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Meet the New 2018-19 Sciences Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty

NC State Belltower under a crisp blue fall sky.

This year, the college is welcoming eight new tenured and tenure-track faculty members to our ranks. Meet these innovative scientists, and find out why they’re excited to join the Wolfpack.

Erin BakerErin Baker
Title: Associate Professor, Chemistry
Research Focus: My group focuses on developing rapid analytical measurements to evaluate chemical exposure and disease-based molecular changes. Our goal is to create comprehensive methods that can be performed faster than current techniques to ultimately enable rapid natural disaster assessments and earlier administration of disease treatments.
Why NC State?: I was attracted by the collaborative attitude at NC State and am excited to work with many of the great people on campus.


Julio BelmonteJulio Belmonte
Title: Assistant Professor, Physics, and member of the Modeling the Living Embryo faculty cluster
Research Focus: I am trying to understand what rules govern pattern formation and cellular behavior in biology and how they arise from physical principles. In particular, I want to learn how cells generate forces and change their shape and how tissues and organs are formed.
Why NC State?: I am excited about NC State’s interdisciplinary research atmosphere, exemplified by the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program. I’m thrilled to join my cluster colleagues in our common effort to understand how organs and tissues are shaped during animal and plant development.


Rongmon BordoloiRongmon Bordoloi (starting January 2019)
Title: Assistant Professor, Physics
Research Focus: My research focuses on understanding how galaxies form and evolve over the age of the universe, including exchanges of gases that regulate how a galaxy grows and how stars are formed. I study these gases by performing multiwavelength observations from ground and space-based telescopes and comparing them with numerical simulations.
Why NC State?: NC State has a strong culture of outstanding research and excellent student experience. I’m very excited to carry out my research in such a great environment and for the unique opportunity for broader collaborations across the Research Triangle area.


Caiti Smukowski HeilCaiti Smukowski Heil (starting January 2019)
Title: Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences
Research Focus: I focus on how hybridization (different species mating and producing offspring) influences the evolution of populations and whether it can aid a population in adapting to new or changing environments. I’m particularly interested in the types of genetic changes that are beneficial in hybrids and how we can utilize this knowledge in fermentation and agriculture.
Why NC State?: I did my Ph.D. at Duke University and lived in the Triangle for five years. I’ve always been really excited by the research being conducted at NC State, and I love the scientific community in the Triangle. I look forward to collaborating with faculty from many different departments.


Sarah LarsonSarah Larson
Title: Assistant Professor, Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences
Research Focus: My research focuses on untangling fundamental drivers of climate variability and predictability. I use climate models to test hypotheses related to the influence of atmospheric and oceanic processes on climate and study how these processes influence our ability to predict future climate events like El Nino.
Why NC State?: Since I’m interested in climate, which involves all aspects of the earth system, I have always wanted to be in a department that employs a multifaceted approach to studying earth sciences and covers a wide range of scientific disciplines. I’m also happy to be living in a warm climate again after spending two years in Wisconsin!


Vladimir SkokovVladimir Skokov
Title: Assistant Professor, Physics
Research Focus: Quarks and gluons are tiny constituents of matter bound inside protons and neutrons — the building blocks for a nucleus, the central part of every atom compounding every molecule. I am trying to understand how quarks and gluons interact and to learn more about their properties under different conditions.
Why NC State?: I am excited to work with a very active group of researchers in high energy and nuclear theory at NC State and in the greater Triangle area.


Thomas TheisThomas Theis
Title: Assistant Professor, Chemistry
Research Focus: Our lab focuses on magnetic resonance technology, which is an indispensable tool for diverse science used in spin physics and chemical research, as well as medical imaging. Specifically, we develop hyperpolarization chemistry that breaks current sensitivity limitations of magnetic resonance techniques. The emerging technology delivers signal enhancements of up to six orders of magnitude with potential to open many new opportunities in magnetic resonance applications.
Why NC State?: NC State is known for great colleagues, great students and a great atmosphere. I’m ready to Think and Do the Extraordinary!


Yi-Hui ZhouYi-Hui Zhou
Title: Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, and member of the High-Dimensional Integration of Biological Systems connective faculty cluster
Research Focus: I work on the application of math and statistics to biology and medicine — particularly, understanding how to use large amounts of genomic and biochemical data to predict disease.
Why NC State?: I have been in North Carolina for more than 10 years, and this area has become my second home. NC State is known for being a powerhouse in technology, engineering, math and statistics, and being in the Triangle area offers key opportunities to connect with other scientists.

This post was originally published in College of Sciences News.