SCET names Tarek Zohdi as new Academic Director

Prof. Tarek I. Zohdi

The Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SCET) at the University of California, Berkeley has just named Tarek Zohdi to be its new Academic Director and member of its new Faculty Committee. Zohdi currently serves as the Will C. Hall Endowed Chair Professor in Berkeley Mechanical Engineering, Chair of the UCB Designated Emphasis for Computational & Data Science & Engineering Program and Associate Dean for Post-Baccalaureate Programs in the College of Engineering.

As the new academic director, Zohdi will lead SCET’s efforts to plan and develop its courses and innovation curriculum to continue to deliver high quality entrepreneurship education to Berkeley students and students around the world. Tarek will help SCET form new partnerships with other departments within Berkeley Engineering and across campus to include new students and align with similar programs to create unique initiatives and include more students in SCET’s award-winning entrepreneurship program.

“We are honored to have Tarek join SCET as our new academic director, to help us drive our innovation curriculum and benefit Berkeley students,” says SCET Chief Scientist and Faculty Director, Ikhlaq Sidhu. “As a renowned academic and pioneer in modeling and simulation in manufacturing, biological systems, fabrics and other industrial applications, Tarek is a perfect fit to help us develop our technology-focused entrepreneurship curriculum.”

Zohdi received his Ph.D. in 1997 in computational and applied mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin and in July 2001, he became a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In July 2012, he was appointed Chair of the Designated Emphasis for Computational & Data Science & Engineering Program at UC Berkeley, and from 2018-2020 served as the Chief Technology Officer for the UC Berkeley Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership.

He was a Chancellor’s Professor of Mechanical Engineering from 2014-2020 and is the current holder of the W. C. Hall Family Endowed Chair in Engineering. He also holds a staff scientist position at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and an adjunct scientist position at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute. His main research interests are in modeling, simulation and optimization of advanced manufacturing processes with emphasis on nonconvex multiscale-multiphysics inverse problems. He has published over 175 archival refereed journal papers and seven books. He serves on the editorial advisory boards of ten international journals. 

In addition to his academic credentials, Zohdi has been active in two main industrial areas:

  • Modeling and simulation of high-strength fabric: Zohdi has pioneered the computational analysis of high-strength ballistic fabric shielding. Initially, this work was funded by the FAA and Boeing as part of a 10 year (2001-2011) multi-million dollar laboratory and simulation effort to develop ballistic fabric shields for the Boeing 787. 
  • Modeling and simulation of highly heterogeneous materials: Zohdi pioneered the computational analysis of particulate functionalized materials in multiphysical regimes. This work has been continuously funded by a number of industries, most notably for power-generation materials in harsh environments such as thermal barrier turbine blade coating materials (CMCs: Ceramic Matrix Composites) and high-voltage electromagnetic generator (dielectric) materials, such as End Corona Protection systems.

Zohdi’s full biography can be found at UC Berkeley Mechanical Engineering.

In order to incorporate a diversity of perspectives into the leadership of SCET’s academic programs, the position of academic director will be a rotating position elected by the SCET faculty committee with Zohdi’s inaugural term ending in June 2023 and each subsequent director’s term being appointed every 2 years thereafter.