You may have noticed some new faces around the Mathematics Department! This fall semester the Department welcomed 26 new research and instructional faculty members, including our new Department Chair, Sarah Reznikoff.

Dr. Reznikoff joined the Mathematics Department on Aug. 10 from Kansas State University, where she was a professor of mathematics, directed the graduate program, and previously served as interim associate dean of the graduate school.

Profile picture of Dr. Sarah Reznikoff, Professor and Department Chair
Dr. Sarah Reznikoff, Professor and Department Chair

“Dr. Reznikoff has an outstanding record in research, education, and public service, and she is highly engaged in the math community nationally and internationally,” said Kevin Pitts, dean of the College of Science. “We are thrilled to have her join us and look forward to working with her to continue the mathematics department’s upward trajectory.”

The incoming research faculty represent emerging strengths in a broad set of strategic areas, including numerical analysis, scientific computing, fluid dynamics, mathematical modeling, high-perfomance computing and coding theory, and the instructional faculty brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that will be invaluable to our students and community.

Department Chair, Sarah Reznikoff, said,  "The diverse profiles of the new faculty will contribute greatly to our research, service, and teaching missions.  The range of research in the Mathematics department as well as its commitment to excellence in teaching and mentor make Virginia Tech a great spot for any researcher concerned with the future of mathematics and science. I am thrilled to take on leadership of this department at a time of such exciting growth and activity. "

Learn more about our new faculty members' background and interests in the brief profiles of each below.

Professor Daniel Appelo
Professor Daniel Appelö

Professor Daniel Appelö joins the CMDA program and the Department of Mathematics from the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering at Michigan State University, where he was an Associate Professor.

Professor Daniel Appelö is a numerical analyst with an interest in computational techniques for solving differential equations fast and accurately. He is excited about applications in acoustics, electromagnetics, fluids, and more recently in quantum computing.

Every time I visited VT in the past I was amazed by the quality and quantity of the computational and applied mathematics faculty. When presenting my research at seminars I was always met with friendly, intelligent and inquisitive questions and suggestions.

There was also something that was severely lacking in East Lansing, Michigan. See if you can figure out what it was by connecting the dots between the previous places I have lived: Boulder, Albuquerque, Pasadena, Livermore. Answer (in reverse): sniatnuomevahllayehT.

Assistant Professor Guher Camliyurt
Assistant Professor Guher Camliyurt

Assistant Professor Guher Camliyurt joins from the University of Chicago where she was a L.E. Dickson Instructor from 2019-2023.  

Assistant Professor Camliyurt's research interests include mathematical fluid dynamics, nonlinear waves, and  unique continuation problems for general elliptic and parabolic PDEs.

Professor Yingda Cheng
Professor Yingda Cheng

Professor Cheng's research areas are in scientific computing, applied mathematics and data-driven modeling and computation. She develops numerical methods for partial differential equations, particularly those in higher dimensional space. The application area of Professor Cheng's research includes fusion energy and semiconductor device modeling, to name a few.

I chose to come to VT because of its strong group in computational and applied mathematics. I feel very inspired learning about many exciting avenues of research conducted here. The level of expertise in computational math in diverse subfields is a strong draw for me.

Assistant Professor Hiram Lopez Valdez Profile Picture
Assistant Professor Hiram Lopez Valdez

Assistant Professor Hiram Lopez Valdez was most recently at Cleveland State University where he was an Assistant Professor.

Professor López researches connections of commutative algebra with coding theory and its applications, including quantum error correction, coding for post-quantum cryptography, and distributed storage systems.


Assistant Professor Jose Ramon Madrid Padilla
Assistant Professor Jose Ramon Madrid Padilla

Assistant Professor Jose Ramon Madrid Padilla was a Maître assistant at the  University of Geneva prior to joining Virginia Tech.

Assistant Professor Jose Ramon Madrid Padilla is working in harmonic analysis and its connections to related fields such as number theory, combinatorics, ergodic theory and PDE

I wanted to join Virginia Tech because the university has a very interesting, broad and diverse research group. I look forward to build some collaborations.

Assistant Professor Steffen Werner Profile Picture
Assistant Professor Steffen Werner

Assistant Professor Steffen Werner was a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Computer Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University before joining Virginia Tech.

Professor Werner conducts research at the intersection of scientific computing and numerical linear algebra with particular focus on scientific machine learning, model order reduction, data-driven modeling, optimization and control of partial differential equations, matrix equations and mathematical software development.

Beside its general mission for teaching excellence, Virginia Tech has become one of the top research universities in the U.S. for computational mathematics, with the CMDA program to which I am affiliated being one of the first of its kind in the whole country. These things together with the strong school spirit and the encouraging work environment in the department have cemented my decision to join Virginia Tech.


Dr. Gazi Alam Profile Picture
Visiting Assistant Professor Gazi Alam

Visiting Assistant Professor Gazi Alam joins the department from Oregon State University.

Dr. Alam's research interests are focused on the development of methods and algorithms for solving control and inverse problems on quantum graphs.

As a faculty member I chose Virginia Tech because of its reputation. The university's commitment to innovation, cutting-edge research opportunities, and its vibrant academic community were all factors that strongly appealed to me. Additionally, the collaborative atmosphere and the chance to work with esteemed colleagues and students at Virginia Tech were compelling reasons for my decision. I believe this institution aligns perfectly with my academic and professional goals, and I am excited to contribute to its rich tradition of excellence.

Dr. Ziqiang Li Profile Picture
Dr. Ziqiang Li

Visiting Assistant Professor Ziqiang Li comes to Virginia Tech as a recent graduate of the University of Wyoming.

Visiting Assistant Professor Li researches algorithms on the 2-sphere for the use of computational geometry, numerical methods, and analytical cartography. On the side, he studies flows in microfluidic systems.

I came to Virginia Tech to practice robust yet wholesome pedagogy for mathematics while setting aside sufficient time to research relatively obscure mathematical questions whose solutions are integral parts of our digital society.

John Pratt researches nuclear magnetic and nuclear quadrupole resonance in solids.


Visiting Assistant Professor Lihong Zhao Profile Picture
Visiting Assistant Professor Lihong Zhao

Visiting Assistant Professor Lihong Zhao had been an NSF-postdoctoal fellow at the University of California, Merced.

Dr. Zhao is an applied mathematician interested in using mathematical models to advance health equity. She focuses on models involving partial differential equations and ordinary differential equations, utilizing techniques from dynamical systems, numerical analysis, and inverse problem methodology to answer questions in ecology and epidemiology.

My research is interdisciplinary and collaborative, and most projects I work on involve using mathematical modeling and computational approaches to answer questions in biology related to public health. I've been working with a couple faculty members in the department for a few years, and I'm very excited about the potential to build new collaborations both within the department and across the campus.

NSF Postdoctoral Associate Kyle Dahlin Profile Picture
NSF Postdoctoral Associate Kyle Dahlin

NSF Postdoctoral Associate Kyle Dahlin joins Virginia Tech from the University of Georgia where he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Drake Lab.

Dr. Dahlin is an NSF MPS Ascending Postdoctoral Fellow who uses mathematical tools to answer questions in epidemiology and ecology, particularly those related to the transmission and control of mosquito-borne parasites in human and wildlife populations.

I decided to come to VT to work with Professors Lauren Childs and Michael Robert to build my research program in the mathematical modelling of infectious diseases. I also look forward to working with the other members of VT's excellent mathematical biology faculty who all have strong interdisciplinary collaborations across campus and the world.

NSF Postdoctoral Associate Emily McMillon
NSF Postdoctoral Associate Emily McMillon

NSF Postdoctoral Associate Emily McMillon was most recently an RTG Lovett Instructor (Postdoc) in the Mathematics Department at Rice University.

Dr. McMillon is an NSF Postdoctoral Scholar whose primary research interest is coding theory, with a focus on graph-based codes and iterative decoding algorithms.

Virginia Tech is home to one of the top coding/cryptography groups in the US, making this the ideal location for me to grow as a researcher and mathematician. While here, I will primarily be working with Dr. Gretchen Matthews. She brings years of experience in research and mentoring and is highly skilled at bringing researchers together, which will help me expand my collaborative network. More generally, I also appreciate the level of institutional support for research in quantum, security, and cybersecurity -- fields that are all closely connected to my research.

Finally, I appreciate that Virginia Tech is home to a robust mathematics education community. I have long had a secondary interest in mathematics education, and access to this community will allow me to continue my involvement in educational research.

Postdoctoral Associate Irit Huq-Kuruvilla
Postdoctoral Associate Irit Huq-Kuruvilla

Dr. Irit Huq-Kuruvilla comes to Virginia Tech as a recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Huq-Kuruvilla is a postdoctoral scholar working on Gromov-Witten theory and related areas, with a particular focus on quantum K-theory and its relationship with the geometry of the Kontsevich moduli spaces of stable maps.

I chose to come to Virginia Tech because there is a very interesting collaboration going on (involving my postdoc mentor, Professor Mihalcea) between the mathematics and physics departments related to quantum K-theory, my primary research area. I'm quite happy to be at a place where many other people share my interests.

Postdoctoral Associate Leah LeJeune
Postdoctoral Associate Leah LeJeune

Postdoctoral Associate Leah LeJeune joins Virginia Tech from University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she was a University Doctoral Fellow.

Dr. LeJeune's research focuses on modeling the spread and control of infectious disease through analysis of mathematical models, particularly deterministic dynamical systems.

I did not intend to apply for an academic postdoctoral position upon graduation, hoping instead to move into industry. That changed when I happened to introduce myself to Dr. Stanca Ciupe at a conference the semester prior to my graduation. We had an enjoyable conversation, and she invited to me to apply for the open postdoctoral position at Virginia Tech if I changed my mind about my career path.

A good rule of thumb is to apply for any job that you're invited to, and I began by investigating VT's math department. I was struck by its vibrant and dynamic atmosphere, noticeable just from viewing the department's website.

During my interview, I was further intrigued by the project proposed by the supervising professors, Dr. Lauren Childs and Dr. Omar Saucedo. When I received the job offer, it did not take me long to decide that, between the department's strong community, the opportunity to work with a team on a meaningful project, and the chance to advance my skillset under Lauren and Omar's guidance, Virginia Tech would go above and beyond what I had hoped for in my first job post-graduation.

Postdoctoral Associate Jorge Reyes
Postdoctoral Associate Jorge Reyes

Dr. Reyes' research involves the theoretical and computational study of fluid dynamics primarily based on the Navier-Stokes equations (NSE). These studies consist of the finite element analysis of numerical solutions for full-order models and the development of corresponding reduced order models (ROMs).

The primary reason I chose Virginia Tech was to work with and be mentored by Professor Traian Iliescu. Dr. Iliescu is an expert in my field whose research interests align with my own, while still giving me the chance to expand my personal research portfolio.

My choice was also motivated by the fact that Virginia Tech is a world-class institution, and the Mathematics Department's Numerical PDE group is highly active in interdisciplinary research. Beyond the research as part of Virginia Tech's Future Faculty Diversity Program, I learned about InclusiveVT and the university's commitment to diversity, community, and excellence, which also played a major role in my decision.

Instructor Peter Caruso Profile Picture
Instructor Peter Caruso

Instructor Peter Caruso is a recent graduate of Virginia Tech.

Peter Caruso is focused on teaching and a research interest in developing mathematical models to simulate and study human physiology.


Between the people in the math department, the research conducted and the mountainous locale, there isn't a better place to be.

Instructor Jeffrey Evans
Instructor Jeffrey Evans
Instructor Nilton Garcia Hilares
Instructor Nilton Garcia-Hilares

Instructor Nilton Garcia-Hilares is a recent Virginia Tech graduate.

Dr. Garcia-Hilares' research interests include transient behavior for power systems, Zolotarev problems and applications.

Instructor Isis Quinlan
Instructor Isis Quinlan

Instructor Isis Quinlan is a recent Virginia Tech graduate.

Instructor Gina Seebohm
Instructor Gina Seebohm

Gina Seebohm is an Instructor currently teaching Differential Calculus, MATH 1225. Her previous teaching experience includes college algebra, trigonometry, applied calculus, and single variable calculus.


Instructor Richard Sharpe
Instructor Richard Sharpe

Instructor Richard Sharpe is a recent Virginia Tech graduate.

Instructor Daniel Valvo
Instructor Daniel Valvo

Instructor Daniel Valvo is a recent Virginia Tech graduate.

Instructor Valvo's research is an exciting field of math called coding theory. Specifically he studies how to store data in ways that it can repair itself in the event of errors.


I love Blacksburg and the people in the Math Department, so choosing to be an instructor here was an easy decision.