Speaker Series

The Faculty Excellence Speaker Series invites high-profile scholars to share their knowledge and experience working in multidisciplinary teams at institutions around the country. Focusing on research related to UCF’s six Faculty Cluster Initiative focal areas, this speaker series is designed to enrich the academic experience and offer insights into these important areas of research.

For 2015-2016, UCF’s cluster focal areas are: Cyber Security and Privacy, Energy Conversion and Propulsion, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Prosthetic Interfaces, Renewable Energy Systems, and Sustainable Coastal Systems. For more information about UCF’s cluster initiative, visit the Faculty Cluster Initiative website.


Past Speakers

Geobiology: Finding those microbes that make a living from the geosphere – on Earth and perhaps elsewhere!

Kenneth Nealson
This presentation will cover how extreme environments on Earth have altered our view of where and how life might exist in the universe. The extremophilic microbes that inhabit these niches have shown us many new metabolic abilities, some of which were quite unsuspected.

Presented by Dr. Kenneth Nealson, Wrigley Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC), on Monday, January 30, 2017.

For more information, see the event flyer.

Microbiomes and Microbial Fuel Cells for Sustainable Sanitation

Orianna Bretschger
This presentation will cover how pilot-scale installations of microbial fuel cell systems for the treatment of swine waste and human waste have shown that microbial fuel cells can provide a sustainable mechanism for improved sanitation and water recycling.

Presented by Dr. Orianna Bretschger, associate professor in the electromicrobiology group at the J. Craig Venter Institute, on Monday, December 5, 2016.

For more information, see the event flyer.

Biomaterial Mechanics and Musculoskeletal Regeneration

David Mooney
This presentation looks at recent research regarding the ability of biomaterials, via their intrinsic mechanical properties or mechanical stimulation of injured tissues, to promote regeneration and suggests new new paradigms for regenerative medicine.

Presented by Dr. David Mooney, professor of engineering and applied science at Harvard University, on Monday, April 18, 2016.

For more information, see the event flyer.

Unraveling Microbial Diversity and Function Using Large-scale ‘-omics’ Approaches

Jon Sensinger
In this talk, Dr. Yooseph will describe his research on microbial communities and ecosystems in several environments, including the global oceans, air and humans, and the computational challenges involved in analyzing the associated data.

Presented by Dr. Shibu Yooseph, professor of informatics at the J. Craig Venter Institute, on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

For more information, see the event flyer.

Paradigm Changes in Prostheses: From New Shifts in Technology to New Definitions of Success

Jon Sensinger
This talk will cover some of the game-changing paradigm shifts in the field of prosthetics, ranging from surgical, engineering, and therapeutic, and ultimately understanding how the user’s behavior itself is integral to optimizing the system.

Presented by Dr. Jon Sensinger, associate professor of electrical engineering at the University of New Brunswick, on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.

For more information, see the event flyer.

Neural Interfaces for Control of Prostheses: State-of-the-art and Future Directions

Alexander Leonessa
This talk will describe how researchers are exploring methods of connecting with muscles, nerves and the brain to increase functionality for patients and the ongoing technological advances that create new opportunities to solve traditional problems with neural interfaces.

Presented by Dr. Alexander Leonessa, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, on Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

For more information, see the event flyer.

Next-generation Sequencing to Link Genotype and Phenotype in Birds

This talk will highlight efforts from Dr. Edwards’ lab to take advantage of natural experiments, within and between species, to better understand the basis of micro-evolutionary changes in birds.

Presented by Dr. Scott V. Edwards, professor of zoology at Harvard University, on Monday, February 8, 2016.

For more information, see the event flyer.

Why We Do and Don’t Worry About Climate Change

Drawing on studies from different fields related to risk perception, this discussion will examine some of the dominant cognitive and sociocultural influences on environmental decision-making, focusing on coastal south Florida.

Presented by Dr. Kenny Broad, professor and chair of marine ecosystems and society at the University of Miami, on Monday, February 1, 2016.

For more information, see the event flyer.

Breaking Mobile Social Networks for Automated User Location Tracking

During this talk, Dr. Ren will illustrate, through identified attacks, that a malicious individual with the capability of no more than any regular location-based social network (LBSN) user can easily break most LBSNs, as well as the defense approaches and research opportunities that arise because of it.

Presented by Dr. Kui Ren, associate professor of computer science and engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo, on Friday, January 29, 2016.

For more information, see the event flyer.

Big Data Security and Privacy

This presentation will discuss the methods and techniques to get over big data’s biggest barriers – such as rising privacy concerns and ethical and legal implications – as well as the many benefits of data mining and directions for research.

Presented by Dr. Elisa Bertino, professor of computer science at Purdue University, on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

For more information, see the event flyer.

Adaptive Planning for Coastal Resistance Under Climate Change

This discussion will examine three components of climate change and urbanization – hazard, exposure and vulnerability – to aid in risk assessment and to construct coastal communities that are more socially, economically and physically resilient.

Presented by Dr. Zhenghong Tang, associate professor in the Community and Regional Planning Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, on Friday, January 22, 2016.

For more information, see the event flyer.

Synchronized Phasor Measurement Data and Their Applications in Power Systems

This talk will present research conducted at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on the use of synchronized phasor measurements to improve the reliable operation of power systems.

Presented by Dr. Joe H. Chow, professor of electrical, computer and systems engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, on Friday, January 15, 2016.

For more information, see the event flyer.