Taylor Woehl Receives 2014 Munir Award

The UC Davis College of Engineering Awards Committee has presented the 2013 Zuhair A. Munir Best Dissertation Award to Taylor Woehl, who obtained his doctorate in chemical engineering in September 2013. Woehl’s dissertation is titled Direct Observations of Colloidal and Nanoparticle Behavior in the Presence of External Fields.

The committee also selected Anjul Patney, who obtained his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering in December 2013, for an honorable mention; his dissertation is titled Programmable Graphics Pipelines.

The award will be presented to the recipients during the College Celebration on Thursday, June 5 at 4 p.m. in the ARC Ballroom. A reception will follow immediately.

Woehl earned his undergraduate degree in ceramic engineering in 2009, with honors, from the University of Missouri-Rolla. During his undergraduate years, he interned as a ceramic engineer at the Kohler Center of Excellence in Kohler, Wisconsin; and as a chemist at Monsanto’s phosphorus plant in Soda Springs, Idaho.

He began his post-graduate work at UC Davis in September 2009, under the mentorship of William D. Ristenpart, in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; and Nigel Browning, then in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Woehl’s research focused on the physics and chemistry of colloidal and nanoparticle suspensions; he primarily employed in situ microscopy techniques to observe the dynamics of such systems under various external stimuli (chemical, radiation, electrical).

For the past six months, Woehl has worked as a staff scientist at the Ames National Laboratory in Des Moines, Iowa. His projects include investigating magnetotactic bacteria and nanoparticle growth using in situ liquid transmission electron microscopy; and developing correlative electron/fluorescent microscopy techniques for imaging live bacteria in liquid.

Patney earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering in 2007, from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. His research interests include hardware and software challenges in the design of programmable rendering architectures, compilers and algorithms. During his doctoral studies in the College of Engineering, under the mentorship of John D. Owens, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Patney earned three external fellowships: NVIDIA Graduate Research Fellowships in 2009-10 and 2010-11, and an Intel Ph.D. Fellowship in 2011-12.

Shortly before completing his doctorate, Patney accepted a job with NVIDIA Research, a world leader in visual computer technologies.

The Zuhair A. Munir Award, established in 1999, annually honors the individual who has submitted the best doctoral dissertation within the UC Davis College of Engineering. The Awards Committee, currently chaired by Professor Ian Kennedy, makes the selection from competitive submissions from the various graduate programs. The award honors the contributions of the College of Engineer’s fifth dean, Zuhair A. Munir, who led the college from 2000 to ’02 and acted as its Associate Dean for Graduate Studies for 20 years.