September 23, 2019

By Noah Pflueger-Peters

The College of Engineering is thrilled to welcome 11 new faculty members for the 2019-20 school year. Our new faculty have expertise ranging from hardware security to assistive robotics to materials under extreme conditions and everything in between. Read their bios below to learn more about them and their work:

Mason Earles – Assistant Professor and Assistant Agricultural Engineer, Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Earles uses remote sensing to study plant structure and function in the context of environmental change. An alumnus, he received his Ph.D. from the Department of Plant Sciences and was jointly advised by UC Davis’ Andrew McElrone as a postdoctoral scholar at Yale University. He also has an appointment in the Department of Viticulture and Enology.


Matthew Ellis – Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering

Ellis is a systems engineer who specializing in model predictive control for application in industry. He joins UC Davis after four years in industry at an energy systems company. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UCLA, where he won the Outstanding Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering Award in 2016.



Houman Homayoun – Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Homayoun is an expert in hardware security, data-intensive computing and heterogeneous computing and has conducted research in big data computing and hardware accelerator design. He previously worked at George Mason University. A product of the UC system, he received his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering at UC Irvine and did two years of postdoctoral work at UC San Diego.



Seung Sae Hong – Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering (Starts November 1)

Hong’s research focuses on experimental condensed matter physics, materials physics and low-dimensional quantum materials. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University and had been working as a postdoctoral scholar in the same department before joining UC Davis. He received the Graduate Student Award Gold Medal from the Materials Research Society in 2012.



Marina Leite – Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

Leite looks at materials for harvesting and storing energy, imaging materials at the nanoscale and photonics. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Campinas in Brazil and had been part of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics at the University of Maryland before joining UC Davis.



Harishankar Manikantan – Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering

Manikantan studies fluid mechanics, soft matter and complex fluids with a multidisciplinary background. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics from UC San Diego and was a postdoctoral scholar at UC Santa Barbara before joining UC Davis. He received the James O. Smith Award for outstanding teaching as a TA while earning his master’s at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.



Scott McCormack – Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

McCormack studies materials under extreme conditions for use in space exploration using calorimetry, crystallography and computation. He successfully defended his dissertation and received his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign just a few weeks before joining UC Davis.



Jeremy Munday – Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Munday studies the optics of alternative energy, focusing on nanoscale and quantum phenomenon. He joins UC Davis after 8 years with the University of Maryland. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University in 2008 and received the NASA Early Career Faculty Space Technology Research Award in 2012.




Randy O’Reilly – Professor, Computer Science

O’Reilly, who has a dual appointment with the Center for Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology, uses computers to model the brain and understand how it works. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and had been a faculty member at the University of Colorado, Boulder since 1997. He received CU Boulder’s College Scholar Award in 2009 and is a Society of Experimental Psychologists fellow.


Jonathon Schofield – Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Schofield works at the interface between humans and robotics to enhance cooperation between humans and advanced assistive devices, such as prosthetics. He received his Ph.D. in Biomedical/Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta and was working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute before coming to UC Davis.