Spanier and Taheri Receive Promotions

Published on Monday September 15, 2014

Dr. Jonathan Spanier has been promoted to full professor and Dr. Mitra Taheri has received tenure and been promoted to Hoeganaes Associate Professor as of September 1, 2014.

Taheri joined Drexel’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering as Hoeganeas Assistant Professor in the 2008 academic year. She earned her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005. Prior to joining Drexel Materials, Taheri was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a Guest Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and worked at the Naval Research Laboratory, where she was chosen as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow.

Taheri’s research interests range from the development of the ultrafast Dynamic Transmission Electron Microscope (DTEM) for the study of laser-induced microstructural evolution/phase transformations in nanostructured materials, to the use of various in-situ Transmission Electron Microscopy techniques. Her research has been published in Science, Journal of Applied Physics, and several other reputable peer-reviewed journals.

Educationally, she helped form Drexel’s minor in Nuclear Engineering, and developed an NRC-funded program to attract women to materials and nuclear energy science: “Drexel WINS: Women in Nuclear Science.”

Spanier received a Ph.D. with Distinction from Columbia University in 2001 in applied physics (condensed matter). He completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in physical chemistry at Harvard University prior to joining the Drexel faculty in 2003. In addition to his faculty appointment, he directs the University’s Centralized Research Facilities. He served as associate dean of the College of Engineering, leading development of the College’s 2013-18 Strategic Plan. He also served as Interim Associate Department Head for Drexel Materials from 2006-08 and as the University Provost Fellow in 2009. Prior to completing his Ph.D., Professor Spanier held research and technical staff positions at the US Naval Research Laboratory in physical acoustics and in the semiconductor device industry (Kulite, Inc.), and was a visiting lecturer at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in 2001.

Spanier’s research investigates the structure, chemistry and properties of new environmentally-friendly polar oxide perovskites for efficient and low-cost photovoltaic solar energy conversion. With colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania, Spanier co-invented the first semiconducting absorber that possesses a compositionally-tunable band gap spanning the visible spectrum and is simultaneously polar for promoting carrier separation without a junction. His group also applies a variety of analytical methods, including scanning proximal probes and Raman scattering spectroscopy.

Professor Spanier currently serves as the Director and PI for the GAANN for Renewable Energy Technology and Infrastructure Networks (RETAIN) and for Engineers as Global Leaders in Energy Sustainability (EAGLES) at Drexel, US Dept. of Education-supported projects. 

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