Gong, Novelino join Rice Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty

Novellino started July 1, and Gong will join the faculty in January 2023 — both as assistant professors.

Two photos: Left is headshot of Kai Gong, right is headshot of Larissa Novelino

Nineteen new faculty members — including 13 tenure-track — in six departments and two programs have joined the George R. Brown School of Engineering.

Among them are Kai Gong and Larissa Novelino, who joining the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as assistant professors. Novellino started July 1, and Gong will join the faculty in January 2023.

Kai Gong, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE): After earning his M.S. in civil engineering from Monash University in Australia in 2013 and his Ph.D. in CEE from Princeton University in 2020, Gong worked as a postdoc at Princeton and MIT. His research aims to help decarbonize important material flows by focusing on pressing and challenging materials science problems related to buildings and infrastructure. To achieve this goal, he combines atomistic simulations and advanced materials characterization with data-driven modeling.

Larissa Novelino, assistant professor of CEE: She is a postdoctoral researcher in civil engineering at Georgia Tech where she earned her Ph.D. in civil engineering in 2021. Her research focuses on applying principles of origami to engineer deployable, reconfigurable and multifunctional systems. In 2015, Novelino earned her M.S. in the same field from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro in 2015.