June 27, 2014
Sue Ratz

Parks Announces New Faculty Hires, Promotions

During the last six months, Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology has successfully hired seven new faculty members within the college.

Of these new appointments three are department chairs (one promoted internally) and five are junior faculty positions. This is one of the biggest changes and expansions of Parks College in its 87-year history.

The new hires and promotions are:

Sridhar Condoor, Ph.D., chair of aerospace and mechanical engineering

Sridhar Condoor, Ph.D., has been at Parks College since August 1996. Most recently, he has served as interim chair of the department for the last year. He will assume the chair role permanently on July 1.

In addition to his academic roles with Parks College, he also serves as a KEEN fellow, a Coleman fellow and the editor of the Journal of Engineering Entrepreneurship. An expert in his field, Condoor teaches sustainability, product design and entrepreneurship. His research interests are in the areas of design theory and methodology, technology entrepreneurship and sustainability. He has been running $2.2 million three-year grant to develop entrepreneurial mindset funded from the Kern Family Foundation. Additionally, Condoor holds three patents in the wind energy and medical fields.

He has many awards and recognitions for his teaching and research. He has published several peer-reviewed publications, authored three books and served on many committees at Parks College. In addition to his new administrative role, Condoor will continue to develop programs in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Michelle Sabick, Ph.D., chair of biomedical engineering

Prior to joining the faculty at Parks, Sabick served as professor and chair of the department of mechanical and biomedical engineering at Boise State University in Boise. While in this role, she grew the faculty from eight to 14 faculty members and managed large growth in student enrollment. Additionally, Sabick enhanced undergraduate teaching by infusing classroom lectures with more interactive and hands-on learning activities.

She has worked on more than 20 funded research projects, published many journal articles and other scholarly publications and holds two patents. Additionally, she has made more than 70 conference presentations throughout her career. She has advised and directed more than 20 graduate students.

Ronaldo Luna, Ph.D., chair of civil engineering

Before his appointment at Parks, Luna served as professor and assistant chair of civil engineering at the Missouri University of Science in Technology in Rolla, Mo. Luna served at Missouri S&T since 1999. Also, he held an assistant professor position at Tulane University in New Orleans, La. Luna is a registered professional engineer in three states, Missouri, Washington and California.

He has published more than 120 publications in a wide variety of research areas including: geotechnical instrumentation, foundations, soil liquefaction and applications of geographic information systems, among others. During his career, Luna has worked on more than $6.5 million dollars of funded research projects. His accomplishments have been carried out in close collaboration with his graduate students, and he has graduated six Ph.D. and 23 M.S. students. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Natasha Case, Ph.D., assistant professor in biomedical engineering

Natasha Case currently serves as a research scholar in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the Duke University School of Medicine, but will join Parks for the start of the fall semester. Her research interests are in musculoskeletal tissue engineering and biomechanics. Case earned a Ph.D. in bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Duke University. Following completion of her Ph.D., she conducted post-doctoral research in the Department of Medicine at the University of North Carolina.

Her research experiences have focused on articular cartilage and bone and have shared a common interest in understanding how cells from musculoskeletal tissues are influenced by mechanical loading of the skeleton.

Yan Gai, Ph.D., assistant professor in biomedical engineering

Gai began conducting auditory research as a graduate engineering student at Syracuse University. Upon completing her doctorate in 2007, she joined the computational-neuroscience lab at New York University, where she also performed neurophysiology in a lab and developed her favorite virtual-sound dynamic-clamp approach. Later, she went to University of Wisconsin-Madison for her second post-doctoral study.

She has since conducted various behavioral and computational projects related to the mammalian auditory pathways for sound localization. Gai is in the process of building a systems-neuroscience lab to study the function of sensory systems.

Srikanth Gururajan, Ph.D., assistant professor in aerospace and mechanical engineering

Gururajan received his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and M.S. in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. Gururajan's prior research has been in the fields of fault tolerant flight control, experimental flight testing using small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and UAV-based remote sensing applications in precision agriculture, pest management and emissions measurement and characterization.

Prior to joining the aerospace and mechanical engineering department at Parks College, Gururajan managed the UAV flight testing program and oversaw the design and construction of the UAV platforms, the design of experiments, as well as the flight test implementation and identification of aircraft parameters from flight data at WVU. He also currently serves as an associate editor of the Aerospace Science and Technology Journal, the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Journal and the International Journal of Unmanned Systems Engineering.

Andrew Hall, Ph.D., assistant professor in biomedical engineering

Most recently, Hall has served as the director of research collaborations at Siemens Solutions USA, Inc. With a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and more than 30 years of professional engineering experience, Hall's areas of research include interventional cardiology, cardiac electrophysiology, interventional radiology, interventional neuro-radiology and surgery. His team's work has resulted in more than 100 publications and abstracts in angiography, C-arm CT, perfusion imaging, image registration and image-guided interventions.

Jalil Kianfar, Ph.D., assistant professor in civil engineering
Kianfar joined Parks in January 2014. He received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Missouri and his M.S. and B.S. in civil engineering from Azad University in Iran. Prior to joining Parks, Kianfar was a transportation analyst with CBB transportation engineers in St. Louis, where he developed travel demand and traffic simulation models for Missouri and Illinois departments of transportation.

Kianfar brings 10 years of research and industry experience to the classroom and his goal is to prepare the Parks graduates for designing and managing a transportation system that can safely accommodate the needs of pedestrians, bicycles, public transportation users, personal and commercial vehicles.

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