Missouri S&T welcomed more than 30 new faculty members this year. They bring a wide range of expertise that includes artificial intelligence, astrodynamics, energy economics, energy storage, flood prediction, military history, quantum physics and wearable wireless sensors.
The new appointments began at the start of the fall semester unless otherwise noted. The new faculty are:
Dr. Ali Dehghantanha, Cynthia Tang Missouri Distinguished Professor of Computer Engineering. He will join Missouri S&T in January 2024 and is currently an associate professor of computer science at the University of Guelph in Canada. Dehghantanha is one of Canada’s highly regarded authorities on cybersecurity and threat intelligence. His expertise includes applying machine learning techniques toward cyber threat hunting, cyber threat intelligence, and enterprise risk management. His cross-disciplinary research interests include cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and enterprise management, and cybersecurity and critical infrastructure. Dehghantanha holds a U.S. patent for malware threat prevention and has written 73 journal articles.
Dr. Hany El-Azab, assistant professor of chemical and biochemical engineering. El-Azab holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Virginia Commonwealth University and most recently worked as a staff research associate at the University of California San Diego. Prior to that, he was an associate professor of chemical engineering at London South Bank University. He has written 21 books, three textbooks and over 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He has supervised three Ph.D. students. El-Azab’s research interests include nano-structured materials, carbon-based materials, micro reactors, and heterogeneous catalysis.
Dr. Kenneth Boyko, assistant research professor in geosciences and geological and petroleum engineering. Following three years of service in the U.S. Air Force, Boyko worked nearly 30 years for the U.S. Geological Survey before retiring. In 2012, he joined S&T as a research assistant. He has conducted research as a postdoctoral fellow at S&T since earning his Ph.D. in geological engineering from S&T in 2019. His research interests include structured light scanner technology and LIDAR (light detection and ranging).
Dr. Michael Eze, assistant professor of chemistry. He holds a Ph.D. in analytical and organic geochemistry from Macquarie University in Australia. His research as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Davis, included designing beath-based methods for detecting COVID-19, profiling content of complex samples (breath, serum, soil and water), and investigating persistent organic pollutants in soil and water.
Dr. Weibing Gong, assistant professor of geosciences and geological engineering and petroleum engineering. He joins S&T from the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a Ph.D. in geosystems and served as a graduate student instructor. His research interests include remote sensing, infrastructure resilience and artificial applications in geological or geotechnical engineering.
Dr. Taihao Han, assistant research professor in materials science and engineering. Han earned a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from S&T in 2022 and then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at S&T. He holds one patent for fiber optic sensor equipped smart helmets for brain injury with Dr. Jie Huang and other S&T researchers.
Dr. Qingguo Hong, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics. He comes to S&T from The Pennsylvania State University, where he was an assistant research professor in mathematics. He was also a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany and a research scientist at Johann Radon Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics in Austria. Hong holds a Ph.D. in mathematical science from Peking University.
Dr. Donna Jennings, assistant teaching professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Jennings earned a Ph.D. and bachelor’s degree, both in aerospace engineering, from Missouri S&T. She has taught courses at the university since 2021. Her primary teaching areas of interest include astrodynamics, orbital mechanics, spacecraft mission design, spacecraft design, and dynamics.
Dr. Jikhan Jeong, assistant professor of economics. He holds a Ph.D. in quantitative economics and econometrics from Washington State University. His research interests include digital economics, energy economics, financial technology, applied microeconometrics, and computational economics using artificial intelligence. Jeong previously served as a visiting assistant professor in data science and business analytics at Florida Polytechnic University.
Dr. Lijun Jiang, Kummer Endowed Professor of electrical engineering. Jiang comes to S&T from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he was a professor of electrical engineering. He earned a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His industrial experience includes engineering jobs at Hewlett Packard (HP) and IBM. Jiang’s research interests include electromagnetics modeling and design, antenna and microwave technologies, Internet of Things, and wearable wireless sensors.
Dr. Seonjun (Sean) Kang, assistant professor of business and information technology. He holds a Ph.D. in information systems from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he served as a teaching assistant and instructor. He taught classes in C+ programming, database systems and business information systems. Kang’s research interests include artificial intelligence, misinformation, open collaboration and social media.
Dr. Garyfallia Katsimiga, assistant teaching professor of physics. She will join S&T in January following her appointment as a visiting assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research interests include atomic molecular and optical physics and classical nonlinear solutions in field theory. She holds a Ph.D. in nuclear and particle physics from the University of Athens.
John Ketcherside, assistant teaching professor of history and political science. He is a Ph.D. candidate in American history at Saint Louis University and has taught history classes at S&T as an adjunct professor since 2016. His research interests are the Civil Rights Movement and military history. Ketcherside is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served for 18 years. He co-authored the book Rangers Led the Way: WWII Army Rangers in Their Own Words.
Dr. Wenyu Liao, assistant research professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, who joined the S&T faculty in February. Liao holds a Ph.D. from Missouri S&T and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the university. He holds two patents. His research focuses on green building and low-carbon cement materials.
Dr. Charmayne Lonergan, assistant professor of materials science and engineering. She holds a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from S&T. Her areas of expertise include glasses, optical materials and measurements, waste vitrification, and high-temperature characterization. She previously worked as a materials scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and a postdoctoral researcher at University of Central Florida’s College of Optics and Photonics.
Dr. Jason Lonergan, assistant research professor of materials science and engineering. He holds a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from S&T. His research focuses on ultra-high-temperature ceramics for hypersonic applications, glasses, next-generation nuclear energy development and nuclear physics. He previously worked as a materials scientist with PNNL, a postdoctoral associate at Washington State University, and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Central Florida’s College of Optics and Photonics.
Dr. Clayton Lungstrum, assistant teaching professor of mathematics and statistics. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Rochester, where he taught classes for seven years. Most recently, he was an instructor at Virginia Tech. His research interests are perfect numbers and values of modified Dirichlet L-functions.
Dr. Wumaier Maimaitiyiming, assistant teaching professor of mathematics and statistics. He holds a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Iowa State University and served as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles before coming to S&T. Maimaitiyiming’s research interests are in numerical analysis and scientific computation.
Dr. Suman Maity, assistant professor of computer science. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering and was most recently a postdoctoral research associate in brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Maity’s research interests include human-centered data science, computational social science, science of science, machine learning and computational linguistics.
Dr. Shelley Minteer, director of the Kummer Institute Center for Resource Sustainability and professor of chemistry. She will begin her duties Oct. 1. She comes to S&T from the University of Utah, where she was the Dale and Susan Poulter Endowed Chair of Biological Chemistry and led a research group. Minteer is an expert in energy storage and conversion and on the electrification of chemical manufacturing, a process known as electrosynthesis. She earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Iowa and has written more than 450 journal articles and presented at conferences around the world.
Dr. Simeon Mistakidis, assistant professor of physics, will join S&T in January. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Theoretical Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics in the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and the Smithsonian. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Hamburg. Mistakidis’s research interests include dynamics of quantum many-body systems, quantum simulation, correlation processes, quasiparticle physics, polarons and magnetic phenomena.
Dr. Farhan Mumtaz, assistant research professor of electrical and computer engineering. He joined S&T’s faculty in January after serving a postdoctoral fellowship at Missouri S&T. Mumtaz holds a Ph.D. in information and communication engineering from Wuhan University of Technology in China. His research areas include fiber optic sensors, new micro- and nanomaterials, micro-machining, sensors and instruments for harsh environments, and chemical and biosensors.
Dr. Gabriel Nicolosi, assistant professor of engineering management and systems engineering. He holds a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and operations research from The Pennsylvania State University and his research interests include operations research, applied optimization and optimal control, differential games and machine learning in the context of industrial and management systems. Before graduate school, Nicolosi worked in investment banking in Brazil.
Dr. Seung-Jong (Jay) Park, Kummer Endowed Chair of Computer Science. Park comes to S&T from the National Science Foundation (NSF), where he served as a program director and managed computer science-related research projects. He also served as the Dr. Fred H. Fenn Memorial Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Louisiana State University. Park is an expert in networking and data-intensive computing. He has conducted research related to big data and deep learning focused on software frameworks for large-scale science applications and cybersecurity development for cloud computing, high-performance computing and high-speed networks. Park earned a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dr. Smriti Nandan Paul, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. He holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Purdue University. Paul comes to S&T from West Virginia University, where he served as a postdoctoral research fellow and conducted research for NASA’s NAIRAS project and the International Space Weather Action Teams project.
Dr. Satish Puri, associate professor of computer science. He comes to S&T from Marquette University, where he was an assistant professor of computer science. In 2022, he received an NSF CAREER Award for over $500,000 to design geo-spatial analytics on heterogeneous platforms. He conducts research and develops software in the field of spatial big data processing and high-performance computing. Puri earned a Ph.D. from Georgia State University.
Dr. Michael Peterson, assistant professor of philosophy. He is an expert in environmental ethics, including nuclear waste policy, ethics of technology and contemporary European philosophy. Peterson holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from DePaul University, where he taught as an adjunct professor before coming to S&T.
Dr. Muhammad Raza, assistant research professor of mining and explosives engineering. He comes to S&T from University of Engineering and Technology in Pakistan, where he was an associate professor of mining engineering. He co-authored a book chapter with Dr. Samuel Frimpong, the Robert H. Quenon Endowed Chair and professor of mining engineering at Missouri S&T. Raza holds a Ph.D. in mining engineering from S&T.
Dr. BongChul Seo, assistant professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering. He previously worked as an associate research scientist at IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering and as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Iowa. His research interests include hydrology, radar meteorology, flood prediction and risk management, remote sensing, machine learning and spatial data analysis.. He earned a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Iowa.
Dr. Katherine Sharp, assistant professor of education and biological sciences. She holds a Ph.D. in STEM education from the University of Kentucky, Lexington. While a graduate assistant, she helped develop a cancer education curriculum for middle and high school students. Before joining S&T, Sharp was an assistant professor of chemistry at Stephens College.
Theodore Sumnicht, assistant teaching professor of biological sciences. He was previously an academic specialist in biological sciences at S&T and has taught the general biology lecture and lab. He has also worked at S&T’s Ozark Research Field Station. Sumnicht holds a bachelor’s degree in entomology from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree in biology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Dr. Mark Towler, the Linda and Bipin Doshi Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, who began his duties in January. He earned a Ph.D. in biomedical materials from the University of London and was previously a professor of biomedical engineering at Toronto Metropolitan University. He was also an affiliate scientist with St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and created two companies: Crescent Operations and Solas Operations. Towler is recognized for publishing the first paper identifying the relationship between nail structure and bone and he invented a diagnostic device that can indicate a person’s risk of bone fracture by analyzing their nail clipping. He holds eight patents for medical devices.
Dr. Sharon Uwanyuze, assistant teaching professor of materials science and engineering. Her focus is metallurgical engineering, and she is an expert in non-ferrous alloys, such as titanium and nickel-based superalloys, metal-mold reactions and investment casting. Uwanyuze earned a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Connecticut, as well as a graduate certificate in college instruction. While at UConn, she served as a teaching and research assistant.
Dr. Huiyuan Yang, assistant professor of computer science. He comes to S&T from Rice University, where he was a postdoctoral research associate. Yang’s research interests include human-centric artificial intelligence, multimodal machine learning and machine learning in health care. He holds one patent on remote sensing data processing from China. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Binghamton University.
Dr. Bohong Zhang, assistant research professor of electrical and computer engineering. He has worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at S&T since earning a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from S&T in 2022. His research interests include fiber-optic sensors, spectroscopy, harsh-environment sensors, optical biomedical imaging, and ultrafast laser machining. Zhang has received two patents.