Meet the New Faces of the Samueli School

Engineering welcomes five faculty members across numerous fields and disciplines

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering is pleased to introduce five new faculty members, including the appointments of A. Lee Swindlehurst, in electrical engineering and computer science, Elliot Botvinick and Bernard Choi in biomedical engineering, and Manuel Gamero-Castaño and Lorenzo Valdevit in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

A. Lee Swindlehurst, Ph.D. - Professor
Swindlehurst’s research interests are in the application of detection and estimation theory to problems in signal processing and wireless communications. Currently, he is working on problems with multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) wireless communications, including space-time characterization of indoor and outdoor radio frequency propagation, channel estimation and performance analysis for time-varying MIMO links, downlink beamforming in multiuser MIMO systems, and space-time processing for ad hoc networks.


He also has a new National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research effort on “smart” sensing using miniature Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs).  Swindlehurst received B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. degrees from BrighamYoungUniversity in 1985 and 1986, respectively, and a Ph.D. degree from StanfordUniversity in 1991. Prior to joining UC Irvine, he was a faculty member in Brigham Young University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where he began his academic career in 1990, and most recently held the position of full professor and department chair. He also served as vice president of research for ArrayComm LLC, a San Jose-based company working on smart antennas for wireless communications applications.

Biomedical Engineering 

Elliot Botvinick, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor
Botvinick’s research focuses on the relationship between mechanical stresses on cells and molecular signaling, or cellular mechanotransduction. His lab is currently investigating the role of the glycocalyx in the transduction of fluid shear stress at the wall of blood vessels, and is constructing an instrument to study the scale of mechanical induction of vascular inflammation. Botvinick received his B.Sc., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego, after which he worked as an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Fellow.


Bernard Choi, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor
Choi’s research interests include the development and application of in vivo optical imaging methods for novel therapy discovery, with current collaborations in dermatology and neurobiology. He also leads research efforts on the use of chemical agents to reduce the optical scattering of biological tissue. Choi received his B.Sc. degree from NorthwesternUniversity, and his M.S.E. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. After completing an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Fellowship at UC Irvine, he was appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery, Beckman Laser Institute.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Manuel Gamero-Castaño, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor
Gamero-Castaño’s main research interest is colloidal propulsion, an electric propulsion technology for precision formation flying and small spacecraft. He joined Busek Co. Inc., in Maryland in 1999 as a research scientist, where he developed and directed the company’s colloid thruster program. Gamero-Castaño joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2004 as a senior engineer, where he worked on colloidal technology for the Disturbance Reduction System-Space Technology 7 and the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna missions.  Other research areas of interest include the modeling of stationary plasma hall thrusters; the development of aerosol diagnostic techniques; and the study of a variety of phenomena associated with the electrospraying of liquids.


Gamero-Castaño received his B.S. in chemical engineering at Escuela Superior de Ingenieros, (Universidad de Sevilla, Spain, 1995), and his M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at YaleUniversity (1999). He received the Sheldon K. Friedlander Award from the American Association for Aerosol Research in 2001.


Lorenzo Valdevit, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor
Valdevit’s research is in the general area of mechanics of materials and structures. He has worked on the optimal design of multi-functional sandwich structures for aerospace applications (hypersonic vehicles in particular), and the thermo-mechanical characterization of organic substrates for the electronics packaging industry (in collaboration with IBM Research). Beyond these topics, his current interests include the design and fabrication of high-authority micro-scale morphing structures and the development of analytical and experimental techniques to probe the bio-mechanical behavior of mammalian cells.


Valdevit received his M.S. degree (Laurea) in materials engineering from the University of Trieste (Italy) in 2000, and his Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from PrincetonUniversity in 2005.