Seven new faculty members join ECE ILLINOIS

ECE News

Daniel Dexter, ECE ILLINOIS

Story Highlights

  • Michael Bailey, Can Bayram, Lara Waldrop, and Wenjuan Zhu joined ECE ILLINOIS as tenure-track faculty.
  • Zuofu Cheng, Arne Fliflet, and Wei He joined ECE ILLINOIS as lecturer-track faculty.
  • They range in expertise from reliable and secure systems to photonics to signal processing and embedded systems.

Seven new faculty members – four of them tenure-track, three who are lecturers – joined the ECE ILLINOIS faculty this fall.

They range in expertise from reliable and secure systems to photonics to signal processing and embedded systems.

Michael Bailey

Michael Bailey joined ECE ILLINOIS as an associate professor after working as a research associate professor and co-director of the Network and Security Research Group at the University of Michigan. He joins the University of Illinois after a successful search for a new, tenure-track position.

Michael Bailey
Michael Bailey
“I am very excited to be here,” Bailey said. “This move made sense on so many levels. Illinois clearly has an excellent reputation in engineering, but I also grew up in the Chicago suburbs and the opportunity to work at my alma mater (he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1992) feels like coming home”

His research at Michigan focused on the security and availability of complex distributed systems. He plans to continue that research here at Illinois, and is looking forward to collaborating with other Illinois Engineering faculty members.

“One of our jobs as security people is to think critically about the systems we create,” he said. “We need to step back and ask ourselves is this system secure? What are we protecting? From whom? At what cost?"

Can Bayram
Can Bayram
Can Bayram

Can Bayram joined the ECE ILLINOIS faculty as an assistant professor and is an affiliate faculty of Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory. His research is in development and application of novel photonic and electronic devices. His group, Innovative COmpound semiconductoR (ICOR) Laboratory, currently explores novel designs of light emitting diodes for disinfection and lighting; and of GaN-based transistors for next generation power devices.

Prior to coming to Illinois, Bayram worked at the IBM Watson Research Center. There, he invented GaN-on-Graphene technology which received international media coverage. He has — for the first time — integrated GaN-based devices on CMOS-compatible silicon substrates. This work was highlighted as the frontispiece in the Advanced Functional Materials issue. He was also part of an IBM team working on a novel means of thin film technology that achieved record-breaking specific-power solar cells and was featured on the cover of Advanced Energy Materials.

“Three years of industrial experience at IBM Research was an excellent startup for my early career,” Bayram said. “I know what the industry is in need of, and what the industry expects of the next generation workforce. These are what I bring to ECE students.”

Zuofu Cheng
Zuofu Cheng
 Zuofu Cheng

Zuofu Cheng (BSEE ’06, MSEE ’10 PhD ’14) joined the ECE ILLINOIS faculty as a lecturer after spending 12 years in ECE ILLINOIS a student and teaching assistant.

Cheng is teaching introductory courses in signal processing and embedded systems. He has a research background in applications of heterogeneous computing in video games and virtual reality.

He is excited about the opportunity to teach ECE classes because he wants to show people how electrical engineering concepts can be applied to daily work and hobbies.

“Electrical engineering is very accessible for people,” Cheng said. “I want to encourage people not only to see the subject as academic and research in career field, but that it can also be used as an outlet for hobbies and interests. I am interested in the chance to teach all students, including ones who are not electrical engineering majors.”

Arne Fliflet
Arne Fliflet
Arne Fliflet

Arne Fliflet joined the ECE ILLINOIS faculty as a lecturer after serving as the head of the Radiation and Particle Beam Generation Section at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).

He has been the project leader for the development of novel microwave and millimeter-wave-based materials processing techniques and established the gyrotron-based High Frequency Materials Processing Facility at NRL.

Fliflet comes to Illinois in part because his wife recently became a professor in Aerospace Engineering, and he wanted to be closer to her. At the university, his focus will be towards providing the best learning environment he can for his students.

“The idea of getting into teaching in a more serious way appealed to me,” he said.


Wei He
Wei He
Wei He

Wei He joined the ECE IILLINOIS faculty as a lecturer after working as a faculty member at the Institute of Microelectronics of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

He earned his PhD in 2005 and went on to work for the IBM Semiconductor Research and Development Center as a development staff member. His academic interests are in semiconductor devices and materials.

He decided to come to Illinois because of the strong reputation the University has in engineering. He enjoys teaching, and he hopes to progress towards eventually doing research.

“The university is so big and offers a strong background in both academics and research,” he said. “Being a lecturer is a starting point for me, and I hope to eventually pursue research as well here in the ECE department.”

Lara Waldrop
Lara Waldrop
Lara Waldrop

Assistant professor Lara Waldrop previously worked as a research scientist and visiting lecturer at ECE ILLINOIS.  Her research is focused on the development of novel ground- and space-based sensing modalities for estimation of key physical parameters of the near-earth space plasma environment, with application to predictive modeling of atmospheric evolution, mapping of orbital trajectories, and mitigation of space weather hazards.

“I was motivated to pursue a tenure-track faculty position based on the positive feedback and recognition that I received during that time for my educational, scholarly, and service contributions,” Waldrop said. 

In 2010 and 2011, she took a leave of absence from Illinois to work as a rotating advisor to the National Science Foundation, Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, and a visiting scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.  From 2012-14, she served as chairwoman of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Arecibo Observatory.

Wenjuan Zhu
Wenjuan Zhu
Wenjuan Zhu

Wenjuan Zhu joined the ECE ILLINOIS faculty as an assistant professor. She will focus on 2-D materials, identifying their unique electronic and photonic properties.

She spent 11 years at IBM. At the Semiconductor Research and Development Center, she made key contributions to the 65 nm and 32 nm CMOS technology.  At the T. J. Watson Research Center, she worked on 2-D materials, including graphene and layered transition metal dichalcogenides (LTMD), with research topics ranging from fundamental material properties to devices and circuits.

She will begin teaching next semester and is looking forward to the opportunity to work with students and faculty.

“To my knowledge, the University of Illinois is one of the best universities in engineering, so that’s a place I wanted to be,” said Zhu. “The faculty here are experts, and they are very friendly. The cleanrooms and research labs on campus are also very impressive.”

Related news

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