NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Welcome New Faculty!

Thirteen instructional, clinical, and tenure-track faculty are joining the College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics. Please welcome our new colleagues.

Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Quentin Vicens, Assistant Professor

Quentin Vicens Dr. Vicens is interested in RNA structures and their dynamics, especially in the presence of small molecules and proteins. He uses integrated structural biology approaches from biophysics, biochemistry, computational biology, and next-generation sequencing. He is also invested in teaching and learning according to research-based approaches and has published articles as well as books on active learning. The lab he is starting at NSM focuses on modulating mRNP function using small molecules.

Department of Chemistry

Josh Bocarsly, Assistant Professor

Josh Bocarsly Dr. Bocarsly’s research focuses on discovering and controlling inorganic materials to enable next-generation technologies. In particular, he will work on developing electrodes that can be used in high-performance batteries, quantum materials for new computing architectures, and caloric materials for environmentally friendly refrigeration. In support of this experimental work, he is also very interested in developing software to effectively manage, share, and learn from laboratory data.

Department of Computer Science

Rathish Das, Assistant Professor

Rathish Das Dr. Das’ research interests primarily lie in parallel and distributed algorithms for multiprocessor computing and big data applications. In multiprocessor computing, he concentrates on the algorithmic modeling of the hardware and the design and analysis of efficient algorithms for multiprocessor systems. For big data applications, he works on I/O-efficient external-memory algorithms and data structures where data is too big to fit into the internal memory and must be retained on external storage.

Sen Lin, Assistant Professor

Sen Lin Dr. Lin’s research interests broadly fall in the intersection of machine learning and wireless networking. Currently, his research focuses on developing algorithms and theories in continual learning, meta-learning, reinforcement learning, distributed learning, and bilevel optimization, with applications in multiple domains, e.g., edge computing, security, network control, large language models. Additionally, he is generally interested in security and privacy in machine learning.

Transition from Lecturer to Instructional Faculty - Computer Science
Dan Biediger, Instructional Assistant Professor

Dan Biediger Dr. Biediger has been fortunate to teach the introductory programming courses in Computer Science, sharing his passion for technology and programming. His research, in collaboration with the Department of Electrical Engineering, involves simulation, movement planning, and positioning of drone swarms for communication, search, and rescue applications.

Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

Michael Antonelli, Assistant Professor

Michael Antonelli Dr. Antonelli’s research leverages stable and radiogenic isotope variations to understand a wide variety of topics ranging from the formation of igneous/metamorphic rocks to marine systems, solar-system evolution, and biology/ecology. His major focus has been the development and application of Ca isotopes to high-temperature systems, where isotopic variations are due to radiogenic, equilibrium, and kinetic effects that can yield important constraints on the ages, rates, timescales, mechanisms, and sources of rock and mineral formation throughout Earth history.

Steve Turner, Assistant Professor

Steve Turner Dr. Turner’s research and teaching examine how we can use geochemical measurements of volcanic materials to better understand the evolution of the Earth. This data helps us better understand a variety of important processes, such as the cycling of life-critical compounds (e.g., carbon, water, sulfur) between the Earth’s surface and interior, and the growth of stable continents. He also studies active volcanic processes pertinent to magma storage and transport beneath volcanoes.

Department of Mathematics

Jian Cao, Assistant Professor

IJian Cao Dr. Cao’s research interest lies in the intersection of computational statistics and machine learning. He aims to develop efficient computational methods for applications in the future. His teaching interest is computational statistics and data science with R/Python.

Nicolas Charon, Assistant Professor

Nicolas Charon Dr. Charon is a researcher in the fields of geometric data analysis and computational anatomy. After obtaining his Ph.D. in 2013 at the Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan in France, he was an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University before joining UH. His work is focused on the development of mathematical frameworks and numerical methods for the modeling and statistical analysis of morphological variability in shape datasets, with various applications in medical imaging and computer vision.

Yunhui He, Assistant Professor

Yunhui He Dr. He’s research interests lie primarily in the field of numerical analysis and scientific computing. Specifically, she works on finite element and finite difference for the numerical solution of partial differential equations, local Fourier analysis for multigrid methods, and nonlinear acceleration methods for optimization problems. For teaching, she is interested in courses in the general areas of numerical linear algebra, numerical analysis, and scientific computing.

Transition from Lecturer to Clinical Faculty - Mathematics, teachHOUSTON
Jacqueline Ekeoba, Clinical Assistant Professor

Jacqueline Ekeoba Dr. Ekeoba is a clinical assistant professor and Master Teacher with the teachHOUSTON program. She completed her doctoral degree within the STEM education program at Texas Tech University, with specializations in argumentation, global collaboration, STEM integration, and anti-racist education in secondary STEM contexts. She has participated in community outreach and engagement initiatives focused on social justice in STEM education.

Department of Physics

Xiao-Jia Chen, Professor

Xiao-Jia Chen Dr. Chen is a professor in condensed matter physics. His research focuses on the exploration and discovery of quantum materials with novel properties such as superconductivity, quantum criticality, topology, and thermoelectricity or some combinations like topological superconductivity or topological thermoelectricity through experimental and theoretical efforts. The research is aimed to understand the fundamental physics of such complex quantum phenomena and find the route for their technological applications. He teaches courses on quantum physics.

Rubem Mondaini, Assistant Professor

Rubem Mondaini Dr. Mondaini is a physicist focused on the study of quantum many-body systems. He employs scientific computing methods to understand the behavior of quantum-correlated matter within regimes of in- and out-of-equilibrium. Among his specific interests are the interplay of charge ordering, magnetism, and pairing in high-Tcs as well as in applications of quantum computing to solve exponentially intractable problems in classical computers.