SIAM News Blog

Honoring Dr. Malena I. Espanol

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, SIAM is recognizing the achievements of Hispanic mathematicians throughout September and October. Dr. Malena I. Espanol is an Assistant Professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at Arizona State University (ASU). Dr. Espanol’s research interests include numerical linear algebra, regularization methods, inverse problems, image processing, and materials science. Since the first SIAM Annual Meeting she attended as a graduate student in New Orleans in 2005, Dr. Espanol has been an active member of the SIAM community. She has been a member of the Diversity Advisory Committee, given talks, and helped organize sessions at past SIAM Conferences. Dr. Espanol is currently the SIAM Representative for the Frank and Brennie Morgan Prize Selection Committee and a member of the SIAM Education Committee. 

Education and Career Path 

Dr. Espanol earned a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Buenos Aires in 2003 before earning her M.S. and Ph.D. in Mathematics from Tufts University in 2005 and 2009, respectively. 

After graduation, Dr. Espanol was a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology. In 2012, she started a faculty position at The University of Akron where she obtained tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2018. In 2019, Dr. Espanol moved to ASU to join the computational mathematics faculty there.  

Research Focus

Dr. Espanol’s research interests include numerical linpear algebra, regularization methods, inverse problems, image processing, and materials science. During her doctoral years, under the supervision of Dr. Misha Kilmer, Dr. Espanol developed wavelet-based multilevel methods for signal and image restoration problems. At the California Institute of Technology, Dr. Espanol was part of the Computational Solid Mechanics Group led by Dr. Michael Ortiz. As a postdoctoral fellow, she worked with Drs. Michael Ortiz, Dennis Kochmann, and Sergio Conti on analyzing the Quasicontinuum Method, a method which is used to simulate the mechanical behavior of solid materials. During her years at The University of Akron, Dr. Espanol started working with Drs. Dmitry Golovaty and Pat Wilber on the discrete-to-continuum modeling of 2D materials such as graphene, with support from the National Science Foundation. 

Since joining ASU, Dr. Espanol has been working on several projects related to the development of numerical methods for solving inverse problems in imaging. She is currently working with Dr. Rosalind Sadleir, who is a faculty member in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at ASU, postdoctoral fellow Dr. Mirjeta Pasha, applied math Ph.D. student Jacob Roarty, and undergraduate students Brian Aguilar and Lucia Ramirez, on developing computational methods for the 3D electrical impedance tomography (EIT) problem, which has many potential applications including the continuous monitoring of lungs. Together with Dr. Suren Jayasuriya, who is a faculty member in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering at ASU, and applied math Ph.D. student Tyler Fuller, she is developing iterative methods for the dynamic light transport inverse problem, which has many applications including the relighting of virtual scenes for computer graphics and augmented/virtual reality. With Dr. Sean Breckling from the Nevada National Security Site, Dr. Espanol is developing edge-preserving numerical methods for blind deconvolution problems arising from x-ray radiography. Dr. Espanol is also currently working with ASU computational mathematicians Drs. Rosemary Renaut and Rodrigo Platte, and applied math Ph.D. students Jazmine Perez, Victoria Uribe, and Brian Sweeney, on developing Bayesian-based multilevel methods, edge-preserving hybrid methods, and machine learning algorithms for imaging applications. 

SIAM Community 

At Tufts University, Dr. Espanol founded the SIAM student chapter and became its first president. Later, she was the faculty advisor of The University of Akron student chapter, and she is currently one of the current faculty advisors of the ASU SIAM student chapter.

In 2016, she helped create a research community for Women in Mathematics of Materials and has since organized networking events and minisymposia to feature the work of women researchers at the last three SIAM Conferences on the Mathematical Aspects of Materials Sciences. As part of the SIAM Committee of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM), Dr. Espanol has helped organized the AWM Workshop at the SIAM Annual Meeting and SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering (CSE), in particular, the AWM poster session for the last 3 years. 

Last Spring, Dr. Espanol was part of the organizing committee of the Broader Engagement (BE) Program run at SIAM CSE21. The BE program aims to create a more inclusive and diverse CSE community by supporting individuals from diverse backgrounds. As part of the BE program, together with Dr. Mirjeta Pasha, Dr. Espanol led the Guided Affinity Group in Inverse Problems and Applications.

Thank you  Dr. Espanol for your contributions to applied mathematics and SIAM!

blog comments powered by Disqus