Eight new faculty join the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

by Jane Stoyle Welch

Published February 12, 2021

The University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is proud to welcome eight new experts to it growing roster of more than 250 full-time faculty.  


They enhance the school’s research enterprise in a wide variety of areas, from nanostructures to diversity, equity and inclusion in engineering.

“I am excited to welcome our newest faculty, who are among the best and brightest minds in engineering and applied sciences, to our community," says Kemper Lewis, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "I look forward to their expertise helping lead us to even higher levels of innovation, excellence and impact.”

Below are mini-biographies of each faculty member.

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Miao Yu, SUNY Empire Innovation Professor

Miao Yu, SUNY Empire Innovation Professor

Joins UB from: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Prior to that, he was an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina.

Research interests: Nanostructures, zeolites, membranes and separations.

Noteworthy: Yu received the University of South Carolina Breakthrough Star Award, and received an NSF CAREER award for his research on developing revolutionary single- to few-layered graphene-based membranes for separation applications.

Education: PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder.

Hometown: Jingmen City, Hubei province, China.

Ashlee Ford Versypt, Associate Professor

Ashlee Ford Versypt, Associate Professor

Joins UB from: Oklahoma State University, where she was an associate professor in the School of Chemical Engineering. She was also a center investigator/member of the Oklahoma Center for Respiratory and Infectious Diseases, Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, Stephenson Cancer Center, and Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program.

Research interests: Computational science and engineering, applied mathematics, mathematical biology, multiscale modeling, physiology, pharmacology, toxicology, kidney, bone, cancer, lung, pharmacokinetics, immunotherapy, drug delivery, tissue damage, porous materials, extracellular matrix, kinetics, transport, numerical methods, and engineering education.

Noteworthy: Ford Versypt leads the Systems Biomedicine and Pharmaceutics Laboratory at UB. Her research program is funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. She has received many honors and recognitions, including a 35 Under 35 Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and an NSF CAREER award.

Education: PhD, Chemical Engineering, Graduate Option in Computational Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Hometown: Snyder, Oklahoma.

Viviana Monje-Galvan, Assistant Professor

Viviana Monje-Galvan, Assistant Professor

Joins UB from: University of Chicago, where she was a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry, contributing to protein-lipid interplay during early stages of HIV-1 viral assembly as well as key biomolecular interactions within the lipid envelope of the SARS-CoV-2 viral particle.

Research interests: Molecular dynamics simulation, computational biophysics, statistical thermodynamics, modeling of protein-lipid/lipid-lipid interactions, and molecular mechanisms of disease.

Noteworthy: Monje-Galvan was an LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Fellow and is actively involved as a panelist or mentor in several national and international initiatives to promote the participation of minorities in science.

Education: PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park.

Hometown: La Paz, Bolivia.

Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Yinyin Ye, Assistant Professor

Yinyin Ye, Assistant Professor


Joins UB from: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where she was a post-doctoral researcher. Her work focused on understanding mechanisms of pathogen infections and discovering protein biomarkers for diagnosing diseases in human waste (i.e., urine).

Research interests: Environmental pathogen persistence and disinfection, environmental surveillance of pathogens, and environmental exposure and human disease.

Noteworthy: Ye received the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement from the University of Michigan and the Graduate Student Award in Environmental Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.

Education: PhD, Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Hometown: Lishui, China.

Computer Science and Engineering

Hongxin Hu, Associate Professor

Hongxin Hu, Associate Professor

Joins UB from: Clemson University, where he was an associate professor in the School of Computing and the Director of Cybersecurity Center.

Research interests: Emerging network technologies and security, machine learning for security and privacy, security and privacy in IoT and CPS, security and privacy in social networks, and usable privacy and security.

Noteworthy: Hu received an NSF CAREER award in 2019, and has received numerous honors and awards, including the Dean's Faculty Fellows Award, and Best Paper Awards from several organizations, including the 2020 Applied Computer Security Association Conference (ACSAC), Association for Computing Machinery (AIGCSE 2018 and CODASPY 2014) and the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Communications. His research has been featured by the IEEE Special Technical Community on Social Networking and received wide press coverage including ACM TechNews, InformationWeek, Slashdot, and NetworkWorld, among others.

Education: PhD, Computer Science and Engineering, Arizona State University.

Hometown: Wuhan, China.

Xianghang (Scott) Mi, Assistant Professor

Xianghang (Scott) Mi, Assistant Professor

Joins UB from: Facebook, where he was a research scientist working on continuous fuzzing, an important technique for automatic mining of security vulnerabilities.

Research interests: Network security, IoT security, and online abuse detection and understanding.

Noteworthy: Mi received the Network and Distributed System Security (NDSS) Distinguished Paper Award for his research on malicious domain takedowns.

Education: PhD, Computer Science, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Hometown: Linyi (the hometown of Confucius), Shandong, China.

Engineering Education

Matilde Sanchez-Pena, Assistant Professor

Matilde Sanchez-Pena, Assistant Professor

Joins UB from: Purdue University, where she was a visiting assistant professor in engineering education.

Research interests: Diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering; cultures of health in engineering, in particular mental health and its interaction with engineering training; and the training of socially responsible engineers through data analysis.

Noteworthy: Sanchez-Pena aims to promote a more equitable engineering field, in which students of all backgrounds can acquire the knowledge and skills to achieve their goals. She received the Estus H. and Vashti L. Magoon Award for Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Engineering, Purdue University.

Education: PhD, Engineering Education, Purdue University.

Hometown: Monterrey, Mexico.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Ryan St. Pierre, Assistant Professor

Ryan St. Pierre, Assistant Professor

Joins UB from: Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a post-doctoral researcher and worked on impulsive, high-acceleration movements in biological organisms and microrobots.

Research interests: Microrobots, biomechanics, and micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS).

Noteworthy: St. Pierre was highlighted on the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 Science list. He is the director of the Robot Form and Function Lab, and his work in micro-robotics has been recognized with the Best Paper award at the 2018 Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems Workshop and covered by IEEE Spectrum.

Education: PhD, Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park.

Hometown: Springfield, Massachusetts.