OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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New Leaders Join the Faculty

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Julia Zhang, Arun Natarajan and Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez
Assistant professors
Julia Zhang, Arun Natarajan and Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez join the EECS faculty this fall.
 

Three new faculty leaders joining the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science this fall enhance OSU’s nationally recognized research strengths in energy systems and RF/mixed-signal design. All three are anxious to teach and work on research with students — the driving force for them to move into academia.

Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez's research focuses on cascading power outages in power grids.

“If you are teaching students you are also seeding that inspiration to do something really good. You have a broader impact than doing research in your one field. The students will go in many directions, and hopefully something you taught them will help them do great things,” said new faculty member, Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez.

Cotilla-Sanchez joins the Energy Systems group in EECS. With a background in large-scale power grids, and a focus on the vulnerability of electrical infrastructure, he was excited by the opportunity to work with world-renowned researchers in the Wallace Energy Systems and Renewables Facility (WESRF), and on the unique opportunity to integrate wave energy onto the grid.

“I believe I bring a non-traditional power system engineering perspective to the group. I expect that my background in smart grid and computational methods to analyze power systems will help obtain new insights for current projects in our group,” he said.

Already working with the group “as just one more member of the family,” Cotilla-Sanchez said he also has opportunities to collaborate with faculty outside the Energy Systems group. “I couldn’t ask for a better environment to start my academic career.”

Julia Zhang Julia Zhang will work on the component side of energy conversion, as well as continue her individual research in the area of electric vehicles.

Also new to the Energy Systems group is Julia Zhang. She comes with a lot of hands-on experience in electric machine design, electric drive control, and power electronics having worked for Ford Motor Company on projects like the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Ford C-Max Hybrid.

“I think two years of industry experience was really, really helpful for me to get that technical experience but also for developing my leadership and communication skills,” she said.

Adding to the Energy group’s focus on renewable energy sources like wind and waves, she will work on the component side of energy conversion, and her research in the area of electric vehicles will expand the group’s repertoire.

“Because there are several professors in Energy Systems group that work in different areas, we form a really strong power group working on renewable energy,” she said.

Arun Natarajan also comes with a lot of hands-on experience in his field of integrated circuits and systems for high-speed wireless communications and imaging which he gained at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center.

Arun Natarajan Arun Natarajan is working on the cutting edge of integrated circuits and systems for high-speed wireless communications and imaging.

“The work that I do is a bridge to much of the research in the RF/Mixed-Signal group. Many of them work on the interface of converting analog signals to digital and I work on the high-frequency connection with the outside world,” he said.

His work takes advantage of relatively untapped high frequency bandwidth, particularly the millimeter-wave regime.

“It’s a wide open space that people are just beginning to explore. It literally can provide a couple of orders of magnitude faster data rates and faster connections. It can also be used for imaging, like high-frequency radar systems,” he said.

Natarajan is also excited about working with faculty in the Materials and Devices group, building devices to operate at these higher frequencies to allow for new capabilities.

“We are thrilled with the addition of Eduardo, Julia and Arun to our faculty. Each of them has a contagious excitement for research, an enthusiasm for collaborating across disciplines and a passion for working with students. They will serve as excellent role models and mentors for our students,” said Terri Fiez, head of EECS.


—By Rachel Robertson