John Lach is the dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Dr. Lach joined SEAS from the University of Virginia, where he served most recently as the director of cross-cutting initiatives at the university’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and as a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He previously served as the chair of the department. Throughout his career, Dr. Lach has worked extensively with departments, schools, and initiatives to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration that supports strategic priorities. As a researcher, he focuses on wireless technologies in health. Dr. Lach received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from UCLA. See Dean Lach’s full profile. Email Dean Lach.
Rumana Riffat is the school's Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and a professor of civil engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She has been a member of the SEAS faculty since 1994, and served most recently as the school's interim dean. Dr. Riffat received her Ph.D. from Iowa State University. Her research centers on sustainable water and wastewater treatment, advanced processes for nutrient removal, and anaerobic digestion. Dr. Riffat has been involved in a number of national and international research projects with Water Environment and Reuse Foundation, DC Water, and USAID. She is the author of “Fundamentals of Wastewater Treatment and Engineering,” which is used as a textbook at various universities in the United States and other countries.
Lijie Grace Zhang is the school's associate dean for research and a professor of engineering and applied science in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Dr. Zhang received her Ph.D. from Brown University. She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Her lab is focused on applying advanced 3D/4D bioprinting, nanotechnology, and stem cells for complex tissue regeneration and various disease treatments.
Jason Zara is the school's associate dean for undergraduate studies and a professor of biomedical engineering in the Department of Biomedical Engineering . Dr. Zara received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University. He has been on the faculty of the School of Engineering and Applied Science since 2002, and previously served as the associate chair for academic affairs for the Biomedical Engineering Department and represented SEAS in the GW faculty senate from 2017-2021 serving as the chair and co-chair for the faculty senate committee on educational policy and technology. He has been active in undergraduate education, advising, and curriculum development and has won numerous teaching award including GW’s Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence in 2020. Dr. Zara’s research interests are in the development of novel imaging instrumentation and image analysis algorithms to improve the detection and evaluation of epithelial cancers, epilepsy, and other human diseases.
Majid Manzari is a professor of civil engineering and the chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Manzari received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California, Davis. His research centers on experimental and computational geomechanics, earthquake-resistant infrastructure systems, and constitutive modeling of engineering materials. He has been a member of the SEAS faculty since 1994.
Zoe Szajnfarber is the inaugural SEAS Director of Strategic Initiatives (DSI). In this role Professor Szajnfarber oversees the school's strategic initiatives, such as Trustworthy AI, and works with faculty leaders, Department Chairs, and the Dean's Office to support the conception, development, implementation, execution, and sunsetting of strategic initiatives. Dr. Szajnfarber received her Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research group seeks to understand the fundamental dynamics of innovation in the monopsony market that characterizes government space and defense activities, as a basis for decision making.
Michael Plesniak is a professor of engineering and applied science and the chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Dr. Plesniak received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. He is a Fellow of ASME, AIAA, APS and AAAS. His research interests include: fluid dynamics, turbulence and complex flows, mixing phenomena, and biofluid dynamics—cardiovascular flows and human speech production. He has been a member of the SEAS faculty since 2008 and was formerly a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University and a program director at the National Science Foundation.
Vesna Zderic is the chair of Bio Medical Engineering and Associate Chair for Research and Graduate Affairs. Dr Zderic received her Ph.D, University of Washington. Her research objective has been to determine combinations of ultrasound parameters that can provide optimal delivery of different drugs into the eye, study mechanisms of ultrasound action, and determine long-term safety of this application.
Ekundayo Shittu is an associate professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering and Interim Department Chair. Dr. Shittu recieved his Ph.D. Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, University of Massachusetts Amherst. He conducts basic and applied research that take a systems engineering approach to aid decision making under uncertainty on investments into energy technology portfolios and the economics of climate change response policies.
Rebecca Hwa is a professor and department chair of Computer Science. Her research sits at the intersection of natural language process, machine learning, and human computer interaction. Her work focuses on developing machine learning methods that reveal the hidden syntactic and semantic structures within languages. These methods have applications in diverse domains, including health, education, and the social sciences. Some of her recent projects include: modeling student behaviors in revising argumentative essays, identifying symbolisms in multimodal rhetorics, and recognizing group biases in social media.