Meet Our Directors



Director, PRECISE
Cecilia Fitler Moore Professor
Computer and Information Science (CIS)

Education: BS, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1977 Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1983

Insupís research interests are in real-time, embedded, and cyber physical systems, which increasingly affect our daily lives. His research goals are to ensure and improve the correctness, safety, timeliness, trustworthiness, and compositionality of these systems. Insup has been developing techniques and tools for compositional real-time scheduling, model-based development, quantitative trust management, and run-time verification. He has also been transitioning his research results into practice by applying them to safety-critical embedded systems and high-confidence medical device systems.

Links: Email| Publications | Full Profile

Dan Lee

Dan Lee

Director, GRASP
Electrical and Systems Engineering (ESE)

Education: 1995 Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; 1990 AB, Harvard University.

Dan's research focuses on applying knowledge about biological information processing systems to building better artificial sensorimotor systems that can adapt and learn from experience. Drawing from the ways in which biological systems compute and learn, Dan and his lab look at computational neuroscience models, theoretical foundations of machine learning algorithms, as well as constructing real-time intelligent robotic systems, with an ultimate goal of making machines that better understand what we want them to do.

Links: Email | Full Profile

Norman Badler

Norman Badler

Director, HMS
Computer and Information Science (CIS)

Education: Ph.D. in Computer Science, University of Toronto, 1975. MSc in Mathematics, University of Toronto, 1971. BA (with highest honors) in College of Creative Studies, emphasis in Mathematics; University of California, Santa Barbara, 1966-1970.

As director of the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation, Norm investigates computer graphics and artificial intelligence techniques and applications for embodied agents, virtual humans, and human-computer interaction. His major research directions include developing behavior-based animation of human movement for individuals and groups, constructing a parameterized action representation for real-time simulation and animation, and studying the relationship among human movement, natural language, and communication. †Normís crowd and populace simulation research incorporates environmental context and animates actors with roles and stochastic, scheduled, reactive, and opportunistic behaviors.

Links: Email| Personal Webpage | Publications | Full Profile

Centers and Institutes

Our interdisciplinary research centers and institutes span across all departments in Penn Engineering and foster collaborations across different schools throughout the university. The physical connectivity of engineering buildings and our proximity to each of the other schools enables exciting collaborations with faculty, students and postdocs in the Schools of Medicine, Arts and Sciences and Wharton Business School, just to name a few. From biotechnology and robotics, to computer animation and nanotechnology, Penn Engineering's centers and institutes are at the forefront of research on each scientific and technological frontier.

Jump to:
AESOP | HMS | GRASP | CEMB | IME | IRCS | LRSM | NBIC | PCBi| PCMD | Pennergy | PICS | PRECISE | PRiML| ViDi | Warren

Center for Analyzing Evolved Structures as Optimized Products (AESOP)

Shu Yang, Director
The Center for Analyzing Evolved Structures as Optimized Products (AESOP): Science and Engineering for the Human Habitat is a dynamic and highly collaborative center bringing together materials scientists, chemical and biomolecular engineers, mechanical engineers, robotics engineers, systems engineers, and computer scientists with expertise in both active and real time control of materials, metamaterials, and structures. Its goal is address societal issues related to conservation of water, nutrients, energy, and sustainability. Learn more.


General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab

Dan Lee, Director
The General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab is a truly inter-disciplinary research center at the University of Pennsylvania. Founded in 1979, the lab has grown today to be one of the premier research centers focusing on fundamental research in robotics, vision, perception, control, automation and learning. Learn more.

Center for Engineering MechanoBiology


Vivek Shenoy, Director

The Center for Engineering MechanoBiology (CEMB) is a multi-institutional Science and Technology Center funded by the National Science Foundation to advance the study of mechanical forces in molecules, cells, and tissues in plants and animals.

The mission of the CEMB is to create new materials, biomedical therapies, and improved agricultural technologies. Our researchers utilize multidisciplinary approaches to interrogate and guide the formation of biological structures on multiple scales and will create new platforms for innovative research and training as a pipeline to the workforce of the future.

Link to our website:


Institute for Medicine and Engineering (IME)

The mission of the Institute for Medicine and Engineering (IME) is to stimulate fundamental research at the interface between biomedicine and engineering/physical/computational sciences leading to innovative applications in biomedical research and clinical practice. Learn more.

Institute for Research in Cognitive Science (IRCS)

David Brainard, Director
The Institute for Research in Cognitive Science fosters the development of a science of the human mind through the interaction of investigators from the disciplines of Linguistics, Mathematical Logic, Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Science, and Neuroscience. Learn more.

Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM)

Arjun G. Yodh, Director
The Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM) is the intellectual focal point of materials research at Penn. It hosts the Materials Research Science & Engineering Center (MRSEC), which consists of five Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs) plus selected seed projects. The MRSEC provides crucial support for faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students drawn from different disciplines, to tackle complex materials science projects that can only be addressed in a truly collaborative mode. Learn more.

Nano/Bio Interface Center (NBIC)

Charlie Johnson, Director
The Nano/Bio Interface Center at the University of Pennsylvania is a Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) that exploits Penn's internationally recognized strengths in design of molecular function and quantification of individual molecules. The Center unites investigators to provide, not only new directions for the life sciences, but also for engineering in a two-way flow essential to fully realizing the benefits of nano-biotechnology. Learn more.

Penn Center for Bioinformatics (PCBi)

Maya Bucan and Lyle Ungar, Co-Directors
The Center for Bioinformatics focuses on research and education in the rapidly emerging fields of bioinformatics and computational biology, disciplines which deal with the analysis and management of data generated by high-throughput techniques in genomics, molecular and cellular biology. The ultimate goal of our collaborative research is to integrate all levels of information, including the genome sequence, the state of the cell (e.g., transcriptome and the proteome) and the phenotype. Learn more.

Penn Center for Molecular Discovery (PCMD)

Scott Diamond, Director
The Penn Center for Molecular Discovery (PCMD) is a multi-disciplinary center that screens small molecules from around the world in search of new, potentially useful biologically effective agents. The Penn Center for Molecular Discovery is housed within the Institute for Medicine and Engineering. Learn more.

Penn Center for Energy Innovation (Pennergy)

Cherie Kagan and Andrew Rappe, Co-Directors
The Penn Center for Energy Innovation (Pennergy) brings together world-class researchers to solve scientific and technological problems enabling the efficient use of current energy sources, the practical use of more sustainable energy, and the facile conversion of energy to different forms.  The Center researchers and educators integrate and share their knowledge through energy research, educational, and outreach activities that impact researchers, students, and our community. Learn more.

Penn Institute for Computational Science (PICS)

David J. Srolovitz, Director
The formation of the Penn Institute for Computational Science derives from the observation that computing is an important tool for research in essentially every field of study today; from the physical and biological sciences to every part of engineering to linguistics to medicine to psychology. Computing's rapidly changing landscape, while presenting immense opportunities, makes it a challenge for researchers to stay at the state-of-the-art. PICS is formed to address these challenges and opportunities across the University of Pennsylvania. Learn more.

Penn Research in Embedded Computing and Integrated Systems Engineering (PRECISE)

Insup Lee, Director
PRECISE is the point of convergence for several related research efforts by the affiliated faculty in the areas of cyber-physical systems, distributed, real-time, and embedded systems, formal specification and verification, control theory, and trust management. Comprised of researchers from the departments of Computer and Information Science and Electrical and Systems Engineering, the center also collaborates closely with researchers in Robotics, Bioengineering, the School of Medicine, and Wharton. PRECISE research is being applied to several application domains, including embedded software-intensive medical devices, embedded software design and verification, wireless sensors, and robotics. Learn more.

Penn Research in Machine Learning (PRiML)

PRiML The need to analyze and make effective use of the vast amounts of data has made Machine Learning indispensable in many fields of science, medicine and engineering, as well as technology powering modern high-tech industry. Machine Learning addresses the fundamental problems of extracting models and patterns from data. PRiML's focus is on both theoretical and applied aspects of machine learning, especially dealing with fundamental challenges of large scale learning: high dimensionality, very large datasets, limited supervision, adversarial settings, structured outcome spaces. Learn more.

The ViDi Center

Norm Badler, Director
The ViDi Center will fundamentally address the connections between visual analysis and re-synthesis problems, primarily involving 3D objects and environments that pose significant and interesting questions in the Humanities (but also in Medicine and Engineering). The ViDi Center will bring together Engineering and Humanities faculty to embark on deeply collaborative investigations to discover new Computer Graphics modeling and animation methods and apply the best and most appropriate techniques to modeling and visualization challenges presented by human artistic, structural, and cultural artifacts. Learn more.


The Warren Center for Network & Data Sciences

Michael Kearns, Director, and Rakesh Vohra, Co-Director
The Warren Center for Data & Network Sciences is an incubator of forward-thinking research, culturally impactful innovation, and potent interdisciplinary collaboration that challenges how the world views technology. High-caliber faculty members from across the university have a place to centralize, share and develop their wide range of approaches to network science, from economics to sociology to cryptography and more. Here, the brightest data-centric minds at Penn spearhead collaborative research projects, generating collective solutions from once disparate schools of thought. Learn more.

CECR | HMS | GRASP | IME | IRCS | LRSM | NBIC | PCBi| PCMD | Pennergy | PGFI | PRECISE | PRiML| Warren