USTAR Faculty


Senate Bill 75 provides for annual funding of the Utah Science and Technology Research Initiative (USTAR) to stimulate economic development activities within Utah by encouraging technological research opportunities within the state’s research institutions. USTAR provides annual funding to the University of Utah to recruit world-class researchers to Utah.  As a result of this funding, the University of Utah is focusing on world caliber platforms with virtually unlimited potential.






Alan Dorval II, Ph.D.
Dr. Dorval applies the tools of engineering to study the nervous system and design ways to improve the health and quality of life for persons with disorders of the nervous system. Dorval’s research activities include: engineering novel treatments to alleviate the symptoms of neurological diseases; quantifying information processing in the brain and interpreting informational changes induced by disease and treatment states; and elucidating the relationships between the structural elements of neurons and neural tissue, their physiological dynamics and their behavioral responses. Pursuing these interests, Dorval performs experimental studies, recording from and providing electrical stimulation to neurons or neural tissue while assessing symptom severity in computational models, animal models and human participants with neurological disorders.

Dorval conducts research in the field of neural engineering, oriented toward designing devices that will alleviate the symptoms of neurological diseases and disorders by modulating neural activity. In most cases, intelligent construction of neuromodulatory devices requires a more complete understanding of how neural activity relates to behavior than currently exists. Hence the goals of my specific research projects are often two stage: first, to better understand how neural activity corresponds to behavior and symptoms, and second to engineer interventions that will modify neural activity to improve function.

Hamid GhandehariHamid Ghandehari, Ph.D.
Dr. Hamid Ghandehari, an expert in drug delivery innovation, will join the University of Utah in November, 2007, as a USTAR faculty member of the Colleges of Pharmacy and Engineering. He comes to Utah from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where he is a professor and director of the Center for Nanomedicine and Cellular Delivery, member of Greenebaum Cancer Center, and faculty in the Maryland Bioengineering Program.His research, funded by NIH, NSF, the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program and other agencies, focuses on the design and development of novel, soluble polymers for targeted delivery of bioactive agents to solid tumors. He has pioneered the use of recombinant polymers for gene delivery applications and synthesized water-soluble polymers that target tumor angiogenesis.

Dr. Ghandehari is the executive editor of Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, associate editor of Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, and on editorial boards of several drug delivery journals. He founded one of the first multidisciplinary nanomedicine centers in the U.S. with faculty membership spanning the disciplines of engineering, chemistry, dentistry, pharmacy, and cancer research, providing expertise for the design, development and transla­tion into clinic of nanosystems for therapy and diagnosis.



Julie KorenbergJulie Korenberg, Ph.D., M.D.
Korenberg, a pioneer in molecular genetics of disease, is trying to understand how disruption of genes perturb the architecture of brain circuits – groups of neurons that integrate and relay information from different parts of the brain–a nd how altered brain circuits lead to changes in behavior.One way she is researching brain circuits is by looking at the genetics and behaviors associated with neurological diseases. Among the diseases she is studying is Williams syndrome, whose patients have stereotypical behavioral traits: they are outgoing, talkative, love music, and suffer from anxiety. The syndrome is caused by a small chromosomal deletion encompassing about 25 genes.

For example she would like to isolate the gene(s) and brain circuitry responsible for creating anxiety in Williams syndrome patients, and determine whether the same defects also cause anxiety in the general population. Such discoveries would give her a foothold into finding new ways to treat behavioral disorders. Using these same principles, she is also studying Down syndrome in an effort to understand the genetics and brain circuitry behind mental retardation.

Korenberg comes to Utah from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she is the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatrics and the Geri & Richard Brawerman Chair of Molecular Genetics. She earned her Ph.D. in Medical Genetics from the University of Wisconsin and her M.D. from the University of Miami School of Medicine.


Doug Kondo, M.D.
Dr. Kondo graduated from the University of Virginia, then attended the University of Utah School of Medicine. He completed his adult psychiatry training at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas and his child psychiatry fellowship at Duke University Medical Center. He then served as a research fellow at the Duke Clinical Research Institute before joining the University of Utah faculty in 2007. His research interests include pediatric mood disorders, with an emphasis on development of novel treatments and neuroimaging. Secondary interests include suicide prevention and veterans health issues

Melissa Lopez-Larson, M.D.
Dr. Lopez-Larson joined the University of Utah in the Fall of 2008. Dr. Lopez-Larson is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and received her M.D. from the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. Dr. Lopez-Larson performed her adult and child psychiatry training at Harvard Medical School training sites including Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Hospital and Cambridge Hospital, respectively. Her focus is on brain development in healthy youths and in youths with psychiatric illness with a specific focus on the identification of risk factors for psychiatric illness. Specifically, she will be researching the effects of development on specific brain networks believed to be involved in cognition and mood regulation in healthy children as well as in youths with bipolar disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder utilizing multimodal neuroimaging techniques.

Perry RenshawPerry Renshaw, Ph.D.
Renshaw uses an imaging technique called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). MRS is a form of MRI that can determine the amount of small chemicals in the brain, including neurotransmitters and molecules that store energy—adenosine triphosphate (ATP).Renshaw is investigating how drug addiction and mood disorders alter brain chemistry. “We have found that people with mood disorders or that are addicted to drugs have compromised brain chemistry which can be identified using MRS imaging”, says Renshaw. “I believe that by trying to directly determine what is wrong with brain chemistry, our research group will be better able to identify new solutions that work more efficiently to treat these problems.”

“I am very interested in studying methamphetamine dependence,” Renshaw adds. “I have a great interest in collaborating with the Utah Addiction Center at the University of Utah to develop some clinical imaging projects with a goal of developing treatments.”

Renshaw received an M.D. and Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania and has an MBA from Bentley College. For the last thirteen years Renshaw was on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and for ten years was Director of the Brain Imaging Center at McLean Hospital.

Deborah yurgelun-ToddDeborah Yurgelun-Todd, Ph.D.
The age of onset for many psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, is during late adolescence or young adulthood. What if it were possible to detect changes in the brains of people at risk for psychiatric disorders before they show signs of the disease? Would it be possible to develop early intervention treatments that prevent manifestation of the disease? Yurgelun-Todd is using brain imaging to address these questions.One of the imaging techniques Yurgelun-Todd uses to look at the brain is called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). She correlates brain images with how well a person performs certain tasks, such as memory tests, while they are being scanned. This technique allows her to determine whether a certain region of the brain is working optimally. Individuals with psychiatric disease often show differences in brain function relative to those without disease.

Yurgelun-Todd has a Ph.D. in neuropsychology from Harvard University. For the last eight years she has been an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and for nine years the Director of the internationally recognized Cognitive Neuroimaging laboratory at the Brain Imaging Center of McLean Hospital.


Craig Caldwell, Ph.d.
Professor Caldwell comes from Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia where he was Head of the largest Film School in Australia. The Griffith Film school is known for its interdisciplinary collaboration in Film, Animation and Games with close industry connections. Dr. Caldwell received the first creative Ph.D. in computer graphics and animation from the Advanced Computing Center for Art and Design at Ohio State University in 1989. He earned an MFA is in Painting, Drawing and Photography from University of Florida. His recent industry experience has been as 3D Technology Specialist in Disney Academy for Walt Disney Feature Animation in Burbank, CA (Tarzan, Dinosaur, Atlantis, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, Bolt etc.) and Creative Training at Electronic Arts, the largest games company in the world. His academic background includes Head of the Media Arts department at University of Arizona and Associate Director of the UofA Triestman New Media Center. At Northern Arizona University he was a Professor in the School of Art and Design and Co-Director of the NAU Visualization Lab with the Computer Science Department.


John McLennan, Ph.D.
John McLennan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Utah. He had been a Senior Research Scientist at the Energy & Geoscience Institute and a Research Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Utah, since January 2008. He has a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto, in 1980. He has twenty-nine years of experience in geomechanics with petroleum service and technology companies. He worked nine years for Dowell Schlumberger in their Denver, Tulsa and Houston facilities. Practical applications were developed that allowed for better production assessment and improved recovery. Later, with TerraTek in Salt Lake City, Advantek International, in Houston, and ASRC Energy Services in Anchorage, he worked on projects concerned with coalbed methane recovery, rock mechanical properties determinations, produced water and drill cuttings reinjection, as well as casing design issues related to compaction. Recent work has focused on optimized gas production from shales and unconsolidated formations.In particular, research interests at the University of Utah have included improving methodologies for forecasting natural gas occurrence in low permeability reservoirs, developing improved numerical techniques for optimizing methods for increasing rate and recovery of natural gas, evaluating protocols for chemically altering the mechanical properties of rocks to improve recovery efficiency of natural gas, and developing methods for more efficient geothermal energy extraction in non-hydrothermal environments (where conductive pathways need to be artificially created in the hot reservoir to facilitate convective heat extraction). He is a board member of the Salt Petroleum Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, a member of the Society of Professional Well Log Analysts and the Program Chairperson for the 44th United States Rock Mechanics Symposium to be held in Salt Lake City in June 2010.

Brian McPhersonBrian McPherson, Ph.D.
Dr. McPherson joined the University of Utah as a USTAR Professor from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology where he formed the Southwest Partnership on Carbon Sequestration ($19 million in DOE funding), one of seven regional partnerships funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to evaluate the science and technology of storage of atmospheric carbon in underground geological formations and in surface soil and vegetation.Dr. McPherson will continue as Principal Investigator and Director of the Southwest Partnership here at the University of Utah, working collaboratively with New Mexico Tech. The partnership has just been selected by the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to proceed to a deployment phase ($67M over 10 years), which will involve injection of approximately 1,000,000 tons of CO2 into a geological formation. The purpose of the deploy­ment phase is to assess the efficacy of geological CO2 storage and to evaluate this as an approach for reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Manoranjan (Mano) Misra, Ph.D.
Dr. Manoranjan Misra received his Ph.D in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Utah in 1981 under the guidance of Professor J. Miller. At the Univeristy of Utah, as a graduate student, he was awarded the Garr Cutler Energy Award for his outstanding research work on energy from fossil fuels. Recently, he was awarded the most prestigious 2010 Regents’ Researcher Award by the Nevada System of Higher Education. He also previously received the Outstanding Researcher Award for the University of Nevada, Reno in 1996 and the Foundation Professor Award in 1998. Dr. Misra was awarded the Gunnerman Silver State Award for Excellence in Science and Technology in 2003 as well as the 2009 Faculty Advisor’s Award for Ongoing Commitment to Entrepreneurship and Higher Education. He has published 193 technical papers and advised forty graduate students for their M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.


Orly Alter, Ph.D.
Orly Alter has been a USTAR Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and the Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute at the University of Utah since August 2010. She joined the University of Utah from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and a Fellow of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology from 2004 until 2010. Dr. Alter was awarded an NSF CAREER Award in 2009, and was selected to give the Linear Algebra and its Applications Lecture of the International Linear Algebra Society in 2005. She received an NHGRI Individual Mentored Research Scientist Development Award in 2000. From 1999 to 2003, she was a Sloan Foundation/DOE Postdoctoral Fellow in Computational Molecular Biology in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University.Dr. Alter received her Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Stanford University in 1999. Her thesis work was published as a book, titled “Quantum Measurement of a Single System,” by Wiley in 2001. For this work, she was an American Physical Society Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular, or Optical Physics Award Finalist in 1998. Today Dr. Alter’s thesis work is recognized as crucial to the field of gravitational wave detection.

In her Genomic Signal Processing Lab, Dr. Alter develops generalizations of the matrix and tensor computations that underlie theoretical physics, and uses them to create models that compare and integrate different types of large-scale molecular biological data, such as DNA microarray data, and computationally predict mechanisms that govern the activity of DNA and RNA. She believes that future discovery and control in biology and medicine will come from the mathematical modeling of such large-scale molecular biological data, just as Kepler discovered the laws of planetary motion by using mathematics to describe trends in astronomical data. Her recent experimental results verify her computational prediction of a mechanism of regulation that correlates DNA replication origin activity with mRNA expression, demonstrating for the first time that mathematical modeling of DNA microarray data, in which the mathematical variables and operations represent biological reality, can be used, beyond classification of genes and cellular samples, to correctly predict previously unknown global biological mechanisms. She now extends her recent computational results, modeling data from the Cancer Genome Atlas, to formulate and implement a protocol for the utilization of recent global profiling biotechnologies in the computational prognosis of cancers.

Ultimately, Dr. Alter’s work will bring physicians a step closer to one day being able to predict and control the progression of cancers as readily as NASA engineers plot the trajectories of spacecraft today. Her research is cited in hundreds of publications and patents, is featured in textbooks, and is part of the curriculum of academic courses taught at schools of engineering, natural sciences and medicine.

Tom FletcherTom Fletcher, Ph.D.
Fletcher’s research is focused on creating novel methods at the intersection of statistics, mathematics, and computer science to solve problems in medical image analysis. He is currently collaborating with researchers in Autism and Alzheimer’s disease at the University of Utah on the statistical analysis of combined imaging modalities, including structural MRI, DTI, fMRI and PET in longitudinal studies. A key component of this research is the statistical analysis of non-Euclidean data, such as anatomical shape or tensor data, that is typically derived from medical images.Dr. Fletcher received his B.A. degree in Mathematics at the University of Virginia. He received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating, he joined the University of Utah first as a postdoctoral researcher and then research assistant professor in the School of Computing and Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute.


Tolga TasdizenTolga Tasdizen, Ph.D.
Dr. Tolga Tasdizen has joined the SCI faculty as an Assistant Professor of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and will become the SCI Institute’s second USTAR Faculty member. Prior to being appointed USTAR Faculty, Tolga was a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah. Dr. Tasdizen received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Bogazici University in 1995. He received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering from Brown University in 1997 and 2001, respectively. Dr. Tasdizen’s research interests are in image analysis, computer vision and pattern recognition. His current research focuses on creating state-of-the-art image processing algorithms for biomedical and biological applications such as reconstructing neural circuit diagrams from large numbers of very high resolution microscopy images.


Hanseup (Steve) Kim
Hanseup Kim received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering with Magna Cum Laude from Seoul National University in 1997, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2002 and 2006, respectively. His Ph.D. thesis contributed to scientific investigatin on how to efficiently pump compressible gases in the micro domain and to innovative engineering of developing the first practical gas micropump. Between 2006 and 2009, he remained asa post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for Wrieless Integrated MicroSystems (WIMS) in the University of Michigan working on a micro gas chromatography system, energy harvesting devices, micro hydraulic actuators, and a micro cryogenic cooler. In 2009 he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, where he is a USTAR Assistant Professor.His present research focuses on the development of integrated microsystems for health care research including microfluidics, biosensors, microrobots, and heterogeneous cell interaction. He is a Technical Program Committee in the NanoUtah Conference (2010) and is listed in Marquis Who is Who in Science and Engineering (2011). He has actively served as a technical article reviewer for the IEEE/ASME Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, Sensors and Actuators A and B, Sensors Journa, Langmuir, Lab-on-Chip, and Measurement Science and Technology. He received the Rotary Club Ambassador Scholarship in 1999, the First Prize and the Best Paper Award with three other co-authors from the 38th International Design Automation Conference in 2001, the Best Paper Award with eight other co-authors from the International Conference on Commercialization of Micro and Nano Systems in 2008.

Rajesh Menon, Ph.D.
Prior to joining the University of Utah in August 2009, Prof. Menon was a research engineer and a post-doctoral scientist in the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT. He received the S.M and PhD degrees, both from MIT. From 2005 to 2009, Prof. Menon was the Chief Technology Officer of LumArray, Inc, a company he co-founded with colleagues at MIT.Prof. Menon has pioneered several technologies that will enable far-field optics to manipulate and image matter with nanoscale resolution. His research has spawned numerous publications (some which have had extensive media coverage), patents, and a spin-off company. He has led several projects in nanopatterning and nanoscopy with support from DARPA, the NSF and the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation.


Mark Ji, Ph.D.
Dr. Ji was born and raised in Jiangsu province of China, he then moved to Shanghi and obtained his B.S. in Pharmacy from Second Military Medical University of China. At the same university, he earned his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry under the guidance of Professor Wannian Zhang. His thesis work combines two of his interest: structure-based inhibitor design and chemical synthesis. Then he was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry of the School of Pharmacy, Second Military Medical University of China. After two and a half years teaching in Medicinal Chemistry, he completed his service in the Army and moved to the United States to join Professor Richard B. Silverman’s group at Northwestern University as a postdoctoral fellow between 2002 to 2006.While at Northwestern University he proposed a new concept of minimal pharmacophoric element and developed a new approach for fragment-based inhibitor design, called fragment hopping. By using this new strategy, Dr. Ji discovered the most potent and selective nNOS inhibitor reported to date. Dr. Ji was appointed as a research associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University between 2007 to 2010.

His current independent research interests are largely dedicated to the structure-based design and synthesis of small molecules that can modulate cellular signaling pathways with an emphasis on protein-protein interactions and target specificity.

Marc PorterSaveez Saffarian, Ph.D.
Dr. Saveez Saffarian is currently pursuing the virus budding mechanism as an independent investigator and Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Utah. He received BS and Graduate degrees in Physics from Sharif University in Tehran and Washington University in St. Louis He comes to the U from a postdoctoral position at Harvard University where he was part of a group that researched endocyosis and vesicle formation from the plasma membrane. His research interests stem from a project at Harvard involving the development of new microscopy techniques capable of making sub resolution measurements in an optical microscope on live cells. Using these tools Dr. Saffarian could distinguish between two different kinds of clathrin mediated endocytosis. Many of the toolsets used on clathrin can be transferred and used for understanding the enveloped virus budding.

Matt Wachowiak, Ph.D.
Dr. Wachowiak graduated from Duke University then received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Neuroscience. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University School of Medicine in the department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology. His research uses the olfactory system as a model for understanding the neural basis of sensation during behavior. He uses a combination of optical imaging, eletorphysiology, behavior, and computational analyses to investigate how sensory information is encoded and processed, and how the active components of sensory systems shape neural coding and processing in the awake animal. A goal of this work is to identify principles that could lead to improved prosthetic devices and artificial sensors.


Marc PorterMarc Porter, Ph.D.
Professor Marc Porter has joined the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Utah as a USTAR Professor from Arizona State University where he was the founder and director for the Center for Combinatorial Science at the BioDesign Institute. He is an expert in the development of biosensors for early disease detection.Dr. Porter is an analytical chemist who began his academic career at Iowa State University, where he was professor of Chemistry and Chemical and Biological Engineering. He is co-founder of Nanoparts, a company which manufactures gold nanoparticles, one of the most widely used classes of nanomaterials for chemical, bioanalytical, biomedical, optical and nanotechnological applications. The company has the ability to prepare gold nanoparticles of desired sizes, shapes, and monodispersity in a systematic way, and he is moving Nanoparts to Utah with him. Other companies co-founded by Porter include CombiSep, Inc., which mar­kets an analytical separation device; and Concurrent Analytical, which has developed a new-generation immunoassay system, the Ramanprobes™ System, for detecting and labeling antigens. This system received the prestigious R&D 100 Award in 2003; sponsored by R&D Magazine, the award honors the top 100 products of technological significance marketed or licensed during the previous calendar year.

Dr. Porter has over 200 publications and has given over 300 presentations at national and international meetings. He holds over 10 patents, with several more pending.

Ling Zang, Ph.D.
Dr. Zang moved to The University of Utah in August 2008 from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he was an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. He was previously an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at Erlangen-Nuremberg University in Germany, NSF CAREER Award winner, and K. C. Wong Foundation Research Fellow. He was chair of the “Molecular Electronics” section of the 2004 Beckman Frontiers of Science Symposium, National Academy of Sciences, and currently serves on the editorial board of Journal of Nanoengineering and Nanosystems. He also holds an adjunct professorship at the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing. Dr. Zang earned his B.S. in physical chemistry from Tsinghua University and Ph.D. in chemistry from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.An expert in nanomaterials and molecular devices, Dr. Zang’s research focuses on nanoscale and molecular imaging and probing, optoelectronic sensors, and nanodevices, with the goal of achieving long-term real applications in the areas of national security, energy, and the environment. The four areas of research in his lab include one-dimensional nanomaterials of organic semiconductors and optoelectronic sensing; photovoltaic cells; single-molecule imaging and molecular probing; and single-molecule electronics.

Major research breakthroughs achieved from Dr. Zang’s lab in the past few years include the creation of the first room-temperature single-molecule transistor, which paves the way toward the goal of building electronic devices using single molecules; invention of nanofiber-based optical sensory materials for highly sensitive and selective detection of explosives, which are being incorporated into commercial sensor devices to be used in various security checking points and the frontline battle fields; development of single-nanowire electrical sensor for trace vapor detection of organic amines, leading to design of new type of medical devices for high throughput diagnostic and screening of uremia and other diseases that release amines as biogenic marker; development of a highly selective molecular sensor for trace detection of mercury, which may find great application in solving the emerging problems of mercury pollution in the Great Salt Lake area.


Gianluca Lazzi, Ph.D.
Gianluca Lazzi’s research in biomedical electromagnetics has generated considerable interest due to potential high impact on medical devices. Among the contributions which have been recognized are computational methods to calculate the electromagnetic distribution in neural tissue for optimization of neurostimulators, human body models for the safety assessment of wireless biomedical devices, implantable microantennas and coils for high-data rate wireless biomedical devices, novel coils for wireless telemetry systems, methods for the minimization of the temperature increase in the human body due to implantable devices, and methods to optimize electrode shape and size for neurosimulators. We are part of a highly visible consortium formed by the Department of Energy to develop a retinal prosthesis to restore partial vision to the blind. The consortium includes a company, three universities, and five national laboratories. We are also part of an NSF supported Engineering Research Center (ERC) on Biomimetic Devices led by the University of Southern California. My contributions in the field of implantable devices have been recognized with the election as a IEEE Fellow for “contributions to Bioelectromagnetics and implantable devices” at age 37, the IEEE Wheeler Best paper Award for a manuscript on the invention of microwave microantennas for implantable devices, and a R&D100 Award in 2009 for one of the 100 most significant inventions of 2009 (artificial retina)My leadership roles include my service as the Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Utah (2009-), Editor-in-Chief of the journal IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters (2008-), and area chair of Bioelectronics at North Carolina State University (2005-2009).

Marc PorterCarlos H. Mastrangelo, Ph.D.
Carlos H. Mastrangelo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1960. He received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985, 1988, and 1991, respectively. Mastrangelo’s work has included positions in Ford Motor Company’s Scientific Research Laboratory. He was an Assistant and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Center for Integrated Microsystems, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Since 1997 he was a consultant and principal MEMS designer at Intellisense, Wilmington MA. From 2000-2003 he was Vice President of Engineering and chief designer at Intellisense working primarily on optical MEMS systems for fiberoptic communications. Intellisense was acquired in December 2000 by Corning Incorporated for $750M becoming the independently managed Corning-Intellisense subsidiary. From 2003-2005, Mastrangelo was a faculty member at Case Western Reserve University.Mastrangelo’s research focuses on microelectromechanical system applications and technology, microfluidic systems, and integration, design, and modeling of MEMS devices. His research group is widely credited for pioneering the integration of DNA separation microchips with on-chip fluorescence detectors. He pioneered the fundamental theory of stiction failure phenomena in MEMS which is of extreme importance in the manufacturing of hundreds of millions of MEMS subsystems in automotive air bag systems, MEMS based inertial guidance systems, MEMS RF switches, and MEMS-based Wii virtual reality handsets. Prof. Mastrangelo is also credited for introducing graph theoretic methods for the representation of MEMS fabrication methods that permit the automatic synthesis of complex MEMS fabrication sequences.

Mastrangelo has raised more than $18M for university research projects and directly supervised and managed $70M of industrial research and development projects. In 1991 he received the Counsel of Graduate Schools/University Microfilms Distinguished Dissertation Award for the best technical dissertation in the United States and Canada. He also received a 1994 NSF Young Investigator Award. In 2000 his group received the best paper of the year award at the Transactions of Semiconductor Manufacturing for his pioneer work on synthesis of fabrication process flows for MEMS structures. He presently serves on the editorial boards of the Sensors and Actuators journal and the IEEE/ASME Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems.

Tolga TasdizenMassood Tabib-Azar, Ph.D.
Massood Tabib-Azar received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1984 and 1986, respectively. In 1986-87 academic year he taught in the ECSE department at RPI and in 1987 he joined the faculty of EECS department at Case Western Reserve University. He was a fellow at NASA during 1992-1992, on Sabbatical at Harvard University during 93-94, and at Yale University during 2000-2001. Massood was a Professor of EECS at Case with joint appointments in Macromolecular Engineering and Physics Departments before joining the University of Utah, Salt Lake City in January 2009 as a USTAR Professor of ECE. His current research interests include NEMS switches, Tip-based nano-manufacturing, nanometrology tools (microwave-atomic force microscopy), molecular electronics, novel devices based on solid electrolytes and carbon nanotubes, sensors and actuators, and quantum computing. His teaching interests include development of courses in the area of electronic device physics and electromagnetics with an emphasis on solving problems and the use of computer-aided instruction tools. He is author of three books, two book chapters, more than 110 journal publications, and numerous conference proceeding articles. He has introduced and chairs many international symposia in his fields of interest.

Darrin Young, Ph.D.
Darrin J. Young received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at University of California at Berkeley in 1991, 1993, and 1999, respectively. He pioneered the research work in MEMS-based, high-Q, tunable capacitors and on-chip 3-D coil inductors for low-phase noise RF voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) design for wireless communication applications. His doctoral thesis work demonstrated the first RF-CMOS VCO employing on-chip high-Q passive devices achieving the stringent GSM phase noise requirements. Between 1991 and 1993, he worked at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in Palo Alto, California, where he designed a shared memory system for a DSP-based multiprocessor architecture. Between 1997 and 1998, he worked at Rockwell Semiconductor Systems in Newport Beach, California, where he designed silicon bipolar RF analog circuits for cellular telephony applications. During this time period he was also at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, working on the design and fabrication of three-dimensional RF MEMS coil inductors for wireless communications. Dr. Young joined the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Case Western Reserve University in 1999 as an assistant professor. In 2009 he joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Utah as an USTAR associate professor. His research interests include micro-electro-mechanical systems design, fabrication, and integrated analog circuits design for wireless sensing, biomedical implant, communication, and general industrial applications. He has published many technical papers in journals and conferences, and served as a technical program committee member and session chair for a number of international conferences. Dr. Young is also an associate editor of the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits.


Previous USTAR Faculty

John WhiteJohn White, Ph.D.
John A. White was born and raised in northern Louisiana. Both of his parents are retired educators. White’s older brother, Roger White, currently a medical device specialist living in Colorado, exerted a profound influence on John’s world view, introducing him to the rich fields of biology and engineering. White received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. After brief stints of postdoctoral work at the University of Texas Medical School, Houston, and the University of Iowa, White joined the faculty of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, where he served for 13 years before joining the University of Utah.White’s research focuses on the mechanistic bases of spatially and temporally coherent electrical activity in the brain. His approach blends technology development, electrophysiology, computational modeling, and imaging. The goal is to develop new treatments for memory disorders and epilepsy, based on novel applications of electronic technology and methods of analysis from applied mathematics and engineering.

White has raised over $20 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and other sources. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Biological and Medical Engineering and a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society.


Guido GerigGuido Gerig, Ph.D.
Dr. Gerig joins the SCI Institute from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is a Taylor Grandy Professor with joint appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Psychiatry. He received his Ph.D. in 1987 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland and has held his position with UNC-Chapel Hill since August 1998. At the University of Utah, Dr. Gerig will have faculty positions within the School of Computing, Department of Psychiatry and SCI Institute.Guido Gerig began research in the area of medical image analysis in 1985 at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Since then, he has led a large number of national and international projects with close multidisciplinary collaboration between medicine, engineering, statistics, industry, and computer science. He has spent several research leaves as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gerig is a member of the editorial board of the Journal Medical Image Analysis published by Elsevier. He is a board member of MICCAI, the international society organizing the annual conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention, and has served on the committees of a number of computer vision and image analysis conferences and workshops. As the director of the UNC Neuroimage Analysis Laboratory, he supports a number of clinical neuroimaging projects with methodology for image processing, registration, atlas building, segmentation, shape analysis, and statistical analysis. Clinical driving problems are neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases and mental disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, fragile- X, chronic depression and Parkinson’s disease. Current key research topics are segmentation of MRI/DTI of the early developing brain in healthy and high-risk subjects, longitudinal analysis of multi-shape complexes to describe growth trajectories of brain structures, building of normative population atlases of volumetric images and embedded shapes, and new methodologies for statistical analysis of brain white matter using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Tools and methods developed through driving clinical applications are open source (ITK) and made available to public.