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See the previous winners from the Rising Researchers program

Rising Researchers are honored at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing each year

Rising Researchers
The Rising Researchers recognition program started in 2017 and honors selected applicants at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing each year. SPIE is pleased to offer this program that provides recognition for outstanding work and offers a variety of benfits to selected individuals, from a fee waiver and free half-day course to networking with event leadership. 

Read the story about a 2018 Rising Researcher

2019 Winners Honored
April 2019

2020 Application Opens
July 2019

2018 Winners

Discipline: Nanotechnology
Amit Agrawal
Amit Agrawal
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Amit Agrawal, is a Project Leader in the Nanoscale Imaging and Spectroscopy Group at the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and an Associate Research Scientist at the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics of the University of Maryland, College Park. He received a Bachelors with Honors in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from the Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University India and, M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Utah. His research interests are broadly focused on investigating the interaction of light with nanoscale structures where he is developing novel time-resolved optical spectroscopy and microscopy techniques in the visible, mid-infrared and terahertz ranges for applications in nanophotonic, energy and nanoelectronic devices and systems. He is a past recipient of the University of Utah Graduate Research Fellowship, New Focus/Bookham Award from OSA, IEEE/LEOS Graduate Student Fellowship, and the D. J. Lovell Scholarship from SPIE.
Paper: Nanoscale Imaging and Sensing using Hyperbolic Metamaterials (10657-23)

 

Discipline: Industrial Sensing & Measurement
Michael Buric
Michael Buric
National Energy Technology Lab
Dr. Michael P. Buric is a research scientist at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia in the Lab’s Research and Innovation Center on the Functional Materials Development Team. His current research interests include the modeling and fabrication of fiber-based optical sensors and devices, harsh-environment sensing for energy applications, Laser-heated pedestal growth of single-crystal optical fibers, novel waveguide fabrication, distributed sensing, fiber embedding, additive manufacturing, and applications of Raman spectroscopy. Dr. Buric currently has been awarded several patents and is published extensively in the proceedings of the SPIE and elsewhere. He is also the lead Laser Safety Officer at NETL in addition to overseeing several energy-related research projects.
Paper: Single-crystal fiber structures for harsh environment applications (10654-22)

 

Discipline: Nanotechnology
Pai-Yen Chen
Pai-Yen Chen
Wayne State University
Dr. Pai-Yen Chen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Wayne State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, working on concepts and applications of plasmonics and metamaterials in optical regime. He conducted interdisciplinary research at the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory (USA) and the National Nano Device Laboratories (Taiwan) before joining Wayne State. Dr. Chen’s research interests include plasmonic, metamaterial and nanophotonic devices for light detection and harvesting, sensing, imaging, and nonlinear nano-optics.
Paper: Hyperbolic Metamaterial-Based Plasmoelectronic Nanodevices for Infrared Detection and Energy Harvesting (10639-21)

 

Discipline: Defense & Security
Amber Dagel
Amber Dagel
Sandia National Laboratories
Dr. Amber L. Dagel is an optical scientist at Sandia National Laboratories who manipulates light in non-conventional ways to deliver intelligence, whether about the state of an ion, signals in the brain, internal defects in a component, or for 3D scene rendering. Amber knows that if you can’t see it, you’re not measuring the right parameter and with a passion for leadership and developing multi-disciplinary teams she demonstrates that it’s collaboration and diverse perspectives that enable solutions to tough challenges. Amber’s creativity and technical accomplishments have been recognized through 2 patents, several patent disclosures, and Sandia’s Up and Coming Innovator award. Amber holds a BA in Physics from Middlebury College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Optical Sciences from The University of Arizona.
Paper: Defect detection in foams and encapsulants using grating-based x-ray phase contrast imaging (10632-21)

 

Discipline: Electronic Imaging & Signal Processing
Shuowen Hu
Shuowen Hu
US Army Research Laboratory
Shuowen “Sean” Hu received the B.S. in electrical and computer engineering from Cornell University in 2005, and the Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue University in 2009. Following graduation, he joined the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) as an electronics engineer in the Image Processing Branch. He has over 45 conference and journal publications – he received a best paper award at IEEE WACV 2016, a runner-up best paper award at IEEE BTAS 2016, and three of his journal articles have been highlighted in OSA’s “Spotlight on Optics”. His current research focuses on cross-spectrum face recognition as well as on target detection and classification.
Paper: An Overview of Polarimetric Thermal Imaging for Biometrics (10655-1)

 

Discipline: Optical Design & Engineering
Chengwei Qiu
Chengwei Qiu
National Univ. of Singapore
Prof. Cheng-Wei Qiu received his B.Eng. and Ph. D. degree in 2003 and 2007, respectively. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Physics Department in MIT till the end of 2009. Since December 2009, he joined NUS as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in Jan 2017. He has published over 160 peer-reviewed journal papers with over 6,000 total citations and wide media coverage inlcuding Science, Nature Physics, Nature Nanotechnology, MIT Technology Review; PRL, etc.
Paper: Structured surfaces: Imaging, security print, and beyond (10639-25)

 

Discipline: Industrial Sensing & Measurement
Matthew Reichert
Matthew Reichert
Princeton University
Matthew Reichert is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University. He received a B.S. in Optical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2010, and M.S. in 2012 and Ph.D. in 2015 in Optics and Photonics from the College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida. His doctoral work in nonlinear optics included the observation of nondegenerate two-photon gain for investigation of two-photon semiconductor lasers, as well as development and application of novel techniques for ultrafast nonlinear optical characterization. At Princeton University, he works in quantum optics on techniques for rapid and efficient measurement of high-dimensional entangled states of light and their applications.
Paper: HD Quantum Optics (10638-43)

 

Discipline: Defense & Security
Russell Shirey
Russell Shirey
United States Air Force
Captain Russell Shirey is the technical and program lead for the Air Force Research Laboratory's Blue Guardian Combat Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) program, leading development and testing of new and novel rapid sensor integration technologies with a focus on the use of open architectures and adaptable interfaces. Captain Shirey received his commission in 2010 after graduating from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and completing Officer Training School. He has extensive experience with the Air Force’s premier air-to-air weapons, electronic warfare on the F-35 aircraft, and technical expertise in software development, cyber warfare, and ISR capabilities. Captain Shirey completed his M.S. in computer engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology in 2015 and was recently selected by the Air Force to begin a PHD program in Fall 2018.
Paper: Blue Guardian Open Adaptable Architecture for C4ISR (10651-8)

 

Discipline: Defense & Security
Mark Spencer
Mark Spencer
Air Force Research Laboratory
Mark F. Spencer is a Research Physicist at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Directed Energy Directorate. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Optical Science and Engineering (OSE) at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Department of Engineering Physics. In addition to being a Senior Member of SPIE, he is a member of the Directed Energy Professional Society, the Optical Society, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Beta Kappa, and Omicron Delta Kappa. Mark received his BS in physics from the University of Redlands in 2008 and his MS and PhD in OSE from AFIT in 2011 and 2014, respectively.
Paper: Signal-to-noise models for digital-holographic detection (10650-7)

 

Discipline: Electronic Imaging & Signal Processing
Alina Zare
Alina Zare
University of Florida
Alina Zare conducts research and teaches in the area of pattern recognition and machine learning in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Florida. Dr. Zare develops algorithms for automated analysis of large data sets from a variety of (usually, non-visual) sensors including multi- and hyperspectral imagery, LiDAR, ground penetrating radar, mini-rhizotron imagery, synthetic aperture sonar, wide band electromagnetic induction data, synthetic aperture radar, and others. Her current research work includes applications in plant phenotyping, plot root imaging and analysis, forestry, remote sensing, landmine and explosive hazard detection, sub-pixel target characterization and detection, and underwater scene understanding.
Paper: Sample spacing variations on the feature performance for subsurface object detection using handheld ground penetrating radar (10628-34)

 

2017 Winners

Discipline: Defense & Security
Nathan Cahill
Nathan Cahill
Rochester Institute of Technology
Nathan Cahill is an Associate Professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences and an Associate Dean of the College of Science at Rochester Institute of Technology. He directs the Image Computing and Analysis Lab at RIT, which focuses on the development of mathematical models and computational algorithms for the analysis of color, hyperspectral, and medical imagery in a variety of applications. Before joining the RIT faculty, he spent thirteen years as a researcher at Eastman Kodak Company and Carestream Health, during which he earned a DPhil in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford. He has published over 60 journal and conference papers to date and is an inventor on 26 US patents.
Piecewise Flat Embeddings for Hyperspectral Image Analysis (DS122-13)

 

Discipline: Nanotechnology
Matt Graham
Matt Graham
Oregon State University
Matt Graham is an Assistant Professor of Physics at Oregon State University since September 2013. Before that, he received his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley and was a Kavli Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University from 2010-13. At Oregon State, Professor Graham’s lab is called Micro-Femto Energetics Lab and it studies the ‘on-chip’ behavior of electrons in materials by combing high temporal resolution (~10-15 s) with small spatial resolution (<10-6 m).
Ultrafast microscopy for resolving the efficiency-limiting photocurrent generation dynamics in van der Waals materials (DS117-5)

 

Discipline: Nanotechnology
John Hennessy
John Hennessy
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
John Hennessy is a technologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. He received his BE and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from The Cooper Union in 2002 and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010, respectively. His current research interests include the development of atomic layer deposition and etching processes for optical and electrical applications related to UV detector-integrated filters, UV reflective coatings, and semiconductor surface passivation.
Materials and process development for the fabrication of far ultraviolet device-integrated filters for visible-blind Si sensors (SI102-14)

 

Discipline: Defense & Security
Daniel LeMaster
Daniel LeMaster
Air Force Research Laboratory
Dr. LeMaster is the Technical Advisor for the EO Target Detection and Surveillance Branch in the Sensors Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). His purview includes the efforts of 18 engineers and scientists. He is a author or co-author on over 30 conference and journal papers, 1 book chapter, and 1 patent (pending). Some of his recent research activities have improved high altitude reconnaissance imaging systems and provided new tools for treaty inspectors. He has also served as a conference chair, committee member, and guest journal editor for SPIE.
pyBSM: A Python package for modeling imaging systems (DS128-6)

 

Discipline: Nanotechnology
Yongmin Liu
Yongmin Liu
Northeastern University
Dr. Yongmin Liu obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009, and he joined the faculty of Northeastern University at Boston in fall 2012 with a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Dr. Liu’s research interests include nano optics, nanoscale materials and engineering, plasmonics, metamaterials, nano optomechanics, as well as optical imaging and sensing. He has authored and co-authored over 50 journal papers, including Science, Nature, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Communications, Physical Review Letters and Nano Letters. Dr. Liu received Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2016), 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award (2016), Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship (2015), and Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad (2009).
Deep-subwavelength near-field imaging based on perovskite and doped semiconductors at infrared frequencies (DS118-2)

 

Discipline: Electronic Imaging & Signal Processing
Daniela Moody
Daniela Moody
Descartes Labs
Daniela’s work at Descartes Labs focuses on developing improved feature extraction algorithms for multi-spectral satellite imagery that combine sensor fusion, adaptive signal processing, and machine learning techniques. She was at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 9 years prior to joining Descartes, working on remote sensing and machine learning applications in various research areas, including space systems, astronomy, and nuclear non-proliferation. She received her PhD in Electrical Engineering, with a focus on Signal Processing, from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2012.
Crop classification using temporal stacks of multispectral satellite imagery (DS122-30)

 

Discipline: Electronic Imaging & Signal Processing
Shuo Pang
Shuo Pang
University of Central Florida
Dr. Shuo Pang is an Assistant Professor at CREOL-College of Optics and Photonics at University of Central Florida. He obtained his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from Caltech and Bachelor degree in Optical Engineering from Tsinghua University. His research focuses on developing computational imaging systems and their applications in biomedical diagnosis and industrial testing. He holds 10 US patents in imaging systems and is a recipient of 2016 Ralph E Powe Junior Faculty Award (Oak Ridge Associated Universities) in Engineering or Applied Science.
Compressive Video Sensing with Side Information (DS110-2 and SI120-8)

 

Discipline: Optical Design & Engineering
Junsuk Rho
Junsuk Rho
Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)
Junsuk Rho is currently an assistant professor with dual appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Republic of Korea. Before joining POSTECH, He received a degree his B.S. (2007), M.S. (2008), Ph.D. (2013) in Mechanical Engineering at Seoul National University and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, University of California, Berkeley, respectively and then he worked as a Ugo Fano Fellow in Nanoscience and Technology Division at Argonne National Laboratory. Dr. Rho has published over 15 high impact peer-reviewed journal papers including Science, Nature Materials, Nature Photonics and Nature Communications. He has also received honorable awards including Samsung Scholarship (2008-2013), the Optical Society of America (OSA) Milton/Chang Award, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) Scholarship (2011 & 2012), Materials Research Society (MRS) student award (2012), U.S. DOE Argonne Named Fellowship (2013) and Edmund Optics award (2015).
Hyperlens for real-time high-throughput biomolecular imaging (DS118-12)

 

Discipline: Remote Sensing
Adrian Tang
Adrian Tang
UCLA / NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Adrian Tang has over 16 years of CMOS/SiGe IC design experience in both research and commercial wireless environments with projects ranging from commercial Bluetooth and WLAN chipsets to mm-wave and THz chipsets for communication, radar and spectrometer systems. Adrian is currently a researcher with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, as well as the University of California, Los Angeles. At JPL, Adrian currently directs the space-system-on-chip (SoC) laboratory and is currently leading development of a wide range of CMOS SoC chipsets for spectrometer, radiometer, and radar instruments targeting Earth science, planetary, and astrophysics investigations at microwave to sub-mm-wavelengths. At UCLA his research focuses on low power backscatter communication systems and high speed wire-line data links.
Overview of CMOS technology for radiometry and passive imaging (DS118-10)

 

Discipline: Biomedical Optics & Medical Imaging
Fei Tian
Fei Tian
Stevens Institute of Technology
Dr. Fei Tian is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Stevens Institute of Technology. She obtained her B.S. and M.S. at ECNU (China) and Ph.D. at Stevens. Her research interests focus on the development in the interface of photonics and functional nanomaterials and thin films at multi-length scales. She has authored multiple publications in the field of fiber optics and sensing and her research is funded by ACS PRF and NSF.
Lab-on-fiber optofluidic platform for in-situ study of therapeutic peptides and bacterial response (SI112-7)