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UIC News Tips
University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456, www.uic.edu/depts/paff

July 18, 2001 Contact:Paul Francuch (312) 996-3457; francuch@uic.edu


The appointments of three new department heads and a new executive associate dean in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago were approved last Thursday at a meeting of the university's Board of Trustees.

Kenneth Brezinsky now heads the department of chemical engineering; Mitra Dutta heads the newly formed department of electrical and computer engineering; Peter Nelson heads the department of computer science, also newly formed; and Ishwar Puri is the college's new executive associate dean.

Brezinsky, Nelson and Puri are current faculty members at UIC. Dutta comes to UIC from Research Triangle Park, N.C., where she was a director with the U.S. Army Research Office.

"I am pleased to have these four individuals assume leadership positions in the College of Engineering," said Lawrence Kennedy, dean of the college. "Each individual is an outstanding engineer-scientist who brings to his or her respective position a commitment to make UIC's engineering and computer science programs among the best in the country."

Brezinsky, a professor of chemical engineering, began teaching at UIC in September 1996. His research focuses primarily on combustion chemistry, supercritical hydrocarbon fluids and combustion synthesis of materials. Brezinsky first taught junior high students in Manhattan after earning his B.S. in chemistry from the City College of the City University of New York. He did postdoctoral research and was a lecturer at Princeton University after earning his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from CUNY.

Dutta's research has focused on solid-state physics, as well as electronic and optoelectronic devices. In addition to heading the U.S. Army's Research and Technology Integration Directorate,

Dutta has held adjunct professor positions at Rutgers University, the University of Maryland, North Carolina State University in Raleigh and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has authored or coauthored over 350 publications and presentations and holds 26 patents in the United States and Canada. Dutta earned a B.Sc. from Gauhati University, an M.Sc. in physics from the University of Delhi, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Cincinnati.

Nelson has been on the UIC faculty since 1988 and has directed the university's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory since 1991. He specializes in developing fast, efficient artificial intelligence search techniques with projects in such areas as transportation, molecular biology, manufacturing optimization and computer networking. His work included development of artificial intelligence software tools for the Human Genome Project. Nelson earned a B.A. at North Park College in Chicago. He did his graduate work at Northwestern University, where he earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.

Puri began teaching at UIC in 1990 as a visiting assistant professor. He became a permanent faculty member in 1991. A fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Puri is the author of numerous papers and has lectured widely. His research focuses on combustion, flame ignition and extinction, fire spread and inhibition, pollutant formation and laser diagnostics.

Puri previously served as associate dean for research and graduate studies at UIC's College of Engineering. In his new position, he administers the academic affairs of both undergraduate and graduate programs. He earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Delhi and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in applied mechanics from the University of California at San Diego.

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