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Dr. Don Engel


Brief Bio

Dr. Don Engel is a professor and the Assistant Vice President for Research at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). As AVPR, Don leads UMBC’s Office of Research Development. Don’s research is on the applications of visualization and artificial intelligence (esp. image processing and computational linguistics) to data-driven discovery (esp. in the physical and life sciences). After completing a Ph.D. in physics and master’s in computer science, Don spent several years working for Congress and executive branch agencies as a science and technology policy advisor. Don’s background also includes clinical experience as a resident in radiation oncology medical physics.

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

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)
  • 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 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: $22,956,495
  • “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

  • Murnane, M., Engel, D., Freeland, S., Boot, L., Jarzynski, M., Lindvig, K., Hillersdal, L., & Earle, D. (2020) Extending CoNavigator into a Collaborative Digital Space. Proceedings of ACM GROUP 2020, Accepted.
  • Ahuja, R., Khan, D., Symonette, D., Pan, S., Stacey, S., & Engel, D. (2020) Towards the Automatic Assessment of Student Teamwork. Proceedings of ACM GROUP 2020, Accepted.
  • Ahuja, R., Khan, D., Symonette, D., desJardins, M., Stacey, S., & Engel, D. (2019) A Digital Dashboard for Supporting Online Student Teamwork. CSCW 2019, In Press.
  • Engel, D., Murnane, M., Trenholm, N., Daniels, B., & Halverson, J. (2019) Open-Source Presentation of Spherical Content on Repurposed Hardware. IEEE VIS 2019, In Press.
  • Murnane, M., Breitmeyer, M., Ferraro, F., Matuszek, C. & Engel, D. (2019) Learning from Human-Robot Interactions in Modeled Scenes. Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH 2019, In Press.
  • 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, In Press.
  • Murnane, M., Breitmeyer, M., Matuszek, C. & Engel, D. (2019) Virtual Reality and Photogrammetry for Improved Reproducibility of Human-Robot Interaction Studies. Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE-VR), In Press.
  • 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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