Wax received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a second B.S. degree in physics from the State University of New York at Albany in 1993, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Duke University in 1996 and 1999, respectively. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the George R. Harrison Spectroscopy Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of Graduate Studies at Duke. His research interests include optical spectroscopy for early cancer detection and novel microscopy and interferometry techniques. Dr. Wax is a fellow of the Optical Society of America, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). He was named Outstanding Postdoc Mentor in 2012.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

AquinoWilkins Aquino, Ph.D.
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Wilkins Aquino obtained a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSCE) from Purdue University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before joining the Duke Faculty, he was an associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. While at Cornell, Dr. Aquino was a Sloan UCEM faculty member and served as co-director (interim) of the Sloan program for one year, during a transition and search for a new director. He further directly advised and graduated two Sloan Ph.D. fellows who are now working as scientists at Sandia National Laboratories and participated regularly in lunches with fellows and in recruiting activities every semester. He was also a member of the fields of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and Applied Mathematics at Cornell. Dr. Aquino has broad interests in computational mechanics, including finite element methods, computational inverse problems, uncertainty quantification, coupled chemo-mechanics, and computational acoustics, among others.

GunschClaudia Gunsch, Ph.D.
Theodore Kennedy Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Claudia Gunsch obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, her M.S. from Clemson University and her B.S. from Purdue University. Currently, she serves as the Director for IBIEM (Integrative Bioinformatics for Investigating and Engineering Microbiomes), a joint graduate training program between Duke and North Carolina A&T State University. She was selected as a Bass Fellow in 2016 and currently serves as a Faculty Mentor for the University Scholars Program as well as a Faculty Participant in the University Program in Ecology and the Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering. Since becoming a faculty member, she has served as the primary mentor for 15 graduate students (two master’s and 13 Ph.D.), 29 undergraduate students, and five high school students as well as three postdoctoral associates.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

JokerstNan M. Jokerst, Ph.D.
A. Jones Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

In addition to her faculty appointments, Nan Jokerst is the Executive Director of the Duke Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility, a Duke shared cleanroom and characterization facility. She received her B.S. in Physics from Creighton University in 1982, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1984 and 1989, respectively. Dr. Jokerst is a Fellow of the IEEE and has served as an elected member of the IEEE LEOS Board of Governors and as the VP for Conferences and as the VP Technical Affairs. She is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and has served as Chair of the OSA Engineering Council. Her awards include an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, an IEEE Third Millennium Medal, the IEEE/HP Harriet B. Rigas Medal, and the Alumni in Academia Award for the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering. She currently serves on the National Academies Board on Global Science and Technology. She has published more than 200 refereed journal and conference publications, and has six patents.

LiHai (Helen) Li, Ph.D.
Clare Boothe Luce Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Hai (Helen) Li received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Tsinghua University, both with early graduation, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University. Before joining Duke in January 2017, she was an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Earlier in her career, she was with Qualcomm, Inc., Intel Corporation, Seagate Technology, and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. Her research interests include brain-inspired computing systems and neuromorphic design, memory design and architecture based on conventional and emerging technologies, and device/circuit/architecture co-design for low power and high performance. She has published a book, book chapters, and more than 170 research papers in journals and refereed conference proceedings. Dr. Li is the associate editor of several journals including IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration Systems, IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, ACM Transactions on Design Automation of Electronic Systems, IEEE Transactions on Multi-Scale Computing Systems, and IET Cyber-Physical Systems. Dr. Li has also served on the technical and organization committees of more than 20 conferences.

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

MannBrian Mann, Ph.D.
Jeffrey N. Vinik Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

In addition to his faculty appointment, Brian Mann is the current Director of Graduate Studies for the Mechanical Engineering and Material Science department. He received his B.S. degree in 1996 from the University of Missouri prior to accepting a position with McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Three years later, he accepted a position in the automotive industry with DaimlerChrysler and earned a M.S. degree at Washington University in St. Louis. Upon deciding to return for his D.Sc. degree, he was awarded the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. He completed his D.Sc. degree at Washington University in 2003 and has held faculty positions at the University of Florida and University of Missouri. Dr. Mann has received several prestigious early career awards, such as the NSF CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, the 2007 SAE Ralph Teetor Educator Award, and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award. His present research interests include innovative applications of nonlinear systems theory, energy harvesting, and investigating the stabilizing/destabilizing influence of time delays in systems.

Santillan Sophia Santillan
Assistant Professor of the Practice, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (Fall 2017)

Sophia Santillan will work with the First Year Design experience for first-year engineering majors. As a STEM teacher and professor, she is interested in the effect of emerging technology and research on student learning and classroom practice. After earning her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Duke, Dr. Santillan taught at the United States Naval Academy as an assistant professor. Recently, she worked at the high school level, where she taught across the four-year math curriculum, including advanced courses. She also designed, proposed, and taught two introductory engineering courses for high school students.

ZauscherStefan Zauscher, Ph.D.
Sternberg Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

In addition to his faculty appointment, Stefan Zauscher is the Director of the Research Triangle Materials Science and Engineering Center (RT-MRSEC). He received his Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000. He is an expert in (bio)surface and interface science, where a large portion of his research is focused on fabrication and characterization of surface-confined biomolecular and polymeric micro- and nanostructures and the necessary methodologies to manipulate these structures at the nanoscale. He has authored more than 150 scientific papers, proceedings, and book chapters. He is the recipient of an NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award, the ICCES Outstanding Young Investigator Award, the 2012 Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research. Dr. Zauscher is a Fellow of the Bass Society at Duke University. In 2016, he received the Dean of the Graduate School Award for Inclusive Excellence in Graduate Education.