Dr. Joe Kileel & Dr. Bo Zhao

Oden Institute Welcomes Two New Faculty to UT Austin

The Oden Institute is delighted to welcome two new faculty, Drs. Joe Kileel and Bo Zhao, to our community and to UT Austin. Dr. Kileel joins us from Princeton while Zhao just completed his post doc at Harvard Medical School.

Their appointments represent the first time the Oden Institute has had the opportunity to play a leadership role in recruiting junior faculty. The process for each required a collaborative approach involving departments across three schools. Bo Zhao was hired through a search in Computational Medicine, conducted in collaboration with the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Biomedical Engineering (BME) at the Cockrell School, the Dell Medical School, and the Department of Neuroscience in the College of Natural Sciences. Joe Kileel was hired through a search in Interfaces of Data Science and Computational Science, conducted collaboratively with the Department of Mathematics, Department of Statistics and Data Science, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, and ECE.

Dr. Joe Kileel is assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin and core faculty at the Oden Institute.

What research are you currently involved with?

My research fields are computational algebra and applied mathematics. I get excited about applied problems with interesting underlying algebraic or geometric structure. Right now, I have a number of projects in the areas of computational imaging, numerical multilinear algebra and optimization. Mostly, my research falls under the umbrella of data science.

Why did you decide to come to UT Austin?

When I visited UT in January, the environment stood out as a friendly, research-interdisciplinary and high-energy place. I am excited about interacting with the esteemed faculty and also working with graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. I think the Oden Institute will expose me to mathematical problems arising from scientific and engineering challenges that I might not have become aware of otherwise. I look forward to those opportunities.
The Oden Institute houses computationally-minded researchers from many departments and backgrounds. I think the Institute’s emphasis on computational science as a unifying principle is quite unique and forward-looking.

Do you have any specific goals and/or applications for your work?

One overarching goal for me is that my research should contribute to truly relevant scientific and engineering applications. For that reason, I enjoy starting with certain applications in mind and working backwards to uncover mathematical questions and broader theory.

My research has connections to the following real-world applications: cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray free electron lasers, structure-from-motion in computer vision, data compression and motion segmentation.

I do this flavor of interdisciplinary research because it is fun. I enjoy having the theorems I try to prove be led by computer experiments. There is a sense of discovery when you compute numerical examples on computer, make a curious observation and then are able to prove the pattern holds in general. In an ideal world, my theorems will reveal new abstract mathematics, and improve algorithms for important applications.”

Bo Zhao is Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering and core faculty at Oden Institute.

What research are you currently involved with?

My research is in the general area of computational imaging and medical imaging, which lies at the intersection of imaging science and data science. Specifically, my group at Austin will focus on developing novel mathematical models, computational algorithms, and data acquisition schemes to address inverse problems in medical imaging. And we take unique approaches that synergistically integrate physics, information processing, and computation to push the performance limits of medical imaging systems (e.g., image resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and imaging speed).

Why did you decide to come to UT Austin?

I really like the vibrant interdisciplinary research environment at the Oden Institute. There are so many wonderful colleagues here and I feel excited about the opportunities to collaborate with them. To name a few, I hope to collaborate with Dr. Tom Yankeelov on cancer imaging and Dr. Michael Sacks on cardiovascular imaging and modeling. I also hope to collaborate with Dr. Omar Ghattas and Dr. George Biros on developing advanced computational approaches to solving imaging-related inverse problems.

My research fits very well with research themes at the Oden Institute, so I am confident that my research will benefit greatly from this special research environment. I am also excited about the opportunities ahead for me to make unique and impactful contributions to the Oden Institute, especially the new computational medicine initiative.

Do you have any specific goals and/or applications for your work?

Computation is always an integral part of any solution to big science and technology problems. From exploring outer space to designing complex energy systems, addressing climate change and improving healthcare. Traditional physics-based, chemistry-based, or biology-based approaches have, in some areas, reached their limit.

With advanced computational approaches, we not only can transform these traditional approaches but also change the solution paradigm so that we can solve a wide range of problems that were considered impossible using conventional methods.

Posted: Sept. 17, 2020