Neena Imam, PhD | Peter O’Donnell, Jr. Director
Neena Imam, PhD | Peter O’Donnell, Jr. Director, Data Science Institute

Southern Methodist University

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Neena Imam, PhD as the inaugural Peter O’Donnell, Jr. Director of the O’Donnell Data Science and Research Computing Institute at Southern Methodist University, effective October 9, 2023.  

Imam will join SMU from NVIDIA, the accelerated computing leader that invented the GPU, where she served as Director of Strategic Research Engagement (North and Latin Americas). In this position, Imam worked with academic researchers to enable the development of GPU-accelerated and AI/ML applications. Before NVIDIA, Imam served as a distinguished scientist and deputy director of research collaboration in the Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she performed research in high performance computing as well as next-generation microelectronics and Post Moore computing.

As the inaugural Director of the O’Donnell Data Science and Research Computing Institute, Imam’s position is key to SMU’s commitment to data focused education and next-generation computational research. SMU’s Data Science Institute launched in 2020 to serve as the hub for interdisciplinary research teams and programs in data science across the university. Just last month, SMU announced an additional $30 million gift from the O’Donnell Foundation, half of which will include endowment and operational funding for the O’Donnell Data Science and Research Computing Institute.

Imam holds a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, with master's and bachelor's degrees in the same field from Case Western Reserve University and California Institute of Technology, respectively. She served as the Science and Technology Fellow for U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in Washington D.C. (2010-2012), assisting the senator in the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act intended to promote U. S. competitiveness in STEM fields. She also assisted in the introduction of the first exascale computing legislation (S. 3459).

Andy Lee led this search with Courtney Cabansag and Madeline Fitzpatrick.