Behnaam Aazhang received his B.S. (with highest honors), M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1981, 1983, and 1986, respectively. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Oulu in May of 2017, the highest honor that the University can bestow.
From 1981-1985, he was a Research Assistant in the Coordinated Science Laboratory, University of Illinois. In August 1985, he joined the faculty of Rice University, Houston, Texas, where he is now the J.S. Abercrombie Professor and Rice’s Neuroengineering Initiative. Dr. Aazhang served as the Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 2004-2014. From 2006-2014 he held an Academy of Finland Distinguished Visiting Professorship appointment (FiDiPro) at the Center for Wireless Communication (CWC) at the University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Dr. Aazhang serves on the advisory board for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Tufts University and and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Center for Wireless Communication (CWC) at the University of Oulu, Finland, and served on the 2014-2016 University of Texas System Scientific Advisory Board for Neuroscience and Neuro-technology and the 2016 External Review Board for the Henri Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California at Irvine.
Dr. Aazhang is a founding member of the executive committee for the Center for Neuroengineering (CNE), a multi-university center fostering collaboration among researchers and clinicians from Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas Health Sciences, and the University of Houston. He served as the founding director of Rice’s Center for Multimedia Communications from 1998-2006.
He has been a Visiting Professor at IBM Federal Systems Company, Houston, Texas, the Laboratory for Communication Technology at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland, the U.S. Air Force Phillips Laboratory, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and at Nokia Mobile Phones in Irving, Texas.
Dr. Aazhang is a Fellow of IEEE and AAAS, a distinguished lecturer of IEEE Communication Society, and also a recipient of 2004 IEEE Communication Society’s Stephen O. Rice best paper award for a paper with A. Sendonaris and E. Erkip. In addition, the three authors received IEEE Communication Society’s 2013 Advances in Communication Award for the same paper. He has been listed in the Thomson-ISI Highly Cited Researchers and has been the keynote and plenary speaker of several conferences. In 2016, he received the IEEE Communication Society’s CTTC Outstanding Service Award “For innovative leadership that elevated the success of the Communication Theory Workshop.” and Outstanding Technical Achievement Award “For consistent, fundamental contributions to multiuser communication theory for wireless networks” in 2017.
He has served as the General Chair of the IEEE PIMRC Workshop on mmWave Networks in Valencia, Spain in 2016; the Co-General Chair of 2010 International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT), in Austin, Texas; Co-Technical program chair of 2008 WPMC in Lapland, Finland; General Chair of the 2006 Communication Theory Workshop, Dorado, Puerto Rico; Chair of the Technical Program Committee for 2005 Asilomar Conference, Monterey, CA; and the co-chair of the Technical Program Committee of International Workshop on Convergent Technologies (IWCT), Oulu, Finland, 2005.
He has been a guest editor for IEEE Journal on Selected Areas of Communication special issue on relay and cooperative communication in 2006 and for KICS Journal of Communication and Network (JCN) special issue on cooperative communication in 2007.
His research interests are signal processing, information theory, and their applications to neuroengineering with foci on (i) understanding neuronal circuits connectivity and the impact of learning on connectivity (ii) developing invasive and non-invasive real-time closed-loop stimulation of neuronal systems to mitigate disorders such as epilepsy, Parkinson, depression, and obesity, (iii) building microelectronics with data analysis techniques to develop a fine-grained recording and modulation system to remediate language disorders. Other application area are focused on developing a patient-specific multisite wireless monitoring and pacing system with temporal and spatial precision to restore the healthy function of a diseased heart.