Mihai Pop Named Interim Director of UMIACS, Effective March 1

Tue Feb 06, 2018

Mihai Pop, a professor of computer science with appointments in the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), has been named interim director of UMIACS, effective March 1.

As interim director, Pop will provide leadership to 70-plus faculty and research scientists, 150 graduate students, and almost two-dozen administrative and technical staff working in the institute.

He succeeds current director Amitabh Varshney, who begins a new role as dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences on March 1.

“Mihai has proven to be a strong advocate for enhancing the strength and visibility of UMIACS both on and off campus, and I expect he will continue to seek out new research and academic collaborations that will benefit from our expertise,” says Varshney.

Pop says he is honored to step back into a leadership role in UMIACS, having already served as interim director for a year while Varshney was the university’s interim vice president for research.

“I look forward to working closely with our faculty, postdocs, students and staff to bring the power of modern computing to bear on many of the challenges faced by our society today,” he says.

A strong advocate for bringing more diversity to the field of computer science, Pop says he will continue to support for the Maryland Center for Women in Computing and other initiatives that enhance participation in the discipline by people from diverse backgrounds.

Pop is a noted researcher and educator active in numerous interdisciplinary, cross-institutional projects. His research interests cover several areas of bioinformatics, primarily related to the development of computational algorithms for analyzing biological data generated through high-throughput experimental techniques, such as sequencing technologies.

Part of Pop’s research focuses on the computational analysis of the microbial communities inhabiting our world and our bodies—a scientific field called metagenomics. His lab has developed a number of software tools that are now widely used in the field. He has also been an active participant in a number of large projects, including the Human Microbiome Project, and the GEMS study of diarrheal disease in children from the developing world.

He recently took on the role of co-director for the Center for Health-related Informatics and Bioimaging, a partnership between the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore that is funded by the MPowering the State initiative.

Pop received his doctorate in computer science from Johns Hopkins University in 2000 and has been at the University of Maryland since 2005.