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Two Faculty Named to New Viterbi School Early Career Chairs

October 28, 2005 —
Two promising young engineers — Bhaskar Krishnamachari, assistant professor of electrical engineering-systems and Tzung Hsiai, assistant professor of biomedical engineering — have been named to new early career chairs in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, beginning Nov. 1, 2005.   

“These two individuals show exceptional distinction and promise as junior faculty members,” said Viterbi School Dean Yannis Yortsos.  “The early career chair awards recognize and support their research in areas that could lead to significant advances in their respective fields of wireless sensor networks and in the treatment of coronary artery disease.

“We are very pleased to have them as chair holders,” he added.  

Bhaskar Krishnamachari

Krishnamachari, who also has an appointment in the Department of Computer Science, will become the first holder of the Philip and Cayley MacDonald Early Career Chair, made possible with a generous contribution to the Viterbi School from Philip and Cayley MacDonald.

Krishnamachari won a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) early CAREER Award in 2004, as well as the 2005 Viterbi School Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, for his work in wireless sensor networks.  He concentrates primarily on the modeling and analysis of information routing in these systems, which consist of autonomous devices cooperating with each other to monitor an environment with minimal power usage.

Wireless sensor networks can provide — in the words of his NSF award citation — "high resolution interfaces between the physical and virtual world."  They have applications ranging from pollution control to security to industrial quality monitoring to systems that can give timely warning of structural problems in vehicles or buildings.

Krishnamachari has co-authored more than 70 articles in conferences, journals and edited books. He is an editor for the Elsevier Journal of Ad Hoc Networks and the ACM Mobile Computing and Communications Review. He has authored a book titled Networking Wireless Sensors that is being published by Cambridge University Press this year.

Hsiai, who is also a board-certified physician, will become the first Robert G. and Mary G. Lane Early Career Chair holder, thanks to a generous contribution from David and Grayson Lane.

Tzung Hsiai

His interests in coronary artery disease have led to the development of small, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors to monitor the environment inside blood vessels. Hsiai hopes that these sensors will one day give physicians an unprecedented, real-time view of how disease — specifically coronary artery disease — progresses.   

Hsiai also has an appointment in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.  He received his M.D. in 1993 from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in 2002 from UCLA.  He received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Career Development Award later that year and, in 2005, was elected a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

Hsiai is a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Cardiovascular Disease, as well as a member of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology Council, and the Biomedical Engineering Society.
--Diane Ainsworth