Department Updates

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Dr. Luis Villa-Diaz was awarded Research Seed Grant by MSGCD for “Use of simulated microgravity to determine molecular signaling enhancing self-renewal of pluripotent stem cells”. This project is based on the previous work, which demonstrated that human pluripotent stem cells cultured under simulated microgravity conditions show enhanced properties of stemness, self-renewal and proliferation.

Dr. Fabia Battistuzzi was awarded Research Seed Grant by MSGCD for “Effects of microgravity on genomic variability”. This seed project, in collaboration with Dr. Shailesh Lal, the chair of the bioengineering department, responds to the needs of future deep space missions to better understand the effects of prolonged periods of human space travel (e.g., future Mars missions).

Dr. Luis Villa-Diaz was awarded a $550,178 grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his research on stem cell biology and the potential use of stem cells in regenerative medicine.

Computer Science and Engineering

Dr. Julian Rrushi was granted a prestigious DARPA Young Faculty award and $757,677 for his project titled “A Quest for the Physics of Cyber Space”, $757,677. He also obtained a “Reverse Engineering Attacker Cognition through Malware Analysis” award from Michigan Space Grant Consortium for $5,000.

Dr. Douglas Zytko and his students, Nicholas Furlo, Bailey Carlin and Matt Archer, have been awarded both a Best Paper Award and an Impact Recognition for their paper “Computer-Mediated Consent to Sex: The Context of Tinder, ” by the Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW).

Dr. Khalid Malik served as the publicity chair of the 5th IEEE International Conference on Smart City Innovations (SCI 2021).

Dr. Douglas Zytko acted as the Social Chair for ACM International Conference on Interactive Media Experiences, which brought together international researchers and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines, ranging from human-computer interaction, multimedia engineering and design to media studies, media psychology and sociology.

The 2022 reports from, which provides unbiased research to help students make informed decisions about higher education programs, placed the SECS Information Technology program seventh overall and Best in the Midwest.

Jacob Gleason, Dr. Zytko’s undergraduate student researcher, won the 2021 Undergraduate Distinguished Achievement Award for a book chapter that features his research on virtual reality videos and the public's perception of serious health issues. The chapter was nominated for a Best Paper award at iConference.

Electrical and Computer Engineering  

Augmented Reality Center (ARC) was created with the support and expertise of an Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) and Oakland University faculty to provide a learning platform where engineering and art intersect. Dr. Khalid Mirza was named the founding director of ARC.

Dr. Ka C. Cheok, Ph.D. and his students were featured in the larger special on the future of electrification – The Electric Future – on CBS 62.

College Factual ranked OU’s electrical engineering bachelor graduates 10th in the highest salary category in the United States for 2021.

The 2022 reports from, which provides unbiased research to help students make informed decisions about higher education programs, placed OU’s bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering 10th overall and Best for Student Service. ranked OU 42nd on the list of Best Electrical Engineering Degree Programs nationwide.

Best Accredited Colleges’ 2021 ranking placed Oakland University 42nd on the list Top Electrical Engineering Bachelor's Degree Programs.

Dr. Shadi Alawneh received the 2021 School of Engineering and Computer Science Outstanding Teaching Award and OU’s 2021 Faculty Research Fellowship.

Dr. Shadi Alawneh has been granted the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute (DLI) University Ambassadorship and the Instructor Certification for teaching the Fundamentals of Accelerated Computing with CUDA C/C++.

NVIDIA Corporation donated a Quadro RTX 6000 GPU card to Dr. Alawneh's laboratory in support of his project “Accelerating the Gabor Transform with a GPU for SAR Image Compression.”

Dr. Mohamed Zohdy received a 2021 Graduate Mentor Award from OU Grad Study.

Dr. Subraminian Ganesan received the SAE 2020 Forest R. McFarland Award for outstanding contributions to SAE technical events as a keynote speaker, organizer and reviewer.

Dr. Subraminian Ganesan received a Certificate and Plaque for Contribution to the IEEE SEM Computer Chapter as IEEE Chair for the past 25 years.

Industrial and Systems Engineering

Dr. Robert Van Til, Pawley Professor of Lean Studies and chair of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department, has been selected by SME’s Smart Manufacturing magazine as one of the 20 most influential academics shaping smart manufacturing.

Dr. Barbara Oakley was appointed to the rank of Distinguished Professor and named one of the 35 most influential women in engineering by Fair Play Talks.

The department, in close cooperation with the Pawley Lean Institute, has launched a new collaboration with the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) in Boston, MA. After spending a year researching U.S. universities providing lean education to their students, the LEI selected OU as the first university to collaborate with on its James P. Womack Scholarship & Philanthropy Fund. The first OU/LEI joint project provided an ISE student team with both financial support as well as support of ISE faculty and LEI members on a project to assist the non-profit Humble Design in Pontiac, MI, improve its operations to support the homeless.

Industrial and Systems Engineering students worked on paid internships at a variety of companies such as FCA, GM, Ford, DTE Energy, Faurecia, Daimler Detroit Diesel, ABB, Molex, Brose, Continental and others.

The 2022 reports from, which provides unbiased research to help students make informed decisions about higher education programs, placed OU’s M.S. in Engineering Management fourth overall and Best for Product Lifecycle Management; M.S. in Industrial Engineering was ranked third overall and Best Evening Option.

Mechanical Engineering  

OU partnered with the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville on a collaborative research center, Industry-University Cooperative Research Center for Composite and Hybrid Materials Interfacing (IUCRC), designed to boost the United States’ leadership in engineering research and global competitiveness. Dr. Sayed Nassar, distinguished professor of mechanical engineering and founding director of OU’s Fastening and Joining Research Institute, serves as the director of the OU site of the IUCRC.

College Factual ranked OU’s mechanical engineering bachelor graduates ninth in the highest salary category in the United States for 2021.

Best Accredited Colleges’ 2021 ranking placed Oakland University 49th on the list Best Mechanical Engineering Bachelor's Degree Programs.

Bianca Vitale, a mechanical engineering student, was awarded the Department of Defense Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation Scholarship that provides students with full tuition for up to five years, summer internships, a stipend and full-time employment with the Department of Defense after graduation.

Alyssa Lalko, BSE '20, earned a prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

Sanjana Chintalacheruvu, Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering, became a recipient of SWE Intel's scholarship for $10,000.

The Automotive and Energy Research and Industrial Mentorship (AERIM) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in the mechanical engineering department, funded by the National Science Foundation since 2006, ran virtually in 2021 and hosted 12 undergraduate students, including three from Oakland University.

Dr. Zissimos Mourelatos was awarded an Oakland University Distinguished Professorship, joining Dr. Lian Yang (2019) and Dr. Sayed Nassar (2012) in receiving this honor.

Undergraduate students Sylvia Lupa (OU) and William Welch (UCLA), mentored by Dr. Ankun Yang, became co-authors on a publication “Sodium Surface Lattice Plasmons,” that appeared in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C. The students presented their work at the 11th annual Mid-Michigan Symposium for Undergraduate Research Experiences (Mid-SURE) and the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Symposium.

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