Around Oxford Street

John A. Paulson endows SEAS

John A. Paulson, M.B.A. ’80 (right), meets new SEAS Dean Frank Doyle during a tour of the school with Edgerly Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith (left) and then-interim SEAS Dean Harry R. Lewis.

Harvard’s newest school now has a new name. In June, Harvard announced that John A. Paulson, M.B.A. ’80, had given $400 million—the largest gift in the University’s history—to endow the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. To honor his generosity, the School was renamed the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“John Paulson’s extraordinary gift will enable the growth and ensure the strength of engineering and applied sciences at Harvard for the benefit of generations to come,” said President Drew Faust. “His appreciation of the importance of SEAS to faculty, students, and Schools across the University has motivated a historic act of generosity that will change Harvard and enhance our impact on the world beyond.”

“John Paulson’s extraordinary gift will enable the growth and ensure the strength of engineering and applied sciences at Harvard for the benefit of generations to come.” - Drew Faust, President, Harvard University

In announcing his gift, Paulson, founder and president of Paulson & Co., said: “There is nothing more important to improve humanity than education. For 379 years, Harvard has had a profound global impact across a multitude of disciplines that benefits all of humanity. Today’s gift will help continue that legacy by making SEAS a 21st-century engineering leader. It provides a solid endowment for faculty development, research, scholarships, and financial aid.

“SEAS is the next frontier for Harvard, and its expanding campus in Allston promises to become the next major center of innovation. As an alumnus of Harvard, one who has benefited greatly from the education I received here, it is both a privilege and an honor to support this endeavor,” he added.

Student interest in engineering and applied sciences continues to grow rapidly. The number of undergraduate concentrators has risen exponentially in recent years, and this past year the introductory computer science course CS50 became the most popular course at the College, with more than 800 registered students.

New dean Francis J. Doyle III serves as the inaugural John A. Paulson Dean of SEAS, in addition to the John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professorship of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Paulson said he chose to donate to SEAS after meeting with Faust and Harvard Business School (HBS) Dean Nitin Nohria and realizing that “a major priority for Harvard was to establish the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Allston as the next center for technological innovation.” and he realized that supporting SEAS was an opportunity for his gift to have University-wide impact. Paulson said his gift will support research as well as the increasing number of Harvard students who declare engineering and computer sciences concentrations, through financial aid, scholarships, and a growing faculty.

He said the donation will foster important connections and collaborations among the business, science, and engineering sectors and help to secure Harvard’s place as a leader in technological innovation.

The expansion of SEAS into Allston will place it at the center of an emerging research enterprise zone. It will be adjacent to HBS and the Harvard Innovation Lab, in an area designed to foster team-based innovation and deepen ties among students, faculty, and the business community.

Harry Lewis hands baton to Frank Doyle

Francis J. Doyle III, a distinguished scholar in chemical engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), became dean of SEAS on July 1, 2015.

Doyle most recently served as associate dean for research at UCSB’s College of Engineering, where he initiated a major push into bioengineering. He led faculty at two colleges in developing a strategic vision for research and education and in programming and designing a state-of-the-art facility. As founding associate director and then director of the multi-campus Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, Doyle brought together the research and educational efforts of 55 faculty spanning 15 departments and the campuses of UCSB, California Institute of Technology, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As a scholar, Doyle applies systems engineering principles to the analysis of regulatory mechanisms in biological systems. His work includes the design of drug-delivery devices for diabetes; modeling, analysis, and control of gene regulatory networks underlying circadian rhythms; and computational analysis for developing diagnostics for post-traumatic stress disorder. Doyle’s work also applies control schemes to nonlinear, multivariable, constrained industrial processes, such as particulate systems and pulp and paper operations, and involves control aspects of sheet/film processes.

“Frank is an award-winning teacher, a highly experienced administrator and originator of significant interdisciplinary initiatives, and a warm and gifted leader.” - Michael D. Smith, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

He is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the International Federation of Automatic Control, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

“Frank is an award-winning teacher, a highly experienced administrator and originator of significant interdisciplinary initiatives, and a warm and gifted leader,” said Michael D. Smith, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). “He brings to the deanship a keen understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing schools of engineering and applied sciences today; the intellectual breadth, practical acumen, and entrepreneurial spirit to move SEAS successfully into the future; and an inclusive and collaborative style that will further strengthen the SEAS community.”

Doyle takes over at a time of great change and opportunity for SEAS. The number of undergraduate concentrators at SEAS has risen steadily in recent years. And the School is undertaking both intellectual and capital planning for an expansion into Allston. Last November, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ’77 lent his financial support to a plan to increase the computer science faculty by 50 percent over the next few years, from 24 to 36. In June, John A. Paulson, M.B.A. ’80, made an unprecedented $400 million gift to endow SEAS (see page 14).

“Frank Doyle’s distinguished career in engineering and his leadership experience at UC Santa Barbara — where he helped to develop a new intellectual vision for the school as well as a new physical home — make him the ideal choice to lead SEAS as it expands both its size and its importance in the years to come,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “We are delighted to welcome him to the University.”

He succeeds Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, who served as interim dean beginning in January 2015. “SEAS was been fortunate to benefit from Harry’s experienced leadership during this time of transition,” said Smith. “From the countless emails and other comments I have received, I know that many at SEAS and in our alumni base share my sincere gratitude to Harry for his outstanding service.”

Doyle received his bachelor’s degree (B.S.E. in chemical engineering) from Princeton University in 1985, a Certificate of Postgraduate Studies from Cambridge University in 1986, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Caltech in 1991. In 1992, he joined Purdue University as an assistant professor and was later promoted to associate professor. In 1997, Doyle joined the University of Delaware as an associate professor and was then promoted to professor. And in 2002, he was appointed to the Duncan & Suzanne Mellichamp Chair in Process Control at UCSB.

New Faculty

Demba Ba

Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering 

Ba's research lies at the intersection of theory, computing, and data. He develops mathematical and computational tools that leverage the inherent structure in data from artificial and natural systems to elucidate the underlying principles and design better systems.

B.S., 2004, electrical engineering, University of Maryland

M.S., 2006, electrical engineering, MIT

Ph.D., 2011, electrical engineering, MIT

Boaz Barak

Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science

Barak joins SEAS after having spent the last five years at Microsoft Research New England, where he was a principal researcher. His research interests include all areas of theoretical computer science, particularly cryptography and computational complexity.

B.Sc., 1999, mathematics and computer science, Tel Aviv University

Ph.D., 2004, computer science, Weizmann Institute of Science

Sean Eddy

Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and of Applied Mathematics

Eddy is interested in deciphering the evolutionary history of life using comparative analysis of genome sequences. He develops computational algorithms and software tools for genome sequence analysis that are used to identify distant homologs of biological sequence families.

B.S., 1986, biology, California Institute of Technology

Ph.D., 1991, molecular biology, University of Colorado, Boulder

Scott Kuindersma

Assistant Professor of Engineering and Computer Science

Kuindersma's research focuses on increasing the efficiency, robustness, and versatility of highly dynamic and under-actuated robots. His current research is focused on developing algorithms for energy-efficient and versatile legged locomotion, adaptive and robust control for low-precision robots, and optimized assistive devices.

B.S., 2006, information technology, Bryant University

M.S., 2009, computer science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Ph.D., 2012, computer science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Xin Li

Assistant Professor of Materials Science

Li’s research uses advanced characterization and simulation to guide the design of new materials with technological importance, including energy storage materials such as cathode, anode, and solid electrolyte for lithium or sodium ion batteries with improved energy density, cyclability or diffusivity.

B.S., 2003, physics, Nanjing University, China

Ph.D., 2010, materials science and engineering, Pennsylvania State University

James Mickens

Associate Professor of Computer Science

Mickens has broad interests in systems design and security, with a focus on the problems that arise when distributed systems must scale to many users and many machines. He also studies mechanisms for protecting user data from other users and the system itself.

B.S., 2001, computer science, Georgia Institute of Technology

Ph.D., 2008, computer science and engineering, University of Michigan

Alexander (Sasha) Rush

Assistant Professor of Computer Science 

Rush studies and develops systems for natural language processing with the goal of textual understanding. He is particularly interested in efficient algorithms for inference and learning, and systems that can synthesize large textual corpora, such as the web, into computationally useful information. 

A.B., 2007, computer science, Harvard College

Ph.D., 2014, computer science, MIT

Madhu Sudan

Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science

Sudan's research lies in the fields of computational complexity theory, algorithms, and reliable communication. He is best known for his work on probabilistic checking of proofs, and on the design of list-decoding algorithms for error-correcting codes. 

B.Tech., 1987, computer science, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi

Ph.D., 1992, computer science, University of California, Berkeley


Tenure awards

Three SEAS faculty members have received tenure: Yiling Chen (Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science), Eddie Kohler (Microsoft Professor of Computer Science), and Maurice Smith (Gordon McKay Professor of Bioengineering).

Alumni invited to spread entrepreneurial wings at Harvard Innovation Launch Lab

The Harvard Innovation Launch Lab, a co-working space for high-potential alumni ventures, is the newest resource for fostering entrepreneurship at Harvard. Building on three years of growth of the Harvard Innovation Lab, the Launch Lab opened in September 2014 on the Allston campus. It has curated a cross-disciplinary community with representation from seven Harvard schools and a diversity of industries. In response to high demand, the Lab is expanding from 3,000 to 8,550 square feet this fall. If you are a Harvard alum working on your own entrepreneurial venture, please visit for more information on the selection criteria and application instructions.

Harvard launches Master in Design Engineering

Graduate School of Design (GSD) Dean Mohsen Mostafavi (left) and Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) Dean Frank Doyle (right) discuss their vision for in the new MDE program.

In collaboration with Harvard Graduate School of Design, SEAS will offer a new Master in Design Engineering (MDE) beginning in fall 2016. The two-year, multi-disciplinary curriculum that encompasses engineering and design as well as economics, business, government regulation and policy, sociology, and psychology, was developed and will be taught by faculty from both schools. It is designed to give students the qualitative, computational, visual and aesthetic skills and knowledge to take a collaborative, innovative approach to complex, large-scale, and open-ended problems. Graduates are expected to move into leadership roles in industry, government, NGOs, and academia. They will be qualified for careers that require broad problem-solving skills, including entrepreneurship, design, business consulting, technical consulting, innovative engineering, and business development.

The program is intended for architecture, urban planning, engineering, and science professionals—individuals with at least an undergraduate degree, demonstrated technical literacy, and two or more years of real-world experience in engineering, design, government, and/or business. Prospective students interested in learning more about the MDE program can visit or contact for application and admission information.