Academic Ishwar K. Puri. Photo credit:, via McMaster University

A scientist and engineer who completed graduate work at UC San Diego will be joining USC as vice president of research, effective Aug.1.

Ishwar K. Puri comes to USC from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where he is dean of the engineering school, a professor in the department of mechanical engineering and an associate member of the department of engineering physics.

He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in applied mechanics from UC San Diego in 1984 and 1987. Puri also holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Delhi.

In announcing the appointment, Charles F. Zukoski, USC’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said Puri, an expert the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology, transport phenomena, fluid mechanics, combustion and mathematical biology, “is ranked among the top two percent of scientists in the world.”

Puri has authored more than 200 publications and books and has founded and or guided numerous startups. His research subjects have included fire safety, nanotechnology and 3D cell printing.

McMaster, Zukoski added, is ranked among Canada’s top engineering programs, where he directed the only data center research facility in Canada.”

Among Puri’s other accomplishments, according to USC: helping to improve the retention of undergraduate engineering students; developing a new interdisciplinary Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences Plus program; transforming the undergraduate engineering curriculum; expanding the number of doctoral students; introducing diversity training for those involved in faculty recruiting and expanding the representation of women among engineering and computer science faculty and integrated biomedical engineering students.

Prior to joining the faculty at McMaster, Puri spent nearly a decade at Virginia Tech, where he was head of the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics.

He also spent 14 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he rose to the position of associate dean for research and graduate studies and executive associate dean of engineering.

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