Message from the Chair

Farhang with Brutus

This past year has been unprecedented for humanity around the world. The Ohio State community of students, faculty, and staff also felt the impact of being isolated due to COVID-19. Our students had to endure unknowns, fears, and anxieties, but the resilience shown by our students, faculty, staff, and administration has been truly inspiring. Rather than allow these extraordinary circumstances to hold them back, they collectively embraced change Together as Buckeyes. Thanks to vaccination, the university community has slowly but surely started to return to campus this autumn, and all signs indicate that we could be fully back on campus in 2022!

While waiting for vaccination, professors Woods and Rayo were hard at work studying post-pandemic industrial safety, as well as communicating the COVID-19 risks on the Ohio State University campuses. You can read more about their work in the 2021 newsletter, but their conclusion is “Operating in this emerging world of turbulence, uncertainty and novelty rewards those who can see and act in new ways rapidly seizing opportunities. The future rewards those who can adapt.”

Other ISE faculty also thrived in their research this past year, including the work of professor Naghizadeh on “Fairness in Machine Learning and AI” which is jointly funded by NSF and Amazon. In addition, from the health perspective, the ISE Department just recruited Prof. Hagen from West Virginia University to take on the role of the director of the Human Performance Collaborative (HPC).  The HPC comprises a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, sports scientists, data scientists, and practitioners with the unified goal of optimizing human performance. Similarly, Prof. Marras, the director of the Spine Research Institute, with the help of a team of engineers, surgeons, rehabilitation specialists, mathematic modelers and doctors continued to make new discoveries about tremendously complex mechanism and a mechanical marvel that is the spine. You can read more about these and other ISE faculty’s research in the 2021 newsletter.

Some of the ISE undergraduate students also were very busy during the pandemic, and thanks to their ingenuity, were successful in launching two new startups. Make sure to read about Electrion, founded by an ISE student and his peers to help reduce carbon footprint. Ikonos Analytics is another startup founded by two ISE students to help organizations utilize the data that they collect in more effective ways.

Speaking of startups, Dr. Maguire, an ISE Grad joined the Silicon Valley startup (Jeli) focused on helping organizations learn from their incidents. The topic of her Ph.D. thesis related to resilience engineering advised by Prof. Woods has inspired the CEO of Jeli to hire her to lead the company’s research activities.

Finally, I would like to express the ISE Department’s full commitment to a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusivity. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the obvious inequities in the nation related to employment opportunities, education, as well as health, food, and housing security. I sincerely believe that a diverse community is essential for achieving our highest potentials. Therefore, as the chair of the ISE Department, I am committed to providing equal opportunities for students, faculty, and staff regardless of their race, gender, or religious belief. I firmly believe that we have been making progress in this respect and will continue our efforts in the future.

Farhang Pourboghrat hi res

I look forward to hearing from you about the stories and news that are featured in the 2021 BuckISE newsletter.

Farhang Pourboghrat

ISE Professor and Chair