Zohrab A. Kaprielian Dean’s Chair in Engineering and Chester Dolley Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
- 1979, Doctoral Degree, Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology
- 1974, Master's Degree, Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology
- 1973, Bachelor's Degree, Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens
Yannis C. Yortsos is the Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the Zohrab Kaprielian Dean’s Chair in Engineering, a position he holds since 2005. Prior to that he served from 2001 to 2005 as Associate Dean and then as Sr. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Yortsos joined the USC faculty of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in 1978. Between 1991 and 1997 he served as chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and since 1995 he also holds the Chester Dolley Professorship.
He received a BS (Diploma) degree in Chemical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, and MS and PhD degrees from the California Institute of Technology, all in chemical engineering. His research area is in fluid flow, transport and reaction processes in porous media with specific application to the subsurface. More recently, and prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, he has published on the spreading of epidemics.
As dean of engineering, he articulated in 2008 the concept of Engineering+, positioning engineering as the enabling discipline of our times, and has been actively engaged in the effort to “change the conversation about engineering”. He organized and hosted at USC in Fall 2010 the NAE Second Grand Challenges Summit, which spurred in 2013 the series of Global Grand Challenges Summits. These are bi-annual meetings of the NAE, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, on the organizing committees of which he has continuously served.
Between 2012 and 2017, Yortsos was the chair of the Diversity Committee of the Engineering Deans Council, in which capacity he has spearheaded an engineering diversity initiative, now adopted by more than 250 engineering schools nationwide. In recognition of these initiatives, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering received in 2017 the ASEE President’s Award, and at the same time was one of the four engineering schools nationwide that received the ASEE Award for Excellence in Veterans in Engineering. For his leadership in this area, he received the 2023 GMiS Chairman’s Award, Great Minds in STEM.
Yortsos was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2008, where he has also served as secretary, vice-chair and chair of Section 11, and since July 2017 as a member of the NAE Council. He served on the NRC Committees for the 2017 report on a New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research as well as the 2017 report on The Value of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences to National Priorities and completed a three-year term as member of the NSF Engineering Advisory Committee. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of PNAS Nexus, the new open-access journal from the National Academy of Sciences.
In 2011 Yortsos was awarded the distinction of honorary member of the AIME, in 2013 he was elected as Associate member of the Academy of Athens, in 2014 he received the Ellis Medal of Honor and in 2017 he received an honorary degree from Tsinghua University. In 2022, he received along with three of his colleagues, the Gordon Prize of the National Academy of Engineering, for the creation in 2009 of the Grand Challenges Scholars Program, now adopted by many universities in the US and overseas. At the same year, he won, along with several of his USC colleagues, a Los Angeles area Emmy for his role in supporting the creation of the documentary Lives not Grades, that chronicled a USC engineering class on Engineering Innovation for Global Crises. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Yortsos was the PI of the NSF I-Corps Innovation Node Los Angeles (2014-2021), established as a partnership between USC, Caltech and UCLA, and also the PI of the NSF Gender Equity Initiative EDGE (2018-2021). Between 2011 and 2017 he served on the Executive Committee of the Engineering Deans Council (2011-2017) and on the Executive Committee of the Global Engineering Deans Council (2012-2016, 2021- present). Following the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic he led, since April 2020, the National Academy of Engineering Call to Action Against COVID. He is the PI of the NSF I-Corps Innovation Hub: West, a five-year partnership (2022-2027) between USC, the University of Colorado, UCLA, Caltech, Colorado School of Mines, the University of New Mexico, UC Riverside, and the University of Utah.
* Fluid flow, transport, and reaction in porous media
* Viscous flows in porous media geometries
* Phase change in porous media
* Applications to the recovery of subsurface fluids (oil recovery, a soil remediation)
[Specific Research Projects]
* Miscible flows in Hele-Shaw cells
* Vapor-Liquid Flow in Porous Media
* Transport and Displacement in Heterogeneous and Fractured Media
* Scale-Up of Displacement Processes in Heterogeneous Media
* Flow of Fluids with Yield Stress in Porous Media
* Darcian Dynamics
* Heterogeneity Identification
* Filtration Combustion
- 2022 National Academy of Engineering Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education
- 2022 Los Angeles Business Journal: Los Angeles 500 - The most influential people in Los Angeles
- 2022 National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences: Los Angeles Area Emmy for Independent Programming, "Lives not Grades", Executive Producer
- 2021 Los Angeles Business Journal: Los Angeles 500 - The most influential people in Los Angeles
- 2020 Los Angeles Business Journal: Los Angeles 500 - The most influential people in Los Angeles
- 2019 Los Angeles Business Journal: Los Angeles 500 - The most influential people in Los Angeles
- 2018 Los Angeles Business Journal: Los Angeles 500 - The most influential people in Los Angeles
- 2017 Los Angeles Business Journal Los Angeles 500: The most influential people in Los Angeles
- 2017 National Academy of Engineering Member, Council
- 2017 Tsinghua University Honorary Professor
- 2016 National Academy of Engineering Chair, Section 11
- 2016 Los Angeles Business Journal: Los Angeles 500 - The most influential people in Los Angeles
- 2015 National Academy of Engineering Vice-Chair, Section 11
- 2014 Ellis Island Honors Society Ellis Island Medal of Honor
- 2014 Academy of Athens Associate Member
- 2014 National Academy of Engineering Secretary, Section 11
- 2012 Engineering Deans Council Chairman, Diversity Committee
- 2012 Tau Beta Pi Eminent Member
- 2011 Global Engineering Deans Council Executive Board
- 2011 AIME Honorary Member Award
- 2011 Engineering Deans Council Executive Board
- 2008 Society of Petroleum Engineers Western North America Reservoir Description and Dynamics Award
- 2008 National Academy of Engineering Member
- 2006 Society of Petroleum Engineers Editor-in-Chief of all Technical Journals
- 2005 Alfred Mann Institute Advisory Board Director
- 2005 Zohrab A. Kaprielian Chair in Engineering
- 2000 Orange County Engineering Council Distinguished Engineering Educator Award
- 2000 Institute for the Advancement of Engineering Fellow
- 1999 SPE Journal Executive Editor
- 1997 Yucca Mountain Site - Characterization Project, Department of Energy Expert Panel Elicitation, Near-Field Environment
- 1995 Chester F. Dolley Professor
- 1985 AIME Rossiter W. Raymond Memorial Award for Outstanding Technical Paper
- 1981 ARCO Oil and Gas Outstanding Jr. Faculty Award