• Tifton

    “The Smart Communities Challenge is a great way for communities of all sizes to start thinking about how they leverage their public, private, and non-profit assets towards preparing for the future.”

    -Chris Clark, CEO, Georgia Chamber

  • Roswell

Research Partners & Advisors

Research Partners & Advisors

Georgia Smart projects must include a research component as part of the community’s project plan. This research component should be designed in conjunction with a Georgia Tech researcher who will lead the research effort and who may also be used for general assistance during the proposal and project execution phases. The research component is open-ended, but it must be technology-focused and it must directly advance the community’s project goals, or otherwise generally align with the community’s overall needs, goals, and vision.

Faculty research partners will be available during the Georgia Smart Community Growth workshop, but before that, communities can learn about potential research collaborators and get ideas for their research component. Communities are encouraged to reach out and connect with these Georgia Tech researchers for more information about their research and availability for consultation or teaming.

Omar Isaac Asensio, Ph.D.

Dr. Omar Issac Asensio is Assistant Professor in the School of Public Policy. His research focuses on big data and public policy. He conducts field experiments and uses evidence from big data to make causal inferences about incentives and behavior in areas such as energy, transportation and urban sustainability. His research has been published in general interest journals such as Nature Energy and PNAS. He is winner of the 2015 ONE-NBS Research Impact on Practice Award by the Academy of Management ONE Division. At Georgia Tech, he is also affiliated with the Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS), the Strategic Energy Institute, and the Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory (CEPL).

Email Omar


Baabak Ashuri, Ph.D.

Dr. Baabak Ashuri is Associate Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Building Construction as well as the Director of the Construction Research Center. His research focuses on Economic Decision Analysis of Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure Systems. This multidisciplinary field lies at the intersection of Project Management, Asset Management, and Quantitative and Computational Finance. His work has significant implications for improving long-term planning and integrated decision-making processes for buildings and infrastructure assets, as well as advancing economic/financial valuation methods for investments in major capital projects while preserving environmental and social conditions to foster resilient and sustainable development.

Email Baabak


Michael Balchanos, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Balchanos is research faculty with the School of Aerospace Engineering, where he serves as the Resilient Systems Branch lead at the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL). His areas of expertise include research work in dynamic systems modeling and simulation methods, as well as SoS-level integration techniques for enabling decision support in complex systems design, involving several applications such as smart energy infrastructures, electric reconfigurable naval ships and unmanned aerial vehicles. He is also leading ASDL's Automotive Systems Research Initiative with applications in electric vehicle energy-based sizing and optimization (EVs) as well as the development of SoS-level frameworks for the connected autonomous mobility ecosystem of the future. He obtained his Diploma in Physics from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Email Michael


Michael Best, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael L. Best is associate professor with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology where he directs the Technologies and International Development Lab. He was founding director of the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) in Macau SAR, China. Professor Best is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the widely read journal Information Technologies and International Development. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT and has served as director of Media Lab Asia in India and head of the eDevelopment group at the MIT Media Lab.

Email Michael


Doug Bodner, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Doug Bodner, P.E. is an instructor in the Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering and principal research engineer with the Tennenbaum Institute, where he leads a research program focusing on computational analysis and decision support for design, operation and transformation of systems and enterprises. This work combines systems engineering, operations research and interactive computing to seek novel solutions to large-scale problems such as cost-performance trade-offs in complex system design and development, efficient logistics for installation of wind energy farms, and counter-measures for mitigating adverse effects from counterfeit parts in supply chains.

Email Doug


Marilyn Brown, Ph.D.

Dr. Marilyn Brown is a professor in the School of Public Policy where her research focuses on the design and impact of policies aimed at accelerating the development and deployment of sustainable energy technologies. Dr. Brown co-founded the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and chaired its Board of Directors for several years. She has served on the boards of directors of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Alliance to Save Energy, and was a commissioner with the Bipartisan Policy Center. She has served on 8 National Academies committees and currently serves on the editorial boards of three journals. She is serving her second term as a Presidential appointee to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation’s largest public power provider, and she serves on DOE’s Electricity Advisory Committee.

Email Marilyn


Lindsey Bullinger, Ph.D.

Dr. Lindsey Bullinger is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Policy, whose research examines how public policies affect children and families’ health and well-being, especially low-income families. Specifically, some of her work includes: studying the impact of infant safe haven laws on infant maltreatment fatalities; employment and minimum wage policy effects on children’s health and well-being; opioid abuse effects on child maltreatment and foster care entrance; and paid family leave effects on maternal and infant health. Her interest in early childhood health extends into maternal health and behaviors. She has also studied the effect of various components of the Affordable Care Act on maternal decision-making and health. Her work has been published in Contemporary Economic Policy, Children and Youth Services Review, Health Services Research, American Journal of Public Health, JAMA Pediatrics, and Maternal and Child Health Journal. Dr. Bullinger’s dissertation was funded by the Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being and the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy. She has also been co-investigator on grants from Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She has a PhD from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. She holds an MPA from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and a bachelor's degree from Miami University in Ohio.

Email Lindsey


Michael Chang, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Chang is a Senior Research Scientist and Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the Deputy Director for the Brooks Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems (BBISS) at Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute. His research focuses on technologies that will improve environmental, social, and economic outcomes. The BBISS's approach is to holistically integrate the disciplines of science, engineering, social science, policy, planning, design and business into the institute’s work. While the Institute’s interests span across a wide range of research problems, the BBISS is particularly focused on the emerging science of Gigatechnology. Dr. Chang received his Doctorate in Atmospheric Chemistry, Master’s in Environmental Public Policy, and Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering all from Georgia Tech.

Email Michael


Jennifer Clark, Ph.D.

Dr. Jennifer Clark is Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy where she is Director of the Center for Urban Innovation and Associate Director for Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation. Dr. Clark teaches courses on urban and regional economic development theory, analysis, and practice, as well as research design and methods. She specializes in the theory and analysis of the spatial organization of economic activity and regional economic development policy. Dr. Clark’s current research project includes a new book: Making Smart Cities: Innovation and the Production of New Urban Knowledge (Columbia University Press).

Email Jennifer


Russell Clark, Ph.D.

Dr. Russell Clark is a senior research scientist in the School of Public Policy where his research focuses on mobile development, networking, and the Internet of Things. Dr. Clark is the co-director of the Georgia Tech Research Network Operations Center (GT-RNOC) and principal leader of the Convergence Innovation Competition. He has played a leadership role in the NSF GENI project, leading both the GT campus trials effort as well as the GENI@SoX regional deployment and the Software Defined Exchange (SDX). Dr. Clark is active in the startup community, including roles with the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program and as a principle with Empire Technologies during its acquisition by Concord Communications.

Email Russell


Kim Cobb, Ph.D.

Dr. Kim Cobb is Georgia Power Chair and ADVANCE Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Science. Her research areas include dynamics of weather and climate, geochemistry in aquatic systems, coastal-zone and marine systems, and paleoclimate. She holds a Ph.D. in Oceanography from UC San Diego, and a B.S. in Geology and Biology from Yale.

Email Kim


Chris Cordell, Ph.D.

Dr. Chris Cordell is a research engineer in the Physics Modeling Group at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). Dr. Cordell's research areas include natural system modeling and policy centric simulations. Dr. Cordell was involved with GTRI researchers in the development of an agent-based, policy-centric simulation framework to help study how the design of transportation networks, the behavior of agents, natural and man-made disasters, and control policies impact the performance of transportation systems. The framework allows analysts and city planners to assess "what-if" scenarios as part of their planning exercises.

Email Chris


Emanuele Di Lorenzo, Ph.D.

Dr. Emanuele Di Lorenzo is Director of the Program in Ocean Science & Engineering and Professor of Ocean & Climate Dynamics in the School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences. His research interests include climate, ecosystem, and ocean dynamics, modeling and prediction. He is a member of the US CLIVAR Science Steering Committee and Chairman of the Physical Oceanography and Climate Committee.

Email Emanuele


Carl DiSalvo, Ph.D.

Dr. Carl DiSalvo is an Associate Professor in the Digital Media Program in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. Dr. DiSalvo directs the Public Design Workshop: a design research studio that explores socially-engaged design and civic media, is co-director of the Digital Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts Center and its Digital Civics initiative, and leads the Serve-Learn-Sustain Fellows program. Current research domains include civics, smart cities, the internet of things, food systems, and environmental monitoring. Across these domains, Dr. DiSalvo is interested in how practices of participatory and public design work to articulate issues and provide resources for new forms of collective action. He is currently involved in a project with the City of Atlanta to construct a robust archive of environmental data, from multiple sources using environmental sensor technologies.

Email Carl


Scott Duncan, Ph.D.

Dr. Scott Duncan is a Fellow in the Strategic Energy Institute and a Research Engineer in the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory in the School of Aerospace Engineering. His current research interests includes the "Smart Grid" including peak load reduction, loss reduction, outage management, and grid analytics for asset management, as well as advanced elctric grid modeling and simulation. Scott holds a Ph.D and Master's in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Bachelor's in Engineering Science & Mechanics from Virginia Tech.

Email Scott

Ellen Dunham-Jones

Ellen Dunham-Jones is a Professor in the School of Architecture and Director of the Master of Science in Urban Design degree. She is an authority on sustainable suburban redevelopment and a leading urbanist. Dunham-Jones serves on several national boards and committees, is former Chair of the Board of the Congress for the New Urbanism, lectures widely and conducts community workshops. In both her teaching and research she focuses on helping communities address 21st century challenges including autonomous vehicles and coping with climate change and suburban blight.

Email Ellen



David Frost, Ph.D.

Dr. David Frost is the Elizabeth and Bill Higginbotham Professor in Civil Engineering. He is co-chair of the NSF funded Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association which responds to natural disasters around the world that impact civil infrastructure. His research focuses on the development of digital data collection systems for studying infrastructure problems related to extreme events at multiple scales and he has received two US patents for multi-sensor systems. He has served on post-disaster study teams in US, Turkey, India, China, Chile and Japan as well as at the World Trade Center following the 9/11 attacks. He is the former Director of Georgia Tech’s Savannah campus.

Email David


Emily Grubert, Ph.D.

Dr. Emily Grubert is an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and, by courtesy, of Public Policy. She is a computational social scientist who studies how we can make better decisions about large infrastructure systems, with a particular focus on societal priorities and energy and water systems in the US. Dr. Grubert is particularly interested in investigating ways to use computational social science and digital humanities techniques to measure socioenvironmental attitudes expressed in fiction, nonfiction, and both present-day and historical ephemeral texts like community meeting minutes, court cases, newspapers, and social media. She is working on ways to make decision making more just, effective, and informed. She holds a Ph.D. in Environment and Resources from Stanford University.

Email Emily


Subhro Guhathakurta, Ph.D.

Dr. Subhro Guhathakurta is the Director for the Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization and a professor in the School of City and Regional Planning in the College of Design. Dr. Guhathakurta was previously associate director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University (ASU) and among the founding faculty members of ASU’s School of Sustainability. Dr. Guhathakurta’s research focuses on computational infrastructure for assessing how decisions made about urban growth and change by urban actors (households, firms, civic leaders, etc.) relate to sustainability outcomes. He has developed metrics and benchmarks for assessing sustainability outcomes as well as having an interest in making communication in the sustainability field intuitive and visualization techniques relevant to non-experts.

Email Subhro


Angshuman Guin, Ph.D.

Dr. Angshuman Guin is a Senior Research Engineer in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is a transportation systems engineer with 12 years’ experience in freeway operations, intelligent systems, transportation safety, and traffic simulation and data management. Dr. Guin’s current research is focused on SmartCity mobility, connected-and-autonomous-vehicles, freeway operations, ramp metering, and traffic simulations and is working projects for the National Science Foundation, Federal Highway Administration, GDOT, and GRTA.

Email Angshuman


Mary Hallisey Hunt

Mary Hallisey Hunt is a Senior Director of Planning and Operations for Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute. Her current projects investigate energy policy applications as they apply to technology development and deployment. This work includes feasibility studies for offshore wind development focused on stakeholder issues, coastal & marine spatial planning applications, and wind energy policy development & implementation. Her research and outreach activities include engagement with multiple state and federal agencies, non-government organizations and other stakeholder groups.

Email Mary

Michael Hunter, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Hunter is an Associate Professor at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His primary teaching and research interests are in transportation operations and design, specializing in adaptive signal control, traffic simulation, freeway geometric design, and arterial corridor operations. Before academia, Dr. Hunter worked as a transportation engineer at the Sear-Brown Group in Rochester, NY and has conducted numerous traffic impact studies, signal timing projects, freeway operation evaluations, and toll plaza analyses.

Email Michael


Roger Jiao, Ph.D.

Dr. Roger Jiao is an associate professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests focus on Computer-Aided Engineering and Design and Manufacturing; Enterprise and industrial systems engineering, information engineering for complex engineered systems, production and operations management, affective design, decision-based design, and human-machine interfaces. He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and an M.S. and B.S. from Tianjin University, China.

Email Roger


Keith Kaseman

Keith Kaseman is an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture. He is a designer, advanced production strategist and architectural educator. Driven to explore unique spatial potentials embedded within complex urban conditions throughout his research, Keith’s experimental studios have operated within cities including New York, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Prague, Philadelphia and, most notably, Rio de Janeiro. With both his research and coursework spanning a wide spectrum of advanced design and production workflows, Keith is also the Director of the newly formulated Master of Science in Architecture | Advanced Production concentration.

Email Keith


Olga Kemenova

Olga Kemenova is a Research Engineer with the Georgia Tech Research Institute - Aerospace, Transportation, and Advanced Systems Lab. Her research interests include air quality and transportation systems, policy analysis and analytics, data mining, and social networks analysis. She has a BS/MS in Mechanical Engineering from St. Petersburg Marine Technical University and an MS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech.

Email Olga



Jayma Koval

Jayma Koval is a Research Associate at Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). Through this position she engages in educational research in the K-12 setting; develops curriculum for NSF and other large grant funded projects; and organizes and conducts teacher professional development sessions related to developed curriculum, STEM integration and NGSS alignment and implementation.

Email Jayma



Amit Kumar, Ph.D.

Dr. Amit Kumar is a research scientist at the Center for Quality Growth & Regional Development in the College of Architecture. His research focuses on Transportation Planning and Transportation Systems Analysis including traffic assignment techniques especially for the static demand case, day-to-day dynamical model for traffic disequilibrium, concept of entropy and its application in transportation planning, discrete choice models, network optimization techniques, system-of-systems based approach for modeling the infrastructure interdependencies. Before joining Georgia Tech he worked as the research Associate in Discovery Park at Purdue University. He holds a Ph.D. in Transportation and Infrastructure Systems from Purdue University in 2014 and a master’s degree in Transportation Systems Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India. He received his Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from MIT Muzaffarpur, India.

Email Amit


Christopher Le Dantec, Ph.D.

Dr. Christopher Le Dantec is an Associate Professor in the Digital Media Program in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. His research is focused on the area of digital civics emerging from the intersection of participatory design, digital democracy, and smart cities. Dr. Le Dantec co-created the Cycle Atlanta smartphone app for recording bicycle trips by Atlanta cyclists (http://cycleatlanta.org). The GPS data collected will assist city planners in making data driven planning decisions relating to new bike lanes, cycle tracks, trails, and other facilities.

Email Christopher


Jung-Ho Lewe, Ph.D.

Dr. Jung-Ho Lewe is a Research Engineer in the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory in the School of Aerospace Engineering. His research includes agent-based modeling & simulation, transporation demand, system dynamics, stochastic optimization, air transport network modeling, personal air vehicles, and systems-of-systems engineering.

Email Jung-Ho


Nancey Green Leigh, Ph.D.

Dr. Nancey Green Leigh is Associate Dean for Research in the College of Design and Professor in the School of City and Regional Planning. Dr. Leigh has active research programs in industrial robotics and has led a large scale research effort by three universities focused on sustainable industrial systems for urban regions. Additional research has included brownfields, urban land and manufacturing, and resilient infrastructure. Dr. Leigh’s long term focus is on advancing sustainable development for local and regional economies. She also oversees the College of Design’s seven major research units and is engaged in building research connections within Georgia Tech between the College of Design, other colleges and Interdisciplinary Research Institutes, as well as to external funders and collaborators in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Email Nancey

Margaret Loper, Ph.D.

Dr. Margaret Loper is a Principal Research Scientist at Georgia Tech Research Institute. She is the Chief Scientist of the Information & Communications Laboratory, Associate Director – Trust at GT Institute for Information Security & Privacy (IISP), and the Chief Technology Officer of the Center for the Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies (CDAIT). She has been involved in modeling and simulation research for more than 30 years, specifically focused on parallel and distributed systems. She has led projects on compliance testing and federation testing, as well as the interoperability of live, virtual and constructive systems. Margaret teaches simulation courses for both academic and professional education, and she is involved in projects that bring modeling and simulation into K-12 education. Her current research is in the area of computational trust algorithms for machine-to-machine communications. Loper earned a Doctorate in computer science from Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master's in computer engineering from the University of Central Florida, and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Clemson University.

Email Margaret

Mackenzie Madden

Mackenzie Madden is the Associate Director of Communications and Planning in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. She is also the Associate Director of the Westside Communities Alliance. Her focus is in public policy, public health, event planning and communications. She holds an M.S. in City and Regional Planning from Georgia Tech and a B.A. in Advertising from UGA.

Email Mackenzie


Kamran Paynabar, Ph.D.

Dr. Kamran Paynabar is an assistant professor in the Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering. Dr. Paynabar’s research interests comprise both applied and theoretical aspects of data mining and statistical modeling integrated with engineering knowledge. His current research focuses on the analysis of high-dimensional complex data including multi-stream signals, images, videos, point-clouds and network data, for system modeling, monitoring, diagnostics and prognostics.

Email Kamran


Lalith Polepeddi

Lalith Polepeddi has a Masters Degree in Computer Science & Engineering from Georgia Tech, and is currently employed as a Research Scientist with the Global Change Program. His expertise includes building cloud systems to ingest, process, and store data from “Internet of Things” sensors; building APIs to make data available for use; creating machine learning models to make predictions based on past data. He is currently working on a project to employ virtual reality to create climate stories that capture how climate change is affecting Georgia communities and what those communities are doing in response.

Email Lalith



Arthi Rao, Ph.D.

Dr. Arthi Rao is a research scientist at the Center for Quality Growth & Regional Development in the College of Design. Dr. Rao’s research interests focus on social/spatial analytics, equity and access. She uses methods including spatial clustering, data mining/classification techniques and hierarchical modeling in her research. She has integrated these methods to create decision-support tools for academic and industrial applications. Dr. Rao regularly collaborates with researchers at The Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech and the American Planning Association as a subject matter expert on healthy communities’ research and geospatial methods. She has published in journals on the topics of Health Impact Assessment (HIA), sustainability, walkability analysis, regional planning, and therapeutic landscapes. She has an interdisciplinary doctorate in Urban Planning, Epidemiology, and Geographic Information Systems from Georgia Tech/Emory.

Email Arthi


Robert Rosenberger, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert Rosenberger is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy. His research in the philosophy of technology explores the habitual relationships people develop with everyday devices such as e-reading and television, with applications in design and policy. This includes lines of research into the driving impairment of smartphone usage, the educational advantages of computer-simulated frog dissection, the roles of imaging devices in scientific debates, and the critique of anti-homeless design in public spaces. He received his PhD in philosophy from Stony Brook University.

Email Robert


Catherine Ross, Ph.D.

Dr. Catherine L. Ross directs the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development and serves as the Harry West Professor in City and Regional Planning and Civil Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Ross is an internationally known urban planner. Her areas of expertise include research on planning at the scale of the megaregion and sustainability. Dr. Ross served as the Executive Director for the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, a board member of MARTA. She has served as a senior policy advisor for the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academy of Sciences and recently served on the executive committees of TRB and the Eno Transportation Foundation. She currently serves as a Board Director of the Auto Club Group (ACG) the second largest member club of the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Email Catherine


Ted Russell, Ph.D.

Dr. Armistead (Ted) Russell is the Howard T. Tellepsen Chair and Regents Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Russell’s research is aimed at better understanding the dynamics of air pollutants at urban and regional scales and assessing their impacts on health and the environment to develop approaches to design strategies to effectively improve air quality. He currently co-directs the Southeastern Center for Air Pollution and Epidemiology and the NSF Sustainability Research Network “Environmentally Sustainable, Healthy and Livable Cities” project.

Email Ted


Alex Samoylov, Ph. D.

Dr. Alex Samoylov is a senior research scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). Dr. Samoylov's research areas include Intelligent Transportation Systems, Traffic Modeling, and Transportation Safety and Emissions. He is currently researching improved modeling for transportation systems and traffic analysis.

Email Alex


Jon Sanford

Jon Sanford is a Professor in the School of Industrial Design and director of the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access. Mr. Sanford is internationally-recognized for his expertise in universal design, accessible design, and design for aging, and is the director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies for Successful Aging with Disability, supported by DHHS.

Email Jon


Dennis Shelden, Ph.D.

Dr. Dennis Shelden is an associate professor and Director of the Digital Building Laboratory in the School of Architecture. Dennis is an expert in applications of digital technology to building design, construction and operations, with experience spanning across research, technology development and professional practice including multiple architecture, building engineering and computing disciplines. He led the development of architect Frank Gehry’s digital practice as Director of R&D and Director of Computing from 1997-2002. In 2002, he co-founded Gehry Technologies where he served as Chief Technology Officer, launched the development of several commercial software products, and was project executive on several of the world’s most recognizable and advanced building projects.

Email Dennis


Richard Simmons, Ph.D.

Dr. Richard Simmons is a Senior Research Engineer and Fellow at Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute (SEI). He directs cross-cutting energy projects with an emphasis on clean electric power, vehicle efficiency and alternative fuels. Dr. Simmons is also Director of the Energy Policy and Innovation Center (EPICenter) whose objective is to perform research and outreach in energy policy and innovation with a distinctively regional perspective. He is a part-time instructor in Georgia Tech’s Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in design, mechatronics, and thermal systems. Simmons received his BS from Georgia Tech, and MS and Ph.D. from Purdue, all in Mechanical Engineering. He is a licensed professional engineer (PE) with more than 20 years of RD&D experience in automotive, advanced materials, and alternative energy and fuels.

Email Richard

Yuanzhi Tang, Ph.D.

Dr. Yuanzhi Tang is Assistant Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Science. Her research interests address the complex interworking between human activities and the natural environment by exploring the chemical reactions occurring at the microbe-mineral-water interface from molecule to macroscopic scale. Her work investigates the biogeochemical cycling of important nutrients in complex environmental settings. She holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Geosciences from Stony Brook University and a B.S. in Geology and B.Ec. in Economics from Peking University, China.

Email Yuanzhi


John Taylor, Ph.D.

Dr. John Taylor is the Frederick Law Olmsted Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Taylor studies the dynamics where human and engineered networks meet encouraging engineered infrastructure to be resiliant and serve society’s needs while creating more livable and healthy communities. Dr. Taylor developed a virtual reality system integrating spatial and temporal data collected from real and simulated sources into a system for planners and analysts to perform "what if" scenarios on realistically complex data sets.

Email John


Valerie Thomas, Ph.D.

Dr. Valerie Thomas is the Anderson-Interface Professor of Natural Systems in the H. Milton School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, with a joint appointment in the School of Public Policy. Dr. Thomas's research interests are energy and materials efficiency, sustainability, industrial ecology, technology assessment, international security, and science and technology policy. Current research projects include the environmental impacts of biofuels, and electricity system development. Dr. Thomas serves on the DOE/USDA Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee. From 2004 to 2005, she was the American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellow. Dr. Thomas was a Member of the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board from 2003 to 2009. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the American Physical Society.

Email Valerie


Iris Tien, Ph.D.

Dr. Iris Tien is Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She has a unique interdisciplinary background that encompasses traditional topics of civil engineering, sensing and data analytics, signal processing, machine learning, probabilistic risk assessment, stochastic processes, and decision making under uncertainty. Dr. Tien has conducted research on wireless sensor networks in the monitoring of structures under seismic hazard as well as in gait analysis for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. She holds a Ph.D. in Civil Systems Engineering and an M.S. and B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley.

Email Iris


Beril Toktay, Ph.D.

Dr. Beril Toktay is Professor of Operations Management, Brady Family Chairholder and ADVANCE Professor in the Scheller College of Business. Her primary research areas are sustainable operations and supply chain management and currently teaches Business Strategies for Sustainability in MBA and Executive Education programs. Dr. Toktay is the founding Faculty Director of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business and the co-architect and Executive Co-Director of Georgia Tech's Serve.Learn.Sustain Quality Enhancement Plan.

Email Beril


Yichang (James) Tsai, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Tsai is a Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Adjunct Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research is in the areas of construction and infrastructure systems engineering, transportation systems engineering, smart cities, sustainable communities, and big data. Since 1997, Dr. Tsai has worked with GDOT developing and implimenting a large-scale pavement preservation and management system to manage conditions and repairs on Georgia's 18,000-miles of highways. He also works with sensing technologies including Lidar and cameras to automatically inventory roadside assets (signs, guardrails, etc), and his work in this field was selected for the 2017 AASHO High Value Research Award for its innovation and broad impact. Dr. Tsai holds a Ph.D in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Email James

Kari Watkins, Ph.D.

Dr. Kari Watkins, P.E., is the Frederick Law Olmsted Associate Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Watkins’ teaching and research interests revolve around multi-modal transportation planning and the use of technology in transportation, especially as related to transit planning and operations and improved traveler information. Dr. Watkins co-created the Cycle Atlanta smartphone app for recording bicycle trips by Atlanta cyclists (http://cycleatlanta.org) and while at the University of Washington, co-created the OneBusAway program (http://onebusaway.org) to provide real-time next bus countdown information and other transit information tools for transit riders in the greater Seattle-Tacoma.

Email Kari


Yao Xie, Ph.D.

Dr. Yao Xie is an assistant professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering where her research focuses on signal processing, statistical methods, big data analysis, and machine learning. In 2017, Dr. Yao used machine learning tools to mine unstructured Atlanta police report data to uncover hidden and complex correlations between crime incidences leading police to become more effective while encouraging better outcomes in the community.

Email Yao


Shannon Yee, Ph.D.

Dr. Shannon Yee is an Assistant Professor in the G.W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Yee’s research focuses on translating new fundamental scientific discoveries into applied energy conversion technologies.  By understanding how heat and energy flow through materials, energy conversion mechanisms and processes can be integrated into functional devices. The ultimate goal of his research is to take fundamental scientific principles, apply them to interesting materials, leverage unique manufacturing strengths, and produce low-cost, scalable, energy conversion technologies.He was named the first fellow to the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), in 2010 and was awarded the prestigious Hertz Fellowship in 2008 to support his graduate studies and research in energy.

Email Shannon


Jeannette Yen, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeannette Yen is Professor in the School of Biological Sciences. Her research is focused on the study of aquatic chemical ecology, biomaterials, and systems biology, while her lab employs graduate and undergraduate students alike in the pursuit of understanding marine zooplankton interaction, behavior, morphology, ecology and reproductive strategies. Current research topics range from the study of harmful algal blooms effect on marine copepod behavior to understanding the swimming behavior and hydrodynamics.

Email Jeannette


Ellen Zegura, Ph.D.

Dr. Ellen Zegura is the Fleming Endowed Chair in the School of Computer Science where her work focuses on computer networking and computing for social good. In 2008, she helped create the Computing for Good initiative in the College of Computing, a project-based teaching and research activity that focuses on the use of computing to solve pressing societal problems.  She runs a summer internship program called Civic Data Science and is the faculty co-director of the Center for Serve Learn Sustain, a campus-wide initiative to bring together community engagement and sustainability efforts. She is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the ACM, and an elected member of the Computing Research Association Board (CRA).

Email Ellen