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UW ECE welcomes seven new faculty members

August 29, 2022

By Wayne Gillam | UW ECE News

Headshots of seven faculty members and the UW logo

Clockwise from top left: Serena Eley, Akshay Gadre, Mahmood Hameed, Kim Ingraham, Nathan Kutz, June Lukuyu and Sep Makhsous. Photo illustration by Jasmine Yuan / UW ECE

Beginning this summer and extending through winter quarter next year, UW ECE is welcoming seven new faculty members who bring a wealth of expertise in a wide range of technical areas and fields of study. These outstanding new hires are making significant contributions to their respective fields and the development of innovative technology with positive social impact. The breadth and depth of expertise being added to the Department encompasses subjects such as quantum computing, mobile and wireless sensing, analog and digital circuit design, biosystems and wearable robotic devices, applied mathematics and data science, robotics and machine learning, and the development of technology-driven strategies for socio-economic development. This wide range of new faculty knowledge, talent and experience promises to significantly enhance the Department’s research efforts, industry partnerships and the educational environment for UW ECE students.

“These faculty represent some of the best new talent in the world, and we are very pleased that they have chosen to join our Department,” said UW ECE Professor and Chair Eric Klavins. “I am excited about the research they will be conducting and the caliber of instruction they bring. The connections and collaborations they will establish with their peers at the UW and our affiliates are sure to further enhance innovation at UW ECE, fostering research advances and creating new types of experiences and opportunities for our students.”

Serena Eley

Serena Eley headshotSerena Eley will join UW ECE in January 2023 as a tenure-track assistant professor. She is currently an assistant professor of physics at the Colorado School of Mines. Eley earned her bachelor’s degree in physics from Caltech, after which she worked at the International Superconductivity Center in Japan as a research assistant and Henry Luce Scholar. She then went on to earn her doctoral degree in physics from the University of Illinois.

In the Eley Quantum Materials Group, she researches the role of disorder on electronic and magnetic properties of quantum materials and devices. More specifically, she studies the vortex-defect interactions in superconductors, skyrmion-defect interactions in magnetic materials and the effects of material microstructure on energy loss in superconducting circuits. Eley’s research work is applicable to the development of quantum computing systems, which show great promise for facilitating significant breakthroughs in science, medicine and engineering.

In addition to the Luce award, Eley received the John Bardeen award at the University of Illinois for her doctoral dissertation. She has also received numerous other awards and honors such as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Award, a Joseph A. Johnson III Award for Excellence, a Goddard Award for Best Research Contribution (NASA Academy Goddard Space Flight Center) and a Cottrell Scholars Award.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to join UW ECE. I look forward to contributing toward the Department’s educational and research goals,” Eley said. “My research on superconductivity and magnetism will enormously benefit from access to state-of-the-art facilities at the UW, such as the Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems and the UW Molecular Engineering Materials Center.”

Akshay Gadre

Akshay Gadre headshotAkshay Gadre will start at UW ECE in September 2022 as a tenure-track assistant professor. He recently completed his doctoral degree at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a wireless communication and mobile systems researcher at the WiTech Lab.

Gadre’s lab at UW ECE will explore new avenues in wireless, mobile and cyber-physical systems with emphasis on space communication and sensing. His research has focused on low-power Internet of Things (IoT) sensors deployed on earth and in space, enabling better connectivity, sensing capability and scalability. His research has several large-scale, practical applications such as forest fire detection, supply chain sensing and real-time satellite monitoring.

Gadre’s work has been published widely, and his papers have won several notable awards. He was recently awarded the ACM SIGBED-SIGSOFT Frank Anger Memorial Award in 2021 for his cross-disciplinary research across embedded systems and software engineering for IoT devices.

“I am excited to join the faculty of the electrical and computer engineering department at the University of Washington,” Gadre said. “The presence of amazing, experienced researchers with a wide breadth of expertise on campus, as well as availability of industry collaborators in the Seattle area, makes the UW one of the best locations to pursue systems research, especially in wireless and mobile systems.”

Mahmood Hameed

Mahmood Hameed headshotMahmood Hameed is joining UW ECE in September 2022 as an assistant teaching professor. He has extensive research and teaching experience and is currently a lecturer in electrical, computer and systems engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Hameed earned his bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, where he graduated with highest distinction, ranking second in the University. He then went on to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Kansas.

Hameed’s research interests include fiber optics and photonics, systems engineering, algorithm development and optimization, digital signals and systems, signal processing, and wireless and telecommunication systems.

Hameed has received several honors and awards that recognize the high caliber of his work. His awards at the University of Kansas include an Excellence in Teaching Award, a Graduate Ambassador Fellowship, and a Wallace S. Strobel Scholarship.

“I am excited to join the UW ECE family, and I look forward to working with students, staff and faculty,” Hameed said. “It is a privilege to work at one of the world’s most distinguished universities that offers outstanding education and world-class research programs, and it is located on a beautiful campus.”

Kim Ingraham

Kim Ingraham headshotKim Ingraham will be joining UW ECE in January 2023 as a tenure-track assistant professor. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the UW in the mechanical engineering and rehabilitation medicine departments, as well as in the Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences (CREATE). Ingraham earned her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University, where she graduated summa cum laude. After that, she worked as a research engineer in the Center for Bionic Medicine at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for three years (now the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab) before going on to earn her master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Michigan.

Ingraham is interested in designing control systems for assistive robots that support human mobility. Her research has explored using wearable sensors to predict physiological metrics such as metabolic cost. She has also evaluated user preference as an objective for the control of robotic exoskeletons. At the UW, she is studying how young children with disabilities interact with and learn to use powered mobility devices and how this use impacts a child’s movement, language and development.

Ingraham has received several notable awards and honors for her work, including a Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding Ph.D. Research (Honorable Mention) and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

“I am thrilled to join UW ECE and to be staying in Seattle!” Ingraham said. “I chose the UW because of its interdisciplinary and collaborative research community and its commitment to excellence in engineering education. I am looking forward to working closely with many talented ECE faculty in robotics, neural engineering and rehabilitation.”

Nathan Kutz

J. Nathan Kutz headshotNathan Kutz is currently the Robert Bolles and Yasuko Endo Professor of Applied Mathematics at the UW. In July 2022, he joined UW ECE as a tenured professor while continuing to hold his appointment in applied mathematics. Kutz also maintains his position as an adjunct professor in mechanical engineering. Kutz earned his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from the UW and his doctoral degree in applied mathematics from Northwestern University. He has held several prestigious academic and professional positions throughout his career, including being chair of the UW Department of Applied Mathematics from 2007 to 2015.

Kutz’ research interests encompass a wide swath of topics and technical areas related to computing and data science, which are integral to much of engineering today. His interests include data analysis and reduced order models, dynamical systems, physics-informed machine learning, complex systems and partial differential equations, linear and nonlinear wave propagation, perturbation and asymptotic methods, bifurcation theory, scientific computing, data-driven control theory, mode-locked lasers, neuroscience, sensor networks, and fluid dynamics.

Kutz has received numerous awards and prestigious appointments throughout his career, including most recently being elected a 2022 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Fellow. He has also received an NSF CAREER award, a Hughes Research Laboratories Research Award, and an NSF International Research Fellow Award, among many other honors.

“I am thrilled to be joining my colleagues in ECE, where I can partner with faculty, students and postdocs on advancing machine learning and AI efforts in the engineering sciences,” Kutz said. “The quality and breadth of the faculty makes this an ideal department to advance cutting-edge technology, science and algorithms.”

June Lukuyu

June Lukuyu headshotJune Lukuyu will join UW ECE in January 2023 as a tenure-track assistant professor. She received her bachelor’s degree in engineering science from Smith College and went on to earn her master’s degree in renewable energy systems technology from Loughborough University. She is currently completing her doctoral degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she works as a research assistant in the Systems Towards Infrastructure Monitoring and Analytics (STIMA) Lab.

Her research focuses on designing and evaluating technology-driven strategies that enable socio-economic development in underserved regions by stimulating affordable, reliable and climate-aware electricity use. Lukuyu’s work leverages large-scale ground collected and remotely sensed datasets. She employs a wide range of data analytics, computing techniques, energy system modeling and social science methods to build models for integrated energy development, electrification and energy systems planning.

Lukuyu’s honors and awards include a Grace Hopper Celebration Scholarship, a Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship (Finalist), a Link Foundation Energy Fellowship (Honorable Mention), and a Spaulding Smith Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“I am delighted to be joining UW ECE!” Lukuyu said. “I am looking forward to joining a growing community of multidisciplinary researchers at the UW working on practical solutions to global development challenges in underserved communities. I am also excited to be affiliated with the Clean Energy Institute and work with a diverse group of talented faculty and students on advancing community-engaged research locally and globally.”

Sep Makhsous

Sep Makhsous headshotSep Makhsous has a long history at UW ECE as a student, and he joined the Department in June 2022 as an assistant teaching professor. He is also the associate director of the Sensors, Energy, and Automation Laboratory (SEAL) at UW ECE. Makhsous earned his bachelors, master’s and doctoral degrees at UW ECE, as well as an MBA in Technology Management from the UW.

His research interests are biomedical devices, image processing, 3D imaging, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT). His teaching interests span embedded systems, digital systems, controls and robotics. As a teacher, Makhsous aims to engage students by providing them with real-life engineering problems, which can be solved using theoretical and practical strategies.

His awards and honors include a James A. Cottone Award for Excellence in Investigative Research, a CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund Award, and a Jandhyala and Vaidyanathan Endowed Innovation Award in Electrical Engineering.

“I have been part of the UW ECE family as a student and postdoc, and I am incredibly excited to continue being a part of the ECE family, but this time as a faculty member,” Makhsous said. “I am honored to work with such an outstanding and diverse group of faculty and students.”

UW ECE would like to thank the faculty search committee, which was chaired by UW ECE Professor Georg Seelig. The Department appreciates the committee members’ careful reviews, engaged participation and generous welcome toward the candidates.