Romanian Academics in US Universities and Colleges (partial list)

Romanian Academics in US Universities and Colleges


Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Computer Science

Chemistry and Molecular Biology

Catalina Achim, Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry
Carnegie Mellon University
4400 Fifth Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Office: Mellon Institute 833
Phone: (412) 268-9588
Fax: (412) 268-1061

BS, 1988, University of Bucharest, Romania
MS, 1989, University of Bucharest, Romania
PhD, 1998, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Postdoctoral fellow, 1999–2001, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Catalina grew up in Macin, Romania, a city of ten thousand people on the board of the river Danube, about two hundred miles away from the Black Sea. The Roman ruins of the city Arrubium can be still seen at the outskirts of Macin and testify to the city’s two thousand-year existence.  She received her B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry from the Faculty of Chemistry of the Polytechnical Institute of Bucharest, Romania. After four years as research analytical chemist at the Meteorological Institute in Bucharest and as teaching assistant in the Department of Inorganic Chemistry of the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Bucharest, she came in 1993 to Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburgh to obtain her Ph.D.  She worked with Eckard Münck and Emile Bominaar on the characterization of iron proteins that have electron transfer role and on the structure and function elucidation of non-heme iron-oxo enzymes. In 1999, she joined the laboratory of R. H. Holm at Harvard and worked for two years on synthesis and characterization of mixed-valence iron complexes as well as on the use of peptides as scaffold for Fe-S cluster incorporation. She came back to the Department of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University as Assistant Professor of Inorganic Chemistry in 2001.

Theodor Agapie, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry / MC 127-72
California Institute of Technology
1200 E. california Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91125
626 395-3617

B.S., 2001, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ph.D., 2007, California Institute of Technology; Postdoctoral Miller Fellow, 2007-2009, University of California, Berkeley

Theodor Agapie was born in 1979 in Bucharest, Romania. He received his B.S. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001 and his Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in 2007. Upon completion of his Ph.D. he moved to University of California, Berkeley as a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow.

Theo developed his passion for chemistry during high school and participated in chemistry competitions; he won two silver medals at the International Chemistry Olympiads as part of the Romanian team. While an undergraduate at MIT, he worked with Professor Christopher C. Cummins for more that three and a half years on atom and fragment transfer chemistry involving metal complexes, on titanium-ketyl radical chemistry, and on DFT computations to detail the electronic structure of synthesized complexes. At graduation, he received the Chemistry Department’s Alpha Chi Sigma Award for achievement in research, scholarship, and service to the department. At Caltech, Theo worked under the tutelage of Professor John E. Bercaw on mechanistic and synthetic aspects of chromium-based olefin oligomerization catalysis and on developing new early transition metal nonmetallocene olefin polymerization catalysts. His Ph.D. thesis received Caltech’s Chemistry Department Herbert Newby McCoy Award for outstanding contribution to the science of chemistry. Upon graduation, in May 2007, Theo moved to UC Berkeley to work with Professor Michael A. Marletta as a Miller Institute Fellow. There, he focused on mechanistic aspects of biochemical nitric oxide synthesis involving the metalloprotein nitric oxide synthase.  Theo returned to Caltech on February 11, 2009 to start his independent career as an assistant professor of chemistry.

Veronica Bierbaum, Professor
Office: Cristol Chemistry 155
Office Phone: 303 492 7081
FAX: 303 492 5894
Lab: Cristol Chemistry 125
Lab Phone: 303 492 7396

Ph.D.: University of Pittsburgh, 1974

Professor Bierbaum’s research focuses on the development of new techniques in physical and organic chemistry and their application to studies of gas phase ion chemistry. These studies probe the kinetics, dynamics and thermochemistry of a wide variety of gas phase ion-molecule reactions which have fundamental importance as well as relevance to atmospheric and interstellar chemistry.

Ileana Cristea, Assistant Professor in Molecular Biology
Lewis Thomas Laboratory 210
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey 08544

Research description: Proteomic-Genomic approaches to chromatin and its modulation by viruses

Area of research: Biochemistry; Genetics; Genomics; Microbiology & Virology

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced in 2008 the first three recipients of its new Avant-Garde Award. This award is intended to stimulate high-impact research that may lead to groundbreaking opportunities for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in drug abusers.  Award recipients will receive $500,000 per year for five years to support their research.  From the NIDA’s press release: “Ileana Cristea, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., is a young investigator of exceptional talent and promise whose research creatively applies technology to address significant biological issues. She developed methodology that allows tracking of protein localization and elucidation of interacting partners…..”

Ileana Cristea was awarded a 2009 Human Frontier Science Program Young Investigator Grant for the project “A hybrid approach to revealing intermediate structures of Herpes Simplex Virus during infection.” Her collaborators on this research are Frank Alber (USA), Kay Grunewald (Germany) and Maya Topf (UK). Young Investigators’ Grants are awarded to teams of researchers, all of whom are within the first five years after obtaining an independent laboratory (e.g. Assistant Professor, Lecturer or equivalent).

Paula Diaconescu, Assistant Professor
Department Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of California – Los Angeles
Mol Sci Bldg 1515
(310) 794-4809

BS, University of Bucharest; PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research Interest: applications of lanthanide and actinide organometallic chemistry to organic synthesis, small molecule activation, and biological mimics.

Mircea Dinca, Assistant Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(appointment effective July 1, 2010
B.A. Princeton University 2003
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley 2008

Research: The Dinca Lab is focused on addressing research challenges related to the storage and consumption of energy and global environmental concerns. Central to our efforts is the manipulation of electrochemical and photophysical processes in inorganic materials, with a current emphasis on microporous materials. Microporous Electrodes for Electrical Energy Storage. Thin Film and Nanoparticulate Metal-Organic Frameworks. The Coordination Scope and Electronic Properties of High-Nuclearity Metal Nodes.

Liviu M. Mirica, Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley (2005-8)
Ph.D., Stanford University (2005)
B.S., California Institute of Technology (1999)

Young Investigator Award, Division of Inorganic Chemistry, ACS (2006)
Franklin Veatch Memorial Fellowship (2004-2005)
Stanford Graduate Fellowship (1999-2003)
Taube Prize (2000), Merck Index Award (1999), Carnation Merit Award (1997)
Gold and Silver Medals, International Chemistry Olympiad (1994,1995)

Research Interest: Our research program uses inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and biological chemistry to address important metal-mediated processes with energy, biological, and medical relevance such as Non-Heme Iron Enzymes. Renewable Energy Catalysis. Amyloid Peptides in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Computer Science

Daniela Rus, Director
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of technology
Office: 32-368, 32-374
Phone: +1 (617) 258-7567

Daniela Rus is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. Prior to her appointment as Director, she served as Associate Director of CSAIL from 2008 to 2011, and as the Co-Director of CSAIL’s Center for Robotics from 2005 to 2012. She also leads CSAIL’s Distributed Robotics Laboratory. Rus is the first woman to serve as director of CSAIL, and its predecessors the AI Lab and the Lab for Computer Science.

Rus’ research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter. At CSAIL she has led numerous groundbreaking research projects in the areas of transportation, security, environmental modeling and monitoring, underwater exploration, and agriculture.


Catalin Zara, Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics
University of Massachusetts – Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 0212
Office: Science 3-091
Phone: (617) 287-6463
Fax: (617) 287-6433

Ph.D. in Mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000; J.W. Gibbs Instructor at Yale University (2000-2003) and an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Penn State Altoona (2003-2006).

Research interests lie in differential geometry, with a special emphasis on symplectic geometry and Hamiltonian group actions; also interested in graph theoretical and combinatorial aspects of equivariant cohomology and K-theory.


Adrian Bejan, J.A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical, Engineering and Materials Science Department
Duke University
Durham, NC 27708
Office: 148A Engineering Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 660-5309

Professor Bejan’s research covers a wide range of topics in thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, convection and porous media. More recently, he developed the constructal law of design in nature.

Professor Bejan is ranked since 2001 among the 100 most highly cited authors worldwide in engineering (all fields, all countries), the Institute for Scientific Information. Professor Bejan has received 16 honorary doctorates from universities in 11 countries.


Ioanid Rosu, Assistant Professor of Finance
University of Chicago
Booth School of Business
5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637-1610
(773) 834-1826

Ioanid Rosu analyzes the liquidity of financial markets and works to understand its effect on asset prices and investor decisions. He also is interested in mergers and acquisitions, option pricing, and earnings management.

Rosu’s work has appeared in Seminaire de Probabilites, the American Journal of Mathematics, Mathematische Zeitschrift, and elsewhere. He has given talks at Stanford University, Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan, the University of California at Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Hebrew University, Northwestern University, and the University of Toronto. Prior to teaching at Chicago Booth, Rosu taught at MIT where he earned the Charlie Housman Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Rosu, a National Merit Scholar, attended the University of Bucharest, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1994.  He earned two PhD’s, one in mathematics in 1999 and one in financial economics in 2004, both from the MIT, where he was awarded a Merrill Lynch Fellowship, a Zannetos Fellowship, a Pappas Fellowship, and a Gerrity Fellowship. He joined the faculty in 2004.  Aside from work, Rosu pursues interests in fine dining (especially sushi), soccer, bridge, and history.


Vlad F. Perju, Assistant Professor of
Boston College Law School
Office Location
Law School
LIB200; 617-552-0981

Education: S.J.D., LL.M. Program, Harvard University; LL.M., European Academy of Legal Theory; LL.B., University of Bucharest; Maitrise, University of Paris I (Sorbonne).

At Boston College Law School, he offers courses in European Union Law, Constitutional Law II, Modern Legal Theory and Comparative Constitutional Law.

Professor Perju joined the BC Law faculty in 2007. His primary research and teaching interests include European legal thought, comparative constitutional law, constitutional theory, jurisprudence, social and political philosophy. He holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School, with a dissertation entitled “The Province of Cosmopolitan Jurisprudence: Constitutional Foundations”. Prior to doctoral work, he earned a pair of law degrees from the University of Bucharest and the University of Paris I, an LL.M. degree summa cum laude from the European Academy of Legal Theory in Brussels, Belgium and graduated from the LL.M. program at Harvard (degree waived).

At Harvard Law School, he taught a workshop on global constitutionalism as a Byse Fellow. Also at Harvard, he was a Research Fellow in the Project on Justice, Welfare and Economics and a Graduate Fellow in the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. He convened the Law Teaching Colloquium and served as a co-coordinator of the Graduate Forum in Comparative Constitutional Law.

Perju Named to Romanian Constitutional Reform Commission
Boston College Law School is pleased to announce that Professor Vlad Perju has been appointed by the President of Romania to serve on an advisory commission that will present the President with a vision for the country’s constitutional reform.  “I’m very pleased to hear of Vlad’s appointment,” said Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Michael Cassidy.  “This is a tremendous honor for him.  I’m certain that his work on this commission will be of great service not only to his home country, but also for comparative legal scholars around the world.” The current constitution was adopted in 1991. The commission, which consists of seven members, will be asked to prepare a document that will set an agenda for political and popular debates. Each member of the commission will prepare an individual report, and then a final report will be presented to the President at the end of October 2008.