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OU Engineering Welcomes 14 New Faculty Members for 2023-24

September 14, 2023

OU Engineering Welcomes 14 New Faculty Members for 2023-24

Image of 14 new 2023 faculty members.

OU Engineering has welcomed 14 new faculty members for the 2023-24 academic year. This marks a milestone in the college's growth journey, with faculty numbers increasing from just over 100 in 2017 to 175 in 2023. OU Engineering is committed to expanding its faculty ranks, aiming for over 200 faculty members by the 2025-26 academic year, says OU Engineering Dean John Klier. To achieve this goal, the college has initiated more than 20 faculty searches.


The State of Oklahoma continues to acknowledge the need for more engineers. They recently responded to OU Engineering’s request for additional recurring funding. The funding will play a crucial role in offering undergraduate student tuition waivers, supporting graduate students and helping recruit new faculty and staff. These positions will be phased in over the next three years. "OU Engineering extends its gratitude for the ongoing support from the State of Oklahoma as it continues to address the growing demand for engineers," Klier said.   


Learn more about our newest faculty members:

Mansoor Abdulhak, Ph.D., has joined the School of Computer Science as an assistant professor. He is a specialist in software engineering and a certified project manager, and a fellow with the American Academy of Project Management. He has been in the industry for over 15 years. He comes to OU with extensive experience in higher education having taught at several institutes of higher learning in different countries, as an assistant professor of software engineering. His dissertation at the University of Malaya in Malaysia was titled “An Ontology-based Approach for Test Case Management System Using Semantic Technology.” A software engineer, his research interests are in software engineering, ontologies, semantic web, information recommendation and e-Learning. He has a doctorate in artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction.

Christopher Billings, Ph.D., has joined the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering as an assistant professor. He holds a bachelor's and a doctorate in mechanical engineering, both earned at OU. His research spans various areas, including metal additive manufacturing, additive manufacturing of CNT sensors, resin nanocomposite fabrication, high-temperature FDM manufacturing and carbon black strain sensors. During his time as an OU student, Billings was the recipient of seven scholarships, including the Dolese Teaching Fellowship and the Marathon Oil Scholarship. In 2022, he authored a paper titled "Implementation of Antibacterial Nanoparticles in Additive Manufacturing to Increase Part Strength and Stiffness," published in the Journal of Composites Science.

Tommy Bounds, Ph.D., has become a member of the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science. He previously served as an instructor within CEES and has now been signed on as an assistant professor. He completed his academic journey at OU, earning his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. His doctoral research was centered on the topic of "Lateral Deformation of Bridge Embankments Supported on Soft Soils." Prior to joining the OU faculty, he worked as a project engineer at Red Rock Consulting. 

Maya Denton, Ph.D., joins Engineering Pathways as an assistant professor. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University, and a master’s degree in environmental engineering and a doctorate in STEM Education, both from the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation was titled “Career Interests, Aspirations, and Negotiation of Place in Engineering: The Experiences of Fourth and Fifth-year Civil Engineering Undergraduate Students.” She conducts engineering and STEM education research, focusing on career pathways and diversity, equity and inclusion. Prior to a career in higher education, she worked in a variety of chemical engineering roles at Air Products.

Kendra Dresback, Ph.D., joins the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science as an assistant professor. She holds bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in civil engineering, all obtained from OU, where her doctoral dissertation focused on "Algorithmic Improvements and Analyses of the Generalized Wave Continuity Equation-Based Model, ADCIRC." Her primary research interests encompass the use of computational models (meteorological, hydrology, hydraulic and hydrodynamic) to help in the prediction of hurricane storm surge and flooding in both inland and coastal areas from tropical storms and hurricanes, the incorporation of transport effects of salinity and temperature in coastal seas and oceans and numerical methods in water resources, hydrodynamic models, environmental applications, algorithm development and high-performance computing. Besides her postdoctoral research experience at OU, she has also worked as a visiting researcher at the Naval Research Laboratory Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and at Trust Environmental Services in Norman, Oklahoma.

Alex Frickenstein, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Stephenson School of Biomedical Engineering, brings a wealth of academic achievements to his role. He earned his bachelor's degree in chemical and biological engineering with honors from Colorado State University and completed his doctorate in biomedical engineering at OU. His research experience includes roles as a graduate research assistant in various OU labs, such as the Mass Spectrometry, Proteomics, and Metabolomics Core, and the Biomedical Nano-engineering Laboratory. He has received several honors from SBME, such as the Outstanding Undergraduate Mentor Award and the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. Additionally, he was chosen as a recipient of the summer 2023 Engineering Dissertation Award for OU Engineering.

Lori Han, Ph.D., has joined the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences as an assistant professor. With her educational background comprising a bachelor's degree in fisheries, wildlife, and conservation biology, a master's degree in water resources science, and a doctorate in bioproducts and biosystems science, engineering, and management, all from the University of Minnesota, she brings a strong foundation to her new role. Before coming to OU, she contributed to public education, serving as a math and science instructor at Torah Academy of Minnesota. Her professional experience in engineering was gained at Houston Engineering, where she worked as a scientist specializing in conservation watershed planning using hydrologic data, ArcGIS, PTMApp and other proprietary GIS tools and models. 

Soheil Hemmati, Ph.D., joins the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, as an assistant professor. His research interests lie in the theory of mathematical optimization focusing on stochastic optimization and bilevel optimization models, as well as their application in cancer care, including immunotherapy and targeted therapy working with OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center researchers. He recently was a post-doctoral research associate at Rice University following earning a doctorate from the University of Florida where his research focused on “Multilevel Discrete Formulations and Algorithms with Applications to Competitive Supply Chain Management and Network Interdiction Problems.” 

P.K. Imbrie, Ph.D., has joined the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering as a professor and will also serve as a special assistant to the provost. He holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University. Before joining OU, he served as a professor and head of the Department of Engineering Education at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. He is a strong advocate for research-based approaches to engineering education, curricular reform and student retention. His research encompasses experimental mechanics, piezospectroscopic techniques, epistemologies, assessment and modeling of student learning, student success, student team effectiveness and global competencies. He played a pivotal role in establishing engineering education as an academic discipline and co-led the creation of Purdue University's First-Year Engineering Program’s Ideas to Innovation Learning Laboratory. His work extends to enhancing the first-year experience and leading the First-Year Honors Program, promoting scholastic achievement, breadth of knowledge, global awareness and leadership development. Imbrie has also contributed to various research projects sponsored by NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, covering education-related matters and traditional research topics in 3D stress measurements and environmental effects on titanium-based metal matrix composites.

Yijie Jiang, Ph.D., has joined the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering as an assistant professor, bringing valuable experience from his previous role in mechanical engineering at the University of North Texas. He holds a bachelor's degree in theoretical and applied mechanics from Fudan University in China and completed his master's and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania. His research endeavors have secured over $10 million in awards, including funding from the Department of Energy and the Army Research Laboratory. Jiang's research is dedicated to 3D printing and mechanical characterization of sustainable and functional composites at the multiscale, utilizing both experimental and numerical methods.

Marmar Moussa, Ph.D., has joined the School of Computer Science as an assistant professor, following her previous role in the School of Medicine at the University of Connecticut. Her current research focuses on computational genomics and bioinformatics, with a specialization in single-cell omics data analysis. Her research portfolio also extends to machine learning, big data analytics, and differential privacy. With a strong background as both a scholar and a software development professional, she holds bachelor's and master's degrees in computer engineering and automatic control, as well as a master's in computer science and engineering from Alexandria University. Subsequently, she earned master's and doctoral degrees in computer science and engineering from the University of Connecticut, where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the cancer immunology and genomics section.

Sanjana Mudduluru, Ph.D., specializes in computer vision algorithms for medical image data analysis. She holds a master's degree in data science and analytics, as well as a doctorate in computer science, both obtained from OU. Her academic journey began with a bachelor's degree in computer science from Jawaharlal Nehru Technology University in India. Her research primarily centers on data-driven technology, with expertise in machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, Python programming, predictive modeling and data science. Additionally, she possesses valuable experience in software development. She contributed significantly to software development efforts during her tenure at Ronnie K. Irani Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth. Notable projects include developing a dashboard for HomeNav, a home inventory management app, and creating a proof of concept for Minded Tribe, an early-stage education technology startup.

Moses Olayemi, Ph.D., joins OU as an assistant professor in Engineering Pathways. He holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and a doctorate in engineering education from Purdue University. For his Ph.D. dissertation titled, "Understanding Culturally Relevant Engineering Education in Multiple Contexts: A Case Study of Nigeria,” he was awarded the Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship by Purdue’s School of Engineering Education. His research focuses on enhancing STEM education in resource-limited contexts, with a special emphasis on culturally relevant pedagogy and the adaptation of measurement instruments, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. He brings practical experience from previous roles as a project engineer in the oil and gas construction industry, as an engineering educator in refugee contexts, and as a social entrepreneur in Nigeria and the United States. 

Farid Talebnia Rowshan, Ph.D., has joined the School of Sustainable Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering. With a background in biochemical engineering, he brings extensive international experience spanning biomanufacturing, pharmaceuticals, research and development, project management and process development. His expertise includes navigating fermentation technology, scale-up, downstream processing, biofuels, biorefinery, data analysis, statistical modeling and bioprocess validation. He earned his doctoral degree in biochemical engineering from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, focusing on “Ethanol Fermentation from Cellulosic Biomass by Encapsulated Saccharomyces cerevisiae” for his dissertation. Before joining OU, he served as a senior researcher and manager working on several projects in the biopharma companies and startups in Canada, where he oversaw the process development and commercialization of pioneering products such as non-viral DNA vectors and therapeutic proteins across various applications, including gene therapy and vascular diseases.

Learn more about OU Engineering.

By Lorene A. Roberson, Gallogly College of Engineering