CEE Faculty Named Regents' Entrepreneurs, Professors and Researchers

Wednesday, 16 August 2023

Three faculty members received the University System of Georgia’s highest recognition for academic, research, and innovation excellence at the August meeting of the Board of Regents. Rafael Bras was named a Regents’ Professor, M. Talat Odman a Regents’ Researcher, and J. David Frost a Regents’ Entrepreneur.


A composite image of Rafael Bras, M. Talat Odman, and J. David Frost

Rafael Bras

Regents’ Professor
K. Harrison Brown Family Chair and Professor

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Bras is a renowned scholar of Earth’s water cycle. He helped create the field of hydrologic science by reshaping thinking about water in the environment early in his career. Bras has helped lead significant projects around the world, including efforts to protect Venice, Italy, from flooding.

Most recently, he has been engaged in understanding the occurrence of landslides and related geohazards triggered by heavy rainfalls, including hurricanes, in his native Puerto Rico.

Bras also served for 10 years as Georgia Tech’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. His tenure included launching the pioneering Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS) program and subsequent online degree programs in analytics and cybersecurity. Those programs now enroll more than 17,000 students. He also oversaw major international initiatives in Panama and China and guided efforts to reimagine the Georgia Tech Library and the future of education at Georgia Tech.

Man in suit with glasses

J. David Frost

Regents’ Entrepreneur
Elizabeth and Bill Higginbotham Professor

A portrait of David Frost

Frost is a leader in the study and analysis of natural and man-made disasters. His research centers on the development and implementation of digital data collection systems for studying subsurface problems related to earthquakes and other disasters. For more than 20 years, he has served on or led NSF-supported post-disaster study teams following earthquakes around the world as well as at the World Trade Center complex following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Frost has founded two software companies involving intellectual property developed at Georgia Tech. Dataforensics offers software for subsurface data collection and management of infrastructure projects. Filio’s software helps clients manage visual assets through a mobile app and a web-based back‐end that uses cloud storage and AI. The software currently is used in both infrastructure construction and post‐disaster reconnaissance.

M. Talat Odman

Regents’ Researcher
Principal Research Engineer

Odman has decades of research expertise in atmospheric chemistry, air pollution meteorology, and air quality modeling. Since 2007, his research has focused on wildland fires and their impacts on air quality. Insights from his work have led to the development of simulation and decision-support models that are widely used in the field of air pollution management.

Odman has led modeling efforts for the state of Georgia’s air quality forecasting for 15 years. He works with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources on its applied air quality research, focusing on a joint air quality and prescribed fire management initiative with the Georgia Forestry Commission. His research on specific emission sources contributed to the development of air pollutant emissions inventories and air quality impacts assessments for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the Port of Savannah Garden City Terminal.

A portrait of Talat Odman