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2014 New Faculty


Líney ÁrnadóttirLíney Árnadóttir

Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Washington, 2007


Increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have sparked a worldwide interest in finding more effective ways for the catalytic utilization and conversion of the heat trapping greenhouse gas. The answer lies in understanding surface reactions in order to develop better heterogeneous catalysts.


Líney Árnadóttir uniquely combines theoretical chemistry and experimental surface science to study catalytic surface reactions for renewable energy applications. Specifically, she examines the role of surface defects and electronic structure in activating water dissociation and CO2 reduction on novel materials such as nanodimensional noble metal clusters and metal oxides. Understanding how the reaction energy correlates to surface properties will lead to more efficient and sustainable catalytic processes.

Árnadóttir begins her appointment at Oregon State at an advantaged position with a grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, a donated X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy system, and a funded instrumental and computation user proposal at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Joe BaioJoe Baio

Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Washington, 2011


I was drawn to Oregon State by the genuine sense of collaboration at the department, college, and university levels. Here, young faculty can form relationships that spawn successful careers in both teaching and research.


Joe Baio’s research lies at the intersection of engineering and biology, specifically, the development of analytical methods to solve protein structures at biomaterial surfaces. Baio applies nonlinear optical spectroscopy, ultra-high vacuum, and synchrotron-based surface analysis techniques to characterize molecular self-assembly and study protein-surface interactions with molecular-level resolution. One current project examines protein-surface interactions that drive biomineralization (i.e., the self-assembly of bones, teeth, etc.).

A clear understanding of these interactions will enable the design of next-generation medical implants. Baio also is establishing methods to control and engineer molecular interactions for the production of protein-based biosensors, which will lead to the development of inexpensive diagnostic devices that can be deployed easily throughout the developing world.

Baio joins Oregon State after a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany.

Devlin MontfortDevlin Montfort

Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Washington State University, 2011


I’m interested in how education changes students’ deep ways of thinking about the world — their intuitions, beliefs, or mental models of how things work. The more we know about how people learn engineering, the easier it will be for any person to come to understand it. And when more people understand it, we will be better equipped as a society to deal with our sociological, technological, and environmental problems.


Devlin Montfort conducts research in engineering education, focusing on conceptual change and understanding, personal epistemology, and adoption of innovations. His work examines the ways in which people’s assumptions, previous knowledge, and personal epistemologies influence their learning. Understanding how people incorporate new ideas and ways of thinking is critical to helping students develop into innovative, highly skilled, and well-rounded engineers and citizens.

Montfort is the author of dozens of refereed journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings.

He is co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation-supported project that is developing research-based curricular materials to improve conceptual understanding in engineering education.

Tyler RadnieckiTyler Radniecki

Ph.D., Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, 2005


World energy and water supplies are under immense pressure from increasing global populations, economies, and climate change. My work enables the development of robust and sustainable wastewater treatment strategies that will provide clean and safe water for reuse purposes.


Tyler Radniecki uses molecular techniques in combination with traditional microbial and engineering methods to study biological processes in sustainable wastewater treatment systems and reuse applications. He examines 1) the fate of nanoparticles in wastewater treatment plants and their toxicity to beneficial wastewater bacteria, 2) the propagation of antibiotic resistance in bacteria exposed to pharmaceutical-containing wastewater effluent used for irrigation, and 3) how wastewater treatment plants can become net energy producers through the anaerobic transformation of fats, oils, and greases into methane. These studies will create a more robust, safer, and sustainable form of wastewater treatment that will ensure the production of safe and clean water for reuse purposes, and provide renewable energy solutions. Radniecki begins his appointment at Oregon State University having already secured grants from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Agriculture to pursue his research interests.

Travis WalkerTravis Walker

Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, 2013


Preparing students for leadership roles in science and engineering is paramount to continued prosperity. As knowledge continues to advance, instilling this drive to seek understanding through scholarship and research is essential, and sharing this knowledge with the community through collaborative efforts benefits everyone.


A vast number of manufacturing practices and biological materials involve highly structured and rheologically complex multiphase systems. Travis Walker combines experiment and theory to understand the flow physics of miscible, often non-Newtonian, liquids and complex fluids. Two examples of problems he investigates are exploring an expanded range of fluid mechanical operating conditions and fluid properties to uncover new morphological regimes, and examining how rheological changes in mucus affect cilia transport in patients with cystic fibrosis. Walker joins Oregon State following a productive doctoral program at Stanford that included five publications, 16 presentations, teaching experience, and multiple national awards.


Daniel Borello Daniel Borello

Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013


The structural engineering laboratory contains a wealth of testing equipment accompanied by a ‘can-do’ attitude. I wanted to join an institution with positive momentum, where everybody worked together as a team, and where I could make essential contributions. That place was Oregon State University.


Daniel Borello combines experimental testing and numerical simulations to study the behavior of large structures, particularly steel buildings. He is interested in sustainable infrastructure and mitigating the impact of earthquakes through innovative, replaceable structural systems including steel plate shear walls, self-centering systems, and supplemental energy dissipation devices. By facilitating economical yet resilient materials and systems, Borello aims to enhance the life cycle and safety of large structures while improving access to such structures in developing countries. His passion for teaching steel design and structural engineering placed him in the top 10 percent of instructors while at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Shane BrownShane Brown

Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Oregon State University, 2005


Theoretical contributions related to learning fundamental engineering concepts and the link between education and practice are vital to preparing students for an innovative and creative workforce. Oregon State has a strong commitment to developing and growing an engineering education research program and providing an exceptional academic experience for students. I chose OSU because of this commitment.


Shane Brown’s research interests are in cognition and learning, with a particular emphasis on conceptual change and situated cognition. His conceptual change research examines why concepts are harder to learn than others and how to develop environments that facilitate understanding, particularly within transportation and solid and fluid mechanics. His situated cognition research explores differences in ways of knowing and how core concepts are used in engineering practice. His efforts to develop and assess research-based educational interventions aim to enhance success and improve how they assimilate complex engineering concepts. Brown has more than five years of professional engineering experience. He has been recognized for both his research and teaching expertise, with a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the prestigious ASCE ExCEEd New Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award.

Daniel GillinsDaniel Gillins

Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of Utah, 2012


We can’t know for certain when the next big earthquake will hit, but we can prepare for it by quantifying and mapping the hazard in areas prone to major seismic events. My research uses empirical relationships to predict and map such hazards, which will help engineers, managers, and planners build communities that are more resilient to earthquakes.


Daniel Gillins’s current areas of research include geospatial data management, land tenure systems, boundary surveys and law, and geologic hazard mapping. Recently, he developed new liquefaction hazard mapping techniques to estimate the probability and uncertainty of liquefaction-induced ground failure under funding provided by the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program. He was also instrumental in mapping site- specific strong ground motions during an assessment of seismic vulnerability of University of Utah buildings, a project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Utah Department of Homeland Security. As a result of his research accomplishments, he received the Wayne Brown Fellowship, the largest fellowship bestowed by the College of Engineering at the University of Utah. In addition, Gillins has more than ten years of practical experience working in cadastral surveying where he led numerous large-scale and complex geodetic control and land-line survey projects for the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

Sal HernándezSal Hernández

Ph.D., Transportation Infrastructure Systems Engineering, Purdue University, 2010


Most of the time, traffic safety is addressed using a reactive approach. That is, problems are only acknowledged after they are evident. I believe we can save lives by developing tools for transportation professionals and industry operations managers to help them proactively identify safety issues and improve precautionary planning.

Sal Hernández’s research and teaching interests encompass transportation and infrastructure systems, including large-scale freight networks. Specifically, he uses mathematical and econometric modeling to understand the safety, security, environmental impacts, and corresponding policy implications within the transportation sector. He is developing novel modeling and assessment tools that will integrate traffic safety early in the transportation planning process to mitigate crashes and reduce infrastructure costs. In addition to his research efforts, Hernández has served in leadership positions for the Institute of Transportation Engineers, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. At the University of Texas at El Paso, he was co-principal investigator for a multi-million dollar research partnership funded by the Department of Agriculture that aims to increase opportunities for Hispanic students pursuing careers in sustainable energy.


Li-Jing (Larry) ChengLi-Jing (Larry) Cheng

Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 2008


Sensitive and rapid detection of biomarkers is essential to early diagnosis of diseases. My research group will explore cutting-edge materials, sensing mechanisms, and fabrication methods that will enhance our ability to design and develop medical diagnosis tools and save lives.


Larry Cheng’s research exploits the unique physical properties associated with the nanoscale to investigate novel materials and develop integrated medical devices for diagnostics. In one recent project, Cheng developed biosensors for virus detection and is progressing to find new applications for early cancer detection. The project led to three journal publications with another two in preparation, two patent disclosures, and more than five conference presentations. By exploring the intersection between nanomaterials and microfluidics, his work is key to developing sensitive molecular detection platforms that could drastically improve biomedical research and diagnostic technology.

Danny DigDanny Dig

Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007


Programmers still perform most software changes manually, through low-level text edits that are rarely reused inside a program or across different programs. This makes software development more expensive, time consuming, and error prone than it should be. Just as machinery fostered the industrial revolution, I hope my research on machinery automating software changes will foster a revolution in software technology.


Danny Dig’s software engineering research is focused on interactive program transformations that enable programmers to interactively, safely, and more economically update large programs. His research is driven by two key questions: 1) what software changes occur most often in practice and 2) how can those changes be automated to improve programmer productivity, software quality, and development costs. His work has opened the area of interactive refactoring for parallelism and is contributing to software evolution, testing, and end-user programming. The co-author of more than 35 journal and conference papers, Dig has collaborated with industry partners that include IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Boeing, Oracle, and others. He released the world’s first open-source refactoring tool, and some of the techniques he developed are shipping with the official release of the popular ECLIPSE and NETBEANS development environments and are used by millions of Java programmers.

David HendrixDavid Hendrix

Ph.D., Physics, University of California at Berkeley, 2007


We often read newspaper headlines, going back more than a decade, claiming that we have ‘cracked the genome.’ This couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that we have barely scratched the surface of the genomes of plants, animals, and, indeed, our own genomes. We are in an era where genetic manipulations are becoming commonplace, so it is absolutely crucial that we strive to understand the mysteries of the genome and begin to anticipate currently unforeseen interactions.


David Hendrix brings together computational biology, bioinformatics, and statistical physics to study the different facets of regulatory programming in developmental biology, including enhancers, core promoters, microRNAs, and other non-coding RNAs. Hendrix’s work at the University of California at Berkeley led to the discovery of novel regulatory regions called “shadow enhancers” and a new class of RNA called “moRs,” among other findings. His work focused on novel interactions between RNA and chromatin, including a model whereby small RNAs direct the activity of Polycomb to transcriptionally silence genes in human embryonic stem cells. Hendrix has four publications in Faculty of 1000 Biology, which identifies research trends and highly regarded papers as recommended by more than 2,300 leading researchers in the biological sciences.

Amir NayyeriAmir Nayyeri

Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012


In my research, I design and analyze algorithms for surface-embedded graphs. One possible application of such algorithms is to address a fundamental challenge in computer vision — partitioning images and videos into meaningful segments, which could benefit several different fields. In the medical field, for example, image segmentation could help doctors find a tumor in a scan.


Amir Nayyeri studies theoretical computer science — including the design and analysis of algorithms and their applications. His theory research includes combinatorial optimization in computational topology and geometry, specifically optimization problems on surface- embedded graphs, geometric surfaces, and simplicial complexes. One problem he examines is defining and computing distance measures between curves lying on surfaces, which can be useful in matching coastlines over time or comparing melodies in music information retrieval, among other applications. Collaborating with researchers from the Toyota Technological Institute in Chicago, Nayyeri developed the first O(log n)-approximation algorithm to measure the similarity between curves on surfaces.

Stephen RamseyStephen Ramsey

Ph.D., Physics, University of Maryland, 1997


A key element of Oregon State’s appeal was the College of Engineering’s strategic emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration and globally impactful research. The methods that I’m developing have the potential to uncover novel molecular regulators of inflammation and host responses to pathogens, which could lead to new therapeutic targets and approaches to prevent or treat inflammatory diseases such as coronary artery disease. More broadly, these computational systems approaches could be applied in other disease or biomedical contexts, such as vaccination and cancer, to uncover molecular regulators that are the gateways to new therapies.


Stephen Ramsey is a systems biologist whose research uses an integrative computational systems approach — combining the tools of bioinformatics, statistics, machine learning, genomics, epigenomics, and transcriptomics — to map and understand the gene regulatory networks that control the responses of cells to environmental, developmental, and pathogenic cues. Prior to joining Oregon State, he worked at the Institute for Systems Biology and Seattle BioMed, where he gained a unique perspective on how to leverage computational analysis of large-scale datasets to derive biologically significant hypotheses that can be experimentally tested in the lab. The long-term aim of his research is to develop data-driven approaches to “reverse engineer” the regulatory networks that control immune responses in host defense against pathogens and in chronic inflammatory diseases.

Mike RosulekMike Rosulek

Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009


For most people, cryptography conjures up images of sketchy, secret dealings. But I prefer to think about cryptography as an issue of civil liberties; that is, exercising personal autonomy over one’s own information. Cryptography is the only mechanism that has any chance at providing such autonomy.


Mike Rosulek’s research interests include cryptography, secure computation, computing on encrypted data, computational complexity, algorithms, and effective use of visualizations in computer science education. Much of his work has focused on a problem domain in cryptography known as secure computation, or how to perform arbitrary computations without seeing the data and compromising privacy. Existing approaches use low-level programming language to express the desired computation as code before iteratively evaluating that code. Rosulek is investigating new paradigms to construct efficient and secure protocols that are not based on source-code representation, thereby making secure computation more practical and reducing computational overhead while also maintaining privacy. He brings a National Science Foundation CAREER Award to Oregon State to further his research in secure computation.

Arash TermehchyArash Termehchy

Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012


Big data is becoming the main source of decision making for individuals and organizations. However, exploring big data sets is time and resource intensive, as these data sets are generally very complex, extremely heterogeneous, and rapidly evolving. My research helps people and organizations to overcome these challenges to manage, explore, and share data and information easily and effectively.


Arash Termehchy’s research focuses on data and information management, including large-scale data management, data mining, and information retrieval. In a recent project, he demonstrated that current data exploration methods inadequately satisfy users’ information needs, as they over-rely on the representational details of the data set rather than the information the data set contains. He introduced the concept of design independence, which specifies that a query interface must return the same results for a query over a data set, regardless of how the query and data set are represented. He has developed novel and design-independent query interfaces, and, using real-world data sets, showed these to be more effective than other similar methods. By creating large- scale systems with principled foundations, Termehchy’s research helps users of data- intensive applications more easily explore and better understand information. Termehchy has received several honors for his work, including the ICDE Best Student Paper Award in 2011 and the Yahoo! Key Scientific Challenges Award in 2011.

Eric WalkingshawEric Walkingshaw

Ph.D., Computer Science, Oregon State University, 2013


Programming languages are about much more than implementing programs to run on computers. At their best, these languages reveal the underlying patterns among seemingly different problems; they help us tease apart complexity and make the overwhelming manageable; and they serve as an effective communication medium not just between computers, but between people.


Eric Walkingshaw specializes in programming language design and implementation. He studies formal languages, type systems, functional programming, visual languages, and designing languages for domain experts who are not professional programmers. His research is based on the principle that clear and expressive languages are essential to understanding difficult problems. His most active research area is formal languages that deal with variability in software, such as software product lines and generative programming. In that realm, he co-created calculus choice, a formal language for representing variation in software and other structured artifacts that can be applied to feature modeling, change pattern detection, property preservation, and the development of variation-aware IDEs. Walkingshaw received the Best Paper Award at the 2009 IFIP Working Conference for his work in domain-specific languages and joins Oregon State as an ARCS Scholar and author of numerous publications, including three journal articles, 13 peer-reviewed conference and workshop papers, and two peer-reviewed book chapters.


David BlunckDavid Blunck

Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 2010


Energy is critical to maintaining and improving the standard of living of people throughout the world. Most of the energy used globally comes from combustion and will in the foreseeable future. Given that fact, it’s important to improve the efficiency and operation of devices that use combustion as an energy source to help meet increasing global demand and transition to alternative sources of power.


David Blunck’s primary research interest is assessing technical challenges and to improve fundamental understanding of combustion technologies, including gas turbine combustors, micro-combustors, and catalytic combustion. Prior to his appointment at Oregon State, he was the leading fundamental combustion researcher related to deflagration within gas turbine combustors for the Combustion Branch at Air Force Research Laboratory. His research there led to scientific breakthroughs in the areas of reacting boundary layers, trapped vortex combustors, and pollutant formation from burning alternative fuels.

Matthew CampbellMatthew Campbell

Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2000


With the nation’s renewed focus on manufacturing and the popularity of 3D printers, it’s important to address the difficult design decisions that currently burden industry. My research seeks to improve the speed and efficiency of the design process while also allowing engineers to easily foresee problems, make more intelligent decisions, and predict the times and costs of manufacturing their envisioned product.


Matthew Campbell’s research in design automation uniquely combines artificial intelligence, graph theory, and computational geometry to develop software that automates difficult engineering design decisions. He also seeks to understand how well computers can design or create artifacts independently. By diverting the more tedious fabrication processes to a computer, designers can streamline manufacturing planning, increase productivity, and focus on the creative and challenging aspects of system behaviors and performance. With 13 years at the University of Texas at Austin, Campbell is considered one of the leaders of computational design synthesis, an area within design automation that earned him a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

Bryony DuPontBryony DuPont

Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2013


I believe that reducing the environmental impact of traditional electricity generation and product manufacturing is one of the great challenges of our time, requiring innovative and creative engineering solutions. Additionally, working within given constraints and finding solutions to issues that have only recently gained a foothold in design — such as reducing toxic materials in manufacturing or how different renewables can work together — are exciting new areas of study.


Bryony DuPont’s primary research is in mechanical design, where she explores methods to optimize novel sustainable energy systems. She is particularly interested in creating computational optimization algorithms for wind farms, wave energy conversion systems, and hybrid energy systems to widen their applicability and improve their performance and design. Her work in wind farm micrositing and turbine geometry selection was the first to realistically model installation costs and the effects of site-specific wind and atmospheric conditions on prospective wind farms.

Geoffrey HollingerGeoffrey Hollinger

Ph.D., Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, 2010


The autonomous robotic systems I design have the potential to revolutionize the way we gather scientific data, to improve the efficiency of our manufacturing and agricultural production, and to even save lives by assisting search and rescue teams.


Geoffrey Hollinger focuses on decision-making problems and learning techniques for autonomous robots. His research enables robotic vehicles to optimize sensing actions for problems such as ocean monitoring, aerial surveillance, precision agriculture, and facility inspection. In particular, his work in machine learning for inspection and classification with autonomous underwater vehicles explores sensor networks to improve communication in underwater environments that will facilitate monitoring of phenomena such as algal blooms and seismic activity. He comes to Oregon State having published nearly a dozen research articles in robotics journals, including the International Journal of Robotics Research, the IEEE Transactions on Robotics, and Autonomous Robots.

Rajiv MalhotraRajiv Malhotra

Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University, 2012


My research creates a cohesive link between materials synthesis, processing, and material behavior to substantially advance sustainable manufacturing. With new manufacturing paradigms, we can reduce the energy and economic cost of countless products, with applications in flexible electronics and solar cells, metal forming, and thermal energy harvesting.


Rajiv Malhotra specializes in the discovery, development, and integration of flexible multi- material and energy-efficient manufacturing processes. His recent work focuses on a completely die-less sheet metal forming process called Double-Sided Incremental Forming, which allows greater process flexibility at reduced cost for rapid fabrication of low-volume sheet metal parts. Malhotra’s research is supported by the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy, among others, and he holds patents for his breakthrough work in Incremental Forming. By creating novel approaches to manufacturing processes through a combination of basic physics as well as fundamental experimental and computational work, his research will reduce the time and expense inherent in conventional manufacturing and enable low-cost commercialization of new technologies.

Julie TuckerJulie Tucker

Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering & Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2008


I believe a diverse energy portfolio is necessary to meet the demands and welfare of future generations. As leaders increasingly look toward nuclear as a viable energy source, it’s imperative that we ensure the safe operation of our existing plants to enable next-generation facilities that are more efficient and secure. My research aims to do just that.


Julie Tucker’s research combines experimental and computational approaches to understand materials degradation and development for nuclear systems. One of her recent projects examines transformations and other degradation mechanisms in Fe- and Ni-based alloys, which are essential in power production industries such as nuclear, coal, natural gas, biomass, and concentrated solar. Predicting materials degradation in base-load power plants is critical for operating safely, minimizing costly inspections, ensuring plant-life extensions, and avoiding unplanned outages. A former principal scientist at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, Tucker will spearhead a new program in integrated computational materials engineering, an emerging field that combines modeling techniques at various length scales to accelerate the development of new materials.


Krystina TackKrystina Tack

Ph.D., Medical Physics (Therapy), University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 2010


In both radiation medicine and oncology, we are striving for answers to achieve a cure for prostate cancer that improves quality of life following treatment. I hope my continued work in the area of prostate cancer treatment will assist patients and their physicians in making the best treatment decision for a successful cure and a long, high-quality life in the survival years.


Krystina Tack’s research focuses on radiobiological model correlation with patient outcomes, permanent prostate brachytherapy, and prostate cancer clinical trials. In 2012, she joined Oregon State University as the director of the graduate program in medical physics and has since quadrupled enrollment and streamlined operations within the joint program between two of Oregon’s largest teaching institutions — Oregon State University and the Oregon Health & Science University. Previously she served as the director of medical physics at the Chicago Prostate Center, which is a low-dose rate prostate brachytherapy facility that performs nearly 1,000 surgical seed implants per year. There, she was active in research on seed types, implant techniques, diagnostic tools, dosimetry, and planning. A native Oregonian, Tack directs a local prostate cancer support group for patients and their families.

Haori YangHaori Yang

Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 2009


Oregon State’s program has consistently been ranked among the top nuclear engineering schools in the nation. The faculty are diverse, with expertise in radiation transportation, health physics, thermal hydraulics, reactor design, radiation dosimetry, radiation detection, and more. The newly accredited medical physics graduate program is the only one in the northwest. It is my honor to join the faculty here and make contributions to the growth of the department.


Haori Yang’s research interests include nondestructive interrogation techniques, development of innovative radiation sensors, and general applications of nuclear engineering. He is developing an interrogation technique based on photon-induced fission to measure plutonium content in spent nuclear fuel. In addition, Yang is investigating low-cost, high-performance radiation detection with nanostructured radiation sensors and spintronics devices as alternatives to traditional detectors. The revolutionary improvement of radiation detection has significant impact in areas beyond nuclear material detection, including medical imaging, high- energy physics, and nondestructive testing. Prior to his appointment at Oregon State, Yang was a research scientist at Canberra Industries where he was co-inventor of an innovative neutron sensor based on LiI scintillator and Si diodes.