Six Electrical Engineering PhDs Appointed to Faculty Positions at Top Universities in the US and China

Rosa Fernández
September 13, 2018

Columbia’s Electrical Engineering Department is pleased to announce the academic faculty appointment of five PhD graduates and one PhD candidate who will be assuming new positions at top universities in the United States and China starting in fall 2018 and continuing through 2020. While they were students at Columbia, they worked closely with Electrical Engineering faculty and earned recognition for their work across disciplines and a broad range of research topics.

“We are incredibly proud of our doctoral students and their accomplishments,” said Peter Kinget, Department Chair and Bernard J. Lechner Professor of Electrical Engineering.

“We look forward to seeing their careers unfold, and encouraging their continuing, exciting journeys.” Meet Six New Electrical Engineering Emerging Leaders:

Jelena Diakonikolas

Jelena Diakonikolas, PhD, will join the University of Wisconsin-Madison as assistant professor in the department of computer sciences in spring 2020. From fall 2018 through 2019, she will spend three semesters at UC Berkeley as a Simons-Berkeley Research Fellow at the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing, to be followed by a postdoc position at the newly established Foundations of Data Analysis Institute.

“I am most excited about starting my own research program and establishing a research group,” said Diakonikolas.

Diakonikolas completed her PhD degree in electrical engineering at Columbia, where she was co-advised by Professors Gil Zussman and Clifford Stein. Her research interests include large-scale optimization with a focus on first-order methods and their applications in engineering, networked systems, and machine learning. She has won numerous awards, including the Morton B. Friedman Prize for Excellence at Columbia Engineering.

Yu Gan, PhD

Yu Gan, PhD, becomes assistant professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at the University of Alabama in fall 2018. Gan focuses on machine learning and computer vision to visualize biomedical/medical images. He integrates artificial intelligence techniques with biomedical data analysis, which means sifting through massive image data and extracting meaningful information, with the ultimate goal of generating new knowledge and providing actionable guidance for clinical applications.

Gan said he is most excited about “the possibility of exploring unknowns, of discovering what is behind the data, and of making a positive impact on others” at the University of Alabama.

While studying under Professor Christine P. Hendon, Gan received his PhD degree in electrical engineering at Columbia in 2017, followed by a postdoctoral position. Gan has received multiple awards, including the Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship, Wei Family Private Foundation Fellowship, and travel grants from the Biomedical Engineering Society (BES) and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

Maria Gorlatova, PhD

Maria Gorlatova, PhD, becomes assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at Duke University in fall 2018. Her research goals include making Internet of Things (IoT) deployments more intelligent and adaptive, and automating engineering design decisions around them to the point that complete IoT systems can be created with a few clicks of a button.

“Generating fundamentally new knowledge and changing how we see the world based on it is something truly special for me,” said Gorlatova. “I am really excited to build my own lab and to develop my independent research.”

Gorlatova earned BSc and MSc degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Ottawa, Canada. She completed her PhD degree in electrical engineering at Columbia in the Wireless and Mobile Networking Laboratory led by Professor Gil Zussman. After completing her PhD, Gorlatova held positions in research, development, and business strategy at D. E. Shaw Research, the IBM Corporate Headquarters Chief Economist’s Office, and the EDGE Lab at Princeton University.

Yuye Ling, PhD

Yuye Ling, PhD, becomes assistant professor in the department of electronic engineering, John Hopcroft Center for Computer Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, in fall 2018. At Columbia, he worked towards his doctoral degree under the supervision of Professor Christine P. Hendon in the Structure-Function Imaging Laboratory. His research is focused on designing and developing the next generation of swept source optical coherence tomography systems with higher stability, faster speed, and less data bandwidth.

“I am excited to return to my alma mater and hometown in China and eager to inspire my students as I was inspired by my professors in electrical engineering at Columbia,” said Ling.

Ling received his Bachelor’s degree in information engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University with a Shanghai Municipal Outstanding Graduate Award. Then he received his Master’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a PhD degree in electrical engineering at Columbia.

Negar Reiskarimian, PhD candidate

Negar Reiskarimian, PhD candidate, will join the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as an assistant professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer science in fall 2019. Her research interests include integrated circuits and systems, applied electromagnetics, and nanophotonics, with a focus on analog, radio-frequency, millimeter-wave and optical integrated circuits, metamaterials, and systems for a variety of applications, from emerging wireless communications paradigms to IoT, imaging, sensing, and opto/bio-electronics.

“I am interested in answering fundamental questions that lead to new research fields and breakthroughs. MIT focuses on research and teaching, and I look forward to being part of that mission,” said Reiskarimian.

Reiskarimian received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in 2011 and 2013, respectively, in electrical engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. Currently she is a PhD candidate in electrical engineering at Columbia studying under Professor Harish Krishnaswamy. Her work has earned her a number of awards, including the Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award, the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship, and the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society Predoctoral Achievement Award.

Rabia Tugce Yazicigil, PhD

Rabia Tugce Yazicigil, PhD, becomes assistant professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at Boston University in fall 2018, after a postdoctoral position at MIT. Her research interests are at the interface of electronics with a specific focus on analog and radio frequency integrated circuits, security, signal processing, and wireless communications to innovate system-level solutions for future energy-constrained applications in the context of IoT.

“I am very excited to build a strong research group that is full of intellectually curious and hard-working students who are willing to continuously learn and develop innovative system solutions that will have broader scientific and societal impact,” said Yazicigil, who is inspired by making a contribution to people’s lives through the creation of new technologies.

Yazicigil completed her PhD degree in electrical engineering at Columbia in 2016, where she was co-advised by Professors Peter Kinget and John Wright. In 2009, she received her BS degree in electronics engineering from Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. In 2011, she received her MS degree in electrical and electronics engineering from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2015, she was selected among the top 61 female graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to present her research at the MIT Rising Stars in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Workshop.

Congratulations to our PhD students and alumni, and their faculty advisors!