Three new endowed professorships will support groundbreaking work on health, energy, and the environment.

Three new endowed professors pose with medals
Kody Powell, Masood Parvania, and Florian Solzbacher

Academic research is a critical component of our ability to tackle the world’s most pressing problems, whether they are in health, energy, the environment, or beyond. Fundamental knowledge about potential solutions — as well as the nature of the problems themselves — must be amassed before those solutions can be implemented in a rational, effective way.

The fruit of such research takes time to mature, and those who conduct it need reliable, consistent support to maximize their yield.

With that goal in mind, the University of Utah’s John and Marcia Price College of Engineering has announced the naming of three new Endowed Professorships, providing their recipients the solid foundation they need to conduct their world-changing work.

On November 3, Richard Brown, the H. E. Thomas Presidential Endowed Dean of the Price College of Engineering, appointed Masood Parvania to the Roger P. Webb Endowed Professorship in Electrical & Computer Engineering, Kody Powell to the John A. and Amy B. Williams Endowed Professorship in Chemical Engineering, and Florian Solzbacher to the Gerald B. and Barbara F.  Stringfellow Endowed Professorship in Electrical & Computer Engineering.


Masood Parvania
Roger P. Webb Endowed Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering

Parvania’s research is centered on the operation, economics and resilience of power and energy systems, as well as the modeling and operation of interdependent critical infrastructures. He is the Director of the U.S.-Canada Center on Climate-Resilient Western Interconnected Grid, an interdisciplinary and international center, jointly funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Drawing on leading experts in power engineering, climate, data, policy, and social sciences from eleven universities across the western U.S. and Canada, this new center aims to develop technologies and practices that will protect energy infrastructure from disruptions, such as wildfires, heatwaves, and floods.

For his outstanding contributions to the creation of new knowledge and educating and mentoring students, Parvania was named a Presidential Scholar at the University of Utah in 2020 and received the Engineering Educator of the Year Award from the Utah Engineers Council in 2018. Parvania has served as chair of the IEEE Power and Energy Society Subcommittee on Bulk Power Systems Operation, and the Subcommittee on Reliability, Risk and Probability Applications.

Parvania joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as an Assistant Professor in 2015, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020, and currently serves as the department Associate Chair of Research and Advancement. Since joining the University of Utah, he has graduated 9 Ph.D. students, mentored 8 Postdoctoral Scholars, and currently advises 9 Ph.D. students. He has published 85 journal papers, 55 conference papers and has 3 issued patents.


Kody Powell
John A. and Amy B. Williams Endowed Professor in Chemical Engineering

An associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Powell’s research focuses on solving critical energy problems. Using the tools of systems engineering, his lab studies synergistic energy systems where renewable and conventional energy sources complement one another. His work has resulted in more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications and $11 million in funding.

Powell is the Director of the Intermountain Industrial Assessment Center (IIAC), which helps companies identify innovative energy projects while simultaneously training students to become energy consultants. Since 2016, the IIAC has trained more than eighty students and has been the recipient of the Center of Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Green Business Award from Utah Business Magazine, and the Energy Champion Award from the Utah Association of Energy Engineers.

Powell earned his Bachelor’s degree on a Presidential Scholarship at the University of Utah and his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Cockrell School of Engineering Fellow. Powell was also recognized as the 2023 Engineering Educator of the Year by the Utah Engineer’s Council and has received multiple awards for Excellence in Applied Energy Engineering Research by the United States Department of Energy.


Florian Solzbacher
Gerald B. and Barbara F.  Stringfellow Endowed Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering

Solzbacher, Professor and Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, studies harsh-environment microsystems and materials, including implantable, wireless microsystems for biomedical and healthcare applications, as well as high-temperature and harsh-environment-compatible microsensors.

Among these devices is the Utah Electrode Array, today’s gold standard brain-computer interface for restoring lost function. Initially conceived by the University of Utah’s Richard Normann, Solzbacher is credited for developing it into a manufacturable product. As the first such device cleared by the FDA for human applications, the Utah Electrode Array has enabled neuroscience research in more than five hundred labs worldwide.

Solzbacher also holds adjunct appointments as Professor in Materials Science and Engineering and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Utah. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is Co-Founder, President and Executive Chairman of Blackrock Neurotech and is the author of 200 journal and conference publications, 5 book chapters and 16 patents.