Three New Faculty Join WPI Engineering

WPI Engineering prides itself on attracting some of the best faculty candidates available in the profession. This year, eleven outstanding new tenure-track faculty joined WPI Engineering.

WPI Engineering prides itself on attracting some of the best faculty candidates available in the profession.  This year, eleven outstanding new tenure-track faculty joined WPI Engineering.  Of the eleven faculty, three came on board this past January; Çağdaş Önal, Mechanical Engineering, Dirk Albrecht, Biomedical Engineering, and Michael Timko, Chemical Engineering. Each of them hold degrees from top institutions and have significant professional experience.  Their broad backgrounds in their respective fields have invigorated the high-impact research and teaching activities at WPI.

Dr. Çağdaş Önal, Assistant Professor, joined WPI after a three-year appointment as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, where he worked on design and fabrication of flexible robotic systems, their control and algorithms, as well as relevant energy sources. He holds two patents based on his findings. His research interests include soft robotics, printable robotics, control theory, and micro/nano-science and technology. He is the co-author of Atomic Force Microscopy based Nanorobotics (Springer, 2012), a textbook based on his dissertation research.  Dr. Önal holds a BSc and MSc in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Dirk Albrecht, Assistant Professor, focuses his research in the area of microtechnology and neuroscience, with an emphasis on developing quantitative tools to study how neural signals govern behavior. His lab aims to study the molecular and genetic basis of neural circuit function and dynamics, to develop bioinformatic tools to analyze high-content neural data, and to design rapid cellular and whole-organism screens for therapeutic drugs and genetic modulators affecting neural disease.   His thesis work developed an electrokinetic method for 3D micropatterning living cells within hydrogels to study cell-cell interactions in liver and cartilage tissues. After obtaining his Ph.D., Dr. Albrecht was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Cori Bargmann in the Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at The Rockefeller University. Dr. Albrecht currently holds a Burroughs Wellcome Career Award at the Scientific Interface, and received a Whitaker Foundation Fellowship and Research Awards from the Biomedical Engineering Society and the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC-San Diego.  Dr. Albrecht holds a B.S. in Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, a B.S. in Biochemistry & Cell Biology, University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Michael Timko, Assistant Professor, research is focused on the use of high-temperature water for conversion of bio-renewables to fuels and chemicals. For his Ph.D., Dr. Timko studied the use of biphasic systems containing water and a liquid carbon dioxide for green chemistry applications.  After completing his Ph.D. studies, Dr. Timko joined Nobel Laureate Dudley Herschbach’s chemical physics group at Harvard University.  Following post-doctoral research, he has worked a small technology development company, Aerodyne Research Inc., first as a Senior Chemical Engineer and then as a Principal Chemical Engineer.   At Aerodyne, Dr. Timko led projects on biofuels, fuel upgrading, instrument development, and combustion emissions characterization.  In addition to his work at Aerodyne, he was a Research Engineer at MIT for the past 2 years, where he was the Executive Director of the Fuels Desulfurization Laboratory.  The objective of this work has been to use heated, pressurized water for crude oil upgrading and heteroatom removal.  His work has resulted in over 20 publications, in journals ranging from fundamental (Journal of the American Chemical Society) to applied (Journal of Gas Turbines and Power), and on topics ranging from fluid dynamics to aerosol characterization.  Dr. Timko holds a Ph.D., M.S. in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Ohio State University.

March 18, 2013

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