Introducing Vice President of Research Ishwar Puri

We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Ishwar Puri will be joining our community as Vice President of Research, effective August 1, 2021.

Dr. Puri comes to us from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where he is dean of the engineering school, professor in the department of mechanical engineering, and an associate member of the department of engineering physics. Under Dr. Puri’s guidance, McMaster is ranked among Canada’s top engineering programs where he oversaw substantial growth in the research enterprise and directed the only data center research facility in Canada.

Dr. Puri also led strategies that improved the first-to-second year retention of undergraduate engineering students; the development of a new interdisciplinary Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences Plus program; and the transformation of the undergraduate engineering curriculum. Under his leadership, the number of doctoral students greatly expanded. He also focused on improving McMaster’s inclusivity by introducing diversity training for everyone involved in faculty recruiting and expanding the representation of women among engineering and computer science faculty and integrated biomedical engineering students.

Dr. Puri is ranked among the top two percent of scientists in the world. He is an expert in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology, transport phenomena, fluid mechanics, combustion, mathematical biology, and higher education. As a scientist and engineer, he sits on the forefront of breakthrough research in areas that promote evidence-based solutions to improve society, enable innovative applications and advance a revolutionary age for science and technology around the world. He is the author of over 200 publications and books and has founded and mentored numerous startups.

Prior to joining the faculty at McMaster, Dr. Puri spent nearly a decade at Virginia Tech where he served as Department Head in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics and N. Waldo Harrison Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics. He also spent 14 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he rose to the position of Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and Executive Associate Dean of Engineering.

In service to his field, he sits on the boards of many national and local organizations, including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science (NCDEAS). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). In addition, he serves on the editorial board of Scientific Reports, a Nature Group journal, and is an associate editor of Research, a Science partner journal. Dr. Puri obtained his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Science from the University of California, San Diego and B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delhi.

We would like to thank the search committee, co-chaired by Pinchas Cohen, Dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, and Elizabeth Graddy, Executive Vice Provost, for their time, dedication, and valuable input.

We are extremely grateful to Maja Matarić for her strong and skilled leadership of the USC Research and Innovation (R&I) as interim vice president. Under her guidance and care, research at USC remained robust and expanded throughout the pandemic and she has played an integral role in our restart efforts.

We very much look forward to Dr. Puri’s partnership with the senior leadership team. We know he will bring his strong experience and a collaborative and innovative approach as we seek to build on and expand our excellent research across our university. Please help us welcome Ishwar, and his spouse Beth Levinson, to the Trojan Family.