ODU and COVA CCI hire additional cybersecurity faculty

Diaz Picture
Rafael Diaz
Bikash Chandra Singh
Lida Haghnegahdar
Mohammad GhasemiGol
Mohammad GhasemiGol
Md Shirajum Munir

Recognizing the continual growth of the School of Cybersecurity’s student body and expansion of the need for cyber professionals across the Commonwealth, Old Dominion University committed to hiring six new faculty with funding from the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative Coastal Virginia. They are all starting their new roles during July and August 2023.

Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) Supply Chain Cybersecurity Cluster

Old Dominion University and Coastal Virginia node of the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (COVA CCI), working in partnership with George Mason University and the CCI Northern Virginia node, is funding up to six cybersecurity positions, with three at each node. This cluster will work together to conduct cybersecurity related research and will collaborate on federally funded research grants. ODU hired Dr. Rafael Diaz as the Director of the CCI Supply Chain Cybersecurity Cluster, alone with Dr. Bikash Chandra Singh and Dr. Lida Haghnegahdar.

Dr Diaz said, “We are excited to start building this new cluster and collaboration with GMU exploring relevant supply chain cybersecurity issues that only interdisciplinary researchers and solid teams can collectively undertake.”

He goes to say, “The Supply Chain Cybersecurity research team will focus on investigating issues related to the broader domain of digital supply chain security effecting the planning, execution, and performance of complex systems while exploring novel frontiers in cyber research and education.”

Dr. Diaz was formerly with the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center where he focused on supply chain and maritime cybersecurity as a full Research Professor and Director of the Advanced Analytics Lab and Co-Director of the Digital Maritime and Shipbuilding Lab. He brings a well of experience and knowledge into this new position.

Dr. Bikash Chandra Singh is a Research Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University (ODU). Dr. Singh was a postdoctoral researcher at ODU’s VMASC from November 2022 to July 2023, and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Electronics and Information Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University from December 2020 to April 2022, respectively. In addition, he was a faculty member at the dept. of Information and Communication Technology, Islamic University, Bangladesh. He obtained Ph.D. from the Department of Computer Science, Insubria University, Italy. His research activities cover all areas of data privacy and security, supply chain cybersecurity, machine learning in cybersecurity, big data analysis and blockchain systems.

Dr. Lida Haghnegahdar is a Research Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University. She was a recipient of the innovational scientist fellowship to work with the industry on systems optimization projects. Previously, she served as a post-doctoral research scientist at the Center for Agile and Adaptive Additive Manufacturing Center (CAAAM) at the University of North Texas. Her main research interest involves smart manufacturing, cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, digital supply chain, IoT cloud, smart grid, and distributed systems. Her research focuses on systems computation, intrusion detection, and smart systems that are making lasting impacts considering artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis applications.

Dr. Brian Payne, ODU Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, said, “These hires demonstrate our commitment to conducting groundbreaking research of value to the region.”

ODU School of Cybersecurity and VMASC

Additionally, COVA CCI hired three research assistant professors to support cybersecurity research within the School of Cybersecurity and VMASC. The School of Cybersecurity hired Dr. Mohammad GhasemiGol and VMASC hired Dr. Neda Moghim and Dr. Md Shiragum Munir. These researchers will continue their cybersecurity research and will work on obtaining additional federally funded research grants. They are joining Dr. Masud Rana and Dr. Safdar Bouk at VMASC in this role.

Dr. Sachin Shetty, Executive Director of Center for Secure and Intelligent Critical Systems (CSICS), VMASC, Old Dominion University will add Dr. Shirajum Munir and Dr. Neda Moghim into his research team at CSICS. Dr. Munir will be working on existing research projects and will be part of a team submitting multiple proposals to NSF and DoD agencies in the areas at the intersection of AI and cybersecurity. Dr. Moghim will collaborate on 5G and beyond research topics and will use state-of-the-art research in network enhancements of NextG.

Dr. Neda Moghim joined Old Dominion University as Research Scientist at VMASC in January 2023. She received her Ph.D. in communication system engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran in 2009. Her research focus is on wireless networks, particularly on 5G and future-generation networks and she is aiming at ensuring Quality of Service (QoS) in data communications, optimizing vehicular networks, and exploring the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT).

She said, “This work has the potential to significantly contribute to the advancement of wireless communication technologies and their seamless integration with AI and ML approaches. By addressing the challenges of 5G and beyond networks and ensuring QoS in data transmission, my research strives to empower the development of more efficient and reliable mobile communication systems.”

Md Shiragum Munir earned his Ph.D. in computer engineering from Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea in 2021 and prior to his appointment as an Assistant Research Professor for ODU/COVA CCI, he worked as a post-doctoral research associate for VMASC under Dr. Sachin Shetty.

Dr. Munir will use his research and development experiences from both industry and academia to converge secure and trustworthy cyberspace by investigating AI security, AI risk, and AI Privacy.

He said, “I will design and deliver target-oriented cyber courses to build a skilled and confident cybersecurity workforce. My goal is to enrich the graduate curricula through cutting-edge research in distributed power systems, energy economics, machine learning, data science, AI security, and AI risk. I am focusing on developing domain-specific, trustworthy, and explainable artificial intelligence mechanisms through investigating, modeling, and capturing data uncertainty of complex cyber-physical systems such as next-generation communication systems, smart grids, and intelligent healthcare system automation and resiliency.”

Dr. Mohammad GhasemiGol, ODU, School of Cybersecurity was hired in August 2023, as Research Assistant Professor. He was selected by the new School of Cybersecurity Director, Dr. Daniel Takabi, to fill this position.

Dr. GhasemiGol said, “As a new research assistant professor at Old Dominion University, with experience working in three different countries, I am enthusiastic about leveraging my expertise to strengthen and expand the cybersecurity program and research initiatives.”

He describes his vision by saying, “My vision is to foster a multidisciplinary approach, combining cutting-edge AI technologies with traditional cybersecurity methodologies to address the emerging challenges in this rapidly evolving field. Furthermore, recent safety concerns in learning-enabled systems, including healthcare, precision medicine, autonomous systems are a significant challenge, which highlights the importance of defining multidisciplinary initiatives. I believe that we can build a thriving academic environment through collaboration with faculty and staff with diverse expertise. This can lead to impactful research contributing to the broader realm of cybersecurity, as well as being beneficial to students in finding their way in academic and professional career.”

John Costanzo, COVA CCI Chief Administrative Officer said, “These new faculty members bring a unique viewpoint and diverse experience in their research and teaching, and they will add to the continued growth of the ODU’s reputation as a leading contributor to cutting-edge cybersecurity research, innovation, and education.”

To learn more about these researchers and COVA CCI visit the COVA CCI website – https://covacci.org/.