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Dr. Don Engel


Contact Information

  • Google Voice — 410-929-3643 (e-mail is strongly preferred)
  • Office Phone — 410-455-2837 (e-mail is strongly preferred)
  • Office — ITE Building, Room 220
  • Laboratory — ITE Building, Room 201B

Current Roles at UMBC

Curriculum Vitae

Short Bio

Dr. Don Engel is active in research, teaching, and administration at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, serving as Associate Vice President for Research Development; Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering; Director of the Center for Space Sciences and Technology ($8M/year from NASA); Affiliate Assistant Professor of Physics; and Affiliate Assistant Professor of the Imaging Research Center. Dr. Engel holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in Computer Science from Brown University, with additional training at Johns Hopkins University through a postdoctoral research fellowship and a clinical residency in radiation oncology medical physics. Before joining UMBC in 2011, in addition to the aforementioned academic roles, Dr. Engel served a year as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the United States Congress, a year as the Senior Science Policy Fellow with the American Physical Society, and in a series of full-time engagements as a Deloitte Senior Consultant with federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Transportation. Dr. Engel’s primary research interests are in solving scientific problems through tailored (problem-specific) approaches to human-computer teaming, especially those teaming arrangements which apply artificial intelligence (computer vision and natural language processing) and visualization (esp. virtual reality).

Education and Professional Experience

  • 2011 onward — UMBC
  • 2010-2011 — Senior Consultant — Deloitte
  • 2009-2010 — Postdoctoral Fellow and Medical Physics Resident — Johns Hopkins University
  • 2007-2008 — APS Senior Science Policy Fellow — Washington, DC
  • 2006-2007 — AAAS/APS Congressional Fellow — Office of Rush Holt (NJ-12)
  • 2006 — Postdoctoral Fellow — University of Pennsylvania
  • 2001-2006 — Physics Ph.D. — University of Pennsylvania
  • 2000-2001 — Computer Science Sc.M. — Brown University
  • 1998-2000 — Math-Physics Sc.B. — Brown University
  • 1996-1998 — Math, Physics, Computer Science, and Astronomy major — UMCP

Courses Taught

  • Fall 2020 — CMSC 463/636: Data Visualization
  • Fall 2019 — CMSC 463/636: Data Visualization
  • Fall 2014 — Physics 100: Ideas in Physics

Selected Grants, Contracts, and Awards (as PI, Co-PI, or Research Advisor)

  • “Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science and Technology II (CRESST II)” (Subaward PI)
    04/01/2017 – 03/31/2022 – (Subaward PI starting 02/12/2019 )
    NASA Cooperative Agreement – current obligation at UMBC: $27,473,356
  • UMBC Participation in JHU-APL CIRCUIT Program
    04/24/2020 – 12/31/2020

  • “EAGER: Learning Language in Simulation for Real Robot Interaction” (Co-PI)
    12/01/19 – 11/30/20
    NSF Award #1940931 – $219,516
  • Undergraduate Research Award to Danilo Symonette (as Research Advisor to awardee)
    Academic Year 2019-2020 – $1,500
  • Undergraduate Research Award to Caroline Cocca (as Research Advisor to awardee)
    Academic Year 2019-2020 – $1,500
  • “Understanding, Assessing and Improving Student Teamwork (Implementation & Research Grant)” (Co-I)
    07/01/19 – 06/30/21
    Hrabowski Innovation Fund – $27,736.
  • “Pi Squared Founding Sponsorship”
    06/30/16 – 06/29/19
    Next Century Corporation – $50,000
  • “CS 10K: Collaborative Research: A Structured CS Principles Approach to Professional Development for Maryland High School Teachers”
    (as Research Advisor to the students supported on this award’s REU supplement)
    09/11/13 – 12/11/2018
    NSF Award #1339265 – $876,125
  • “NCCoE – FY17 Research.”
    04/01/16 – 09/30/17 (Co-PI)
    MITRE Award – $73,445.
  • “MRI: Acquisition of π², a CAVE2-Inspired Display for Discovery Science, Creativity, and Education”
    09/01/15 – 08/31/19 (PI)
    NSF Award #1531491 –  $377,994
  • “CC*IIE Networking Infrastructure: Enabling Big Computing and Data Intensive Cyberinfrastructure (EBCDIC)”
    09/01/14 – 08/31/17  (Co-PI)
    NSF Award #1440477 – 


  • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Member, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • Member, American Physical Society (APS)

Selected Publications

  • Rohan Ahuja, Daniyal Khan, Sara Tahir, Magdalene Wang, Danilo Symonette, Simon Stacey, Shimei Pan, Don Engel. 2020. Can Machine Learning Help Instructors Understand How Student Teams Are Performing? In Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education. Accepted.
  • Kaur Kullman, Laurin Buchanan, Anita Komlodi, Don Engel. 2020. Mental Model Mapping Method for Cybersecurity. In the 22nd International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. Accepted.
  • Mark Murnane, Don Engel, Stephen Freeland, Lee Boot, Mark Jarzynski, Katrine Lindvig, Line Hillersdal, and David Earle. 2020. Extending CoNavigator into a Collaborative Digital Space. In Companion of the 2020 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 127–130. DOI:10.1145/3323994.3369890
  • Rohan Ahuja, Daniyal Khan, Danilo Symonette, Shimei Pan, Simon Stacey, and Don Engel. 2020. Towards the Automatic Assessment of Student Teamwork. In Companion of the 2020 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 143–146. DOI:10.1145/3323994.3369894
  • Rohan Ahuja, Daniyal Khan, Danilo Symonette, Marie desJardins, Simon Stacey, and Don Engel. 2019. A Digital Dashboard for Supporting Online Student Teamwork. In Conference Companion Publication of the 2019 on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW ’19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 132–136. DOI:10.1145/3311957.3359490
  • Engel, D., Murnane, M., Trenholm, N., Daniels, B., & Halverson, J. (2019) Open-Source Presentation of Spherical Content on Repurposed Hardware. Proceedings of IEEE VIS 2019.
  • Mark Murnane, Max Breitmeyer, Francis Ferraro, Cynthia Matuszek, and Don Engel. 2019. Learning from human-robot interactions in modeled scenes. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2019 Posters (SIGGRAPH ’19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 1, 1–2. DOI:10.1145/3306214.3338546
  • Carter, J., Delahanty, D., Strasser, J., Knoedlerr, A., Wilson, G., Davis, R. and Engel, D. (2019) Operational and Fiscal Management of Core Facilities: A Survey of Chief Research Officers. Journal of Research Administration, Volume L, Number 3.
  • M. Murnane, M. Breitmeyer, C. Matuszek and D. Engel, “Virtual Reality and Photogrammetry for Improved Reproducibility of Human-Robot Interaction Studies,” 2019 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (VR), Osaka, Japan, 2019, pp. 1092-1093. DOI: 10.1109/VR.2019.8798186
  • Bender, G., Lehmann, A., Zou, H., Cheng, H. Fry, H., Engel, D., Therien, M., Blasie, J., Roder, H., Saven, J., & DeGrado, W. (2007) De Novo Design of a Single-Chain Diphenylporphyrin Metalloprotein. Journal of the American Chemical Society 129(35), 10732- 10740.
  • Engel, D., (2006) Natural protein motifs and their use in design. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Geremia, S. Di Costanzo, L., Randaccio, L., Engel, D., Lombardi, A., Nastri, F., & DeGrado, W. (2005) Response of a Designed Metalloprotein to Changes in Metal Ion Coordination, Exogenous Ligands, and Active Site Volume Determined by X-ray Crystallography. Journal of the American Chemical Society 127(49), 17266-17276.
  • Engel, D. & DeGrado, W. (2005) α-α Linking Motifs and Interhelical Orientations. Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics 61, 325-337.
  • Lahr, S., Engel, D., Stayrook, S., Maglio O., North, B., Geremia, S., Lombardi, A., & DeGrado, W. (2005) Analysis and Design of Turns in α-Helical Hairpins. Journal of Molecular Biology 346, 1441-1454.
  • Engel, D., Senes, A., & DeGrado, W. (2004) Folding of helical membrane proteins: the role of polar, GxxxG-like and proline motifs. Current Opinion in Structural Biology 14, 465-479.
  • Engel, D. & DeGrado, W. (2004) Amino Acid Propensities are Position-Dependent Throughout the Length of α-Helices. Journal of Molecular Biology 337, 1195-1205.
  • Engel, D., Charniak, E., & Johnson, M. (2002) Parsing and Disfluency Placement. In Proceedings of the 2002 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, pages 49-54.
  • Engel, D., (2001) The utility of filled pauses, interjections, and parentheticals in parsing conversational language. Master’s Thesis, Brown University.

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