Samueli School Honors Outstanding Faculty at Annual Awards Banquet

Selected engineering professors received Fariborz Maseeh best teaching and research awards

June 5, 2006 – Three outstanding faculty members were recognized for their many contributions in teaching and research at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering’s annual awards banquet held on May 15 at the EngineeringPlaza on campus. The banquet took place following the first day of the “California: Prosperity Through Technology” industry research symposium, which focused on engineering in medicine and LifeChips technology. 

Tara Hutchinson, Ph.D., assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, received the Fariborz Maseeh Best Teaching award, and Zhongping Chen, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Andrei Shkel, Ph.D., associate professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and director of the UCI Micro-Systems Laboratory, were each honored with the Fariborz Maseeh Best Faculty Research award.

Professor Hutchinson - Fariborz Maseeh Best Teaching Award
Hutchinson’s research includes both experimental and analytical studies primarily in earthquake engineering and emphasizing seismic performance assessment of structures, particularly with soil-structure interaction, seismic response of concrete and timber structures and response of nonstructural components.


She also integrates advanced scientific visualization, computer vision, and virtual reality (VR) technologies in her modeling approaches to investigate and solve structural engineering problems.


Recent awards and accomplishments include receiving the UCI Excellence in Undergraduate Education Award in spring 2006, the NSF Career Award and the Chancellors Award for Excellence in Fostering Undergraduate Research, both in spring 2004, and the NSF Japan Society for the Promotion of Science – Short-Term Fellowship Recipient in summer 2003. 


Hutchinson received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from San JoseStateUniversity in 1994, her M.S. in Civil (Structural) Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1995, and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in Civil (Structural & Geotechnical) Engineering in 2001.


Professor Chen - Fariborz Maseeh Best Faculty Research Award
Chen, recognized for his contributions in engineering research, works in the areas of biomedical optics, photonic materials and devices, biomaterials and biosensors.  His current research focuses include: investigating light/tissue interactions; developing photonic and electro-optical technology such as optical coherence tomography for medical diagnosis and therapeutics; and integrating advanced optical and microfabrication technology with biotechnology for the development of biomedical MEMS devices. 


Chen and his research group have developed a non-invasive technology, known as functional optical coherence tomography, which allows cross-sectional imaging of tissue structure, blood flow and birefringence simultaneously with high spatial resolution.


He currently has several active research projects funded by the NSF, NIH/NIBIB, NIH/NCI, and DARPA. Most of these projects are interdisciplinary, involving research areas in fiber optics, lasers and optoelectronics, MEMS, signal processing, and biomedical instrumentation.


Chen received his Ph.D. degree in Applied Physics in 1992, and his M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1987, both from CornellUniversity.  He received his B.S. in Applied Physics from ShanghaiJiaotongUniversity in 1982.


Professor Shkel - Fariborz Maseeh Best Faculty Research Award
Shkel, who has been at UC Irvine since 2000, also received the Best Faculty Research award, and concentrates on solid-state sensors and actuators, MEMS-based neuroprosthetics, sensor-based intelligence, and control theory.

His current research activities include the development of MEMS-based health monitoring systems, disposable diagnostic devices, and neurological vestibular prosthetic implants.


Shkel is developing tunable micro-components for ultra high speed fiber-optic communication networks and for monitoring of civil structures. He also is building high-precision inertial sensors on-a-chip (gyros, accelerometers) for personal navigation and for neurological vestibular prosthetics, and studying micro-mechatronics, which involves the integration of electromechanical and machine-information systems.


He was awarded the 2005 NSF CAREER award, the 2002 George E. Brown, Jr. Award and was the recipient of the 2001 Fellowship of the Japanese Advanced Science Institute.


Shkel received his Diploma, with excellence, in Mechanics and Mathematics from Lomonosov’s Moscow State University, in 1991. In 1997, he received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Mechanical Engineering.