SET Faculty Directory, including research interests
Dean: Dr. Raj Katti
Raj Katti, Ph.D. joined the UW Tacoma faculty in 2014 as the interim leader of the then UWT "Institute of Technology" from 2015 to 2017. During that time, he helped guide the Institute’s transition from a program to the School of Engineering & Technology and was named dean of the new school.
Dr. Katti did his undergraduate work at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (now Mumbai), India. He has an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Washington State University.
Associate Dean for Research & Innovation: Dr. Ka Yee Yeung-Rhee
Appointed Associate Dean in 2021, Dr. Yeung-Rhee has excelled in mentoring students in research, publishing in prestigious venues and receiving grants from federal agencies.
Dr. Yeung-Rhee’s research focuses on the development of optimized methods and cloud-enabled software tools to facilitate the reproducible analyses of big biomedical data. She also develops machine learning methods that blend both computer science and statistics for applications in bioinformatics. She has an established track record in collaborative grant awards, with over $5.3 million funding, serving as the PI of parent grants or subcontracts from federal agencies, military, academic and industry partners (including the prestigious NIH R01 grant for $1.032 million). Noteworthy is Dr. Yeung-Rhee’s collaboration with the Madigan Army Medical Center (the Medical center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord) on several research projects.
Dr. Yeung-Rhee publishes in top tier journals such as Nature Communications, Bioinformatics, Cell Systems, Blood, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Gigascience, Annals of Applied Statistics, PLOS Computational Biology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Cell Systems, Genome Biology, Molecular Cancer Research, BMC Systems Biology, BMC Genomics, and Neoplasia.
In 2020, Dr. Yeung-Rhee founded the company BioDepot LLC to develop software tools to enable the reproducible analyses of big biomedical data.
Dr. Yeung-Rhee works on research projects with both undergraduate and graduate students. In order to attract students to STEM areas she conducted the Summer Institute for Research Education in Bioinformatics and Biostatistics from 2016-2020 with students from UWT, PLU, UWS, and community colleges. She has served as a research mentor for many PhD students at UWS and UWT, for more than 25 MS students at UWT, and for many UG students.
She has been an excellent research mentor for faculty and at least one of her mentees has received NSF and NIH grants.
Dr. Yeung-Rhee received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from UWS in 2001. Courses she teaches include undergraduate courses such as data structures and algorithms, and graduate courses such as Bioinformatics, advanced algorithms, and the research seminar in bioinformatics. She was the 2018-19 Faculty Assembly Chair on the UWT campus and the recipient of the 2019 UWT distinguished research award.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Inclusion: Dr. Heather Dillon
Dr. Heather Dillon is Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington Tacoma, where her research team is working on renewable energy systems, solid-state lighting, energy efficiency in buildings, fundamental heat transfer studies, and engineering education.
She is the Chair of the Council on Undergraduate Research Engineering Division and recently served as the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in STEM Education at the University of Calgary, Alberta. Before joining academia, Heather Dillon worked for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) as a senior research engineer working on both energy efficiency and renewable energy systems, where she received the US Department of Energy Office of Science Outstanding Mentor Award. During her time at the University of Portland she received the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research Faculty Member (2017) and the Outstanding Scholarship Award (2020) for research excellence.
Dillon earned her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Washington, and she spent 10 years as a researcher with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Dillon managed a number of multi-million-dollar projects related to energy efficiency during her time at PNNL. “I did a lot of work around green buildings and renewable energy,” she said.
Renewable energy and energy efficiency are two of Dillon’s research interests. She is also on the forefront of research into STEM education. In 2019, she served as Fulbright Canada Research Chair in STEM Education at the University of Calgary. “I did a Fulbright exchange where I worked with other faculty on ways to systematically change STEM education,” said Dillon. The group set up a system of faculty peer observation. “The theory is that if we watch each other teach, we will learn something that might be a little different, a little bit supportive of culture change in STEM fields,” she said.
An artist as well as a mechanical engineer, Dr. Dillon is an avid photographer whose work has been featured in exhibitions and shows. “I love photography because it teaches you how to see the beauty in every aspect of our lives, big or small,” she said. Dillon’s work covers everything from people and places to math and science. “My approach to photography is often focused on the way science and nature are linked together,” she said.
Hardware architectures, system software (firmware, operating systems, middleware, and novel applications), parallel and distributed systems, tools for efficiently exploiting the computational capacity of high-end computing systems, performance analysis, real-time data analytics