Engineering Faculty Expands by a More Than a Dozen for Fall 2022

new faculty

The start of the Fall 2022 semester saw not only new students at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering but over a dozen new faculty members in all our five academic departments.


Prof. Ebrahim Ahmadisharaf

Ebrahim Ahmadisharaf

Ebrahim Ahmadisharaf, Ph.D., Research Faculty I in Civil and Environmental Engineering – Ahmadisharaf earned his doctorate in civil engineering from Tennessee Technological University and is a researcher at the RIDER Center. His focus areas are compound hydroclimatic extremes, flood impacts on water pollution and public health, surface water pollution, socioenvironmental systems, coupled inland-coastal systems, natural and nature-based features, water systems under nonstationarity, resilient water infrastructures, and sustainable water management.


Huikuan Chao

Huikuan Chao, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering – Chao will be on campus in Jan. 2023, where he will join the faculty from Dow Chemical Company’s core R&D, Materials Science team. His research focuses on molecular models and theories and data-driven approaches to accelerate the development and formulation of polymer products, including polymer nanocomposites, polymer foams (PU & Silicone foams), and surfactants. Chao earned his doctorate in chemical and biomedical engineering (2017) and was a postdoc in chemical engineering at Caltech.

Prof. Ebrahim Ahmadisharaf

Peter Cheetham

Peter Cheetham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering - Cheetham received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Florida State University in 2017. During his graduate degree, he was also a research assistant at the Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS), where he assisted in the operation and maintenance of the High Voltage Laboratory. Upon graduation, he became a postdoctoral scholar at CAPS and was the lead researcher in the High Voltage Laboratory. He is transitioning to tenure-line faculty in this highly specialized electrical engineering and superconducting materials research.

Dean Suvranu De

Suvranu De

Suvranu De, Sc.D., Dean and Professor of Mechanical Engineering – De joined the college from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s School of Engineering. He was most recently the J Erik Jonsson ’22 Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Head of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering (MANE) and founding director of the Center for Modeling, Simulation, and Imaging in Medicine (CeMSIM). De received his bachelor’s from Jadavpur University, India, in 1993; master’s from the Indian Institute of Science in 1995; and doctorate from MIT in 2001, all in mechanical engineering. Dean De’s research encompasses virtual reality, noninvasive neuroimaging, and artificial intelligence and their applications to high-impact problems in health care.

Prof. Michael Elwardany

Michael Elwardany

Michael Elwardany, Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering – Elwardany earned his Ph.D. degree in civil engineering at North Carolina State University under the supervision of Dr. Y. Richard Kim and Dr. Cassie Castorena in Dec. 2017. He was hired in the same year to work as a lead research engineer and the program manager for paving asphalts at the University of Wyoming Research Corporation, Western Research Institute. His work on pavement sustainability and resilience will complement the ongoing interdisciplinary research at the Resilient Infrastructure & Disaster Response (RIDER) center at FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Prof. Pedro Fernández-Cabán

Pedro Fernández-Cabán

Pedro Fernández-Cabán, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering – Fernández-Cabán’s research applies experimental techniques, computational modeling, design optimization and cyber-physical methods to enhance the performance of civil infrastructure under natural hazards. He has conducted extensive research in boundary layer wind tunnels and has been involved in several field experiments to characterize the near-surface wind field during landfalling hurricanes. He is a 2020 Fellow of the NSF-supported Enabling the Next Generation of Hazards and Disasters Researchers Fellowship Program led by the Natural Hazards Center (NHC). He earned his doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Florida (2017).

Prof. Ernesto Garcia Contreras

Ernesto Garcia Contreras

Ernesto Garcia Contreras, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty II in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering – Garcia joins the faculty focusing on senior design mentoring. Most recently, he was a senior director at Crowley Maritime, leading high-performance groups of Black Belts, Lean Experts, CX/IT specialists, statisticians, and industrial engineers at the international company. He fostered productive partnerships for data pipelines, business intelligence dashboards, and machine learning solutions for Fortune 500 clients and the corporation. Garcia is also the managing director of Appaloosa Engineering LLC. He earned a doctorate in industrial engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he was also a Fulbright Scholar.

Taylor Higgins

Taylor Higgins, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering – Higgins joins the faculty in Jan. 2023. She earned a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame (2022) and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin. Higgins’ research encompasses physical human/robot interactions and advanced control systems for human health.

Prof. Z. Leonardo Liu

Z. Leonardo Liu

Z. Leonardo Liu, Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering – Liu joins the faculty after earning his Ph.D. from Georgia Tech (2020). His research focus areas are complex fluids, biofluid mechanics, thrombosis and hemostasis, medical devices, multiscale modeling, and artificial intelligence.

Prof. Sam Mao

Sam Manuel Mao

Sam Manuel Mao, Ph.D., Research Faculty I in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering – Mao received his Ph.D. from Purdue University (2019). He is a data scientist developing data visualization and deep learning tools on micrographs and videos for characterization at multi-length/time scales. His work focuses on microstructure characterization and small-scale mechanical testing on irradiated materials and includes in-situ SEM/TEM on alloys, ceramics, and composites under extreme conditions.

Prof. Naser Tibi

Naser Tibi

Naser Tibi, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering – Tibi earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida (1995) and joins the faculty focused on entrepreneurial engineering projects and commercialization. His research interests include optimization models in energy and environment, energy and environment management systems, air quality management systems, and facility layout.

Marcos Vasconcelos

Marcos Vasconcelos, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering – Vasconelos joins the faculty in Jan. 2023. He is currently a research assistant professor with the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative at Virginia Tech. Before that, he was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Southern California. Vasconcelos earned a doctorate in electrical engineering at the University of Maryland (2016) and researches 5G cellular communication and security.

Prof. Ebrahim Ahmadisharaf

Scott Wasman

Scott Wasman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering – Wasman was most recently a research assistant at the University of Florida, where he also earned his Ph.D. in civil engineering. His research focus includes soil mechanics, soil interaction, geotechnical reliability, bioinspired geotechnics, and coastal and ecosystem geotechnics.