UCSB Engineering

July 16, 2013

Professor Francesco Bullo Appointed New Chair of UCSB Mechanical Engineering Department

Professor Francesco Bullo has accepted the appointment of chair of the UC Santa Barbara Department of Mechanical Engineering, effective July 1, 2013. Bullo fills the shoes of outgoing chair Kimberly Turner, who has led the department for the last five years.

“It is a distinct honor for me to serve as chair for our Mechanical Engineering department,” said Bullo. “These are times of sweeping change in higher education and in scientific research and development.”

During Professor Turner ’s stint as head of the department, she has worked to increase the visibility of women and minorities in the academic field. “Our faculty is more diverse than ever, something I am particularly proud of,” said Turner. “Mechanical engineering departments tend to lag significantly in the number of women and ethnic minorities, and I am happy to see us ahead of the curve.”

While increasing the diversity in her department, Turner also managed to steer it through a period marked by late State budgets and funding cuts that led to lean spending plans. Meanwhile, UCSB’s department of Mechanical Engineering continues to attract the best and brightest researchers and students. Several new faculty members are on board, and younger professors, according to Turner, are being recognized for their work with early career awards.

“I do want to thank the entire department for supporting our many efforts over the past five years,” said Turner, who added that she looked forward to working with the new leadership of the department to carry the program forward.

“Our department is truly unique, both in our research efforts, and our interdisciplinary nature, and I hope that that common thread will continue to feed the intellectual pursuits of its members, and allow us to continue to focus on scientific and technological breakthroughs at the boundaries between fields, where so many of the interesting questions lie,” Turner said.

“I am sure my own Ph.D. students will be looking forward to seeing me in the laboratory more often, as well,” added Turner.

Bullo intends to continue the department’s momentum, he said. Bullo’s broad goals for the Mechanical Engineering department include the strengthening of its undergraduate design curriculum, continuing to hire and mentor young talented scientists, and developing research efforts in a broad range of subjects, including energy efficiency, advanced manufacturing and bio-inspired engineering.

Professor Bullo earned his Laurea degree from the University of Padova, Italy, and holds a PhD in control and dynamical systems from the California Institute of Technology. From 1998 to 2004, he was an assistant professor with the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, before joining the faculty at UCSB’s College of Engineering in 2004.

Bullo’s main research interests are in multi-agent networks with application to robotic coordination, power grids and social networks. An IEEE Fellow and author of over 200 papers, he has also co-written two books, “Geometric Control of Mechanical Systems,” and “Distributed Control of Robotic Networks.” Bullo is affiliated with the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies and the Center for Control, Dynamical Systems, and Computation at UCSB.

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