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Area of Expertise
Dr. Kannan joins Plaksha as Professor and Director of the Data Science Institute. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), a binational organization established by the Indian and U.S. governments to catalyze collaborations between the S&T communities. At IUSSTF, she helped to develop new initiatives to support R&D collaborations in critical areas such as COVID-19 and Clean Energy.
Dr. Kannan brings leadership experience in both academia and government, an understanding of the critical role that science and technology play in this global inter-connected society, and a deep commitment to education and workforce development.
Dr. Kannan spent over 20 years in academia, first as a faculty member and then as Chair, Department of Management Science and Statistics at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). During her tenure at UTSA, she helped to develop new
undergraduate and graduate programs and led a university-wide initiative on quantitative literacy. Dr. Kannan served as Program Director at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) where her responsibilities included core disciplinary research, mathematical sciences research institutes, and workforce development programs in the Division of Mathematical Sciences as well as a number of cross-directorate and cross-agency activities. She was co-chair for several Data Science related activities in support of Harnessing the Data Revolution, one of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas, and created new programs to support data science foundations as well as data-intensive research in different science and engineering domains. Dr. Kannan also helped to create partnerships with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support collaborative efforts in biomedical data science.
Dr. Kannan received her B. Sc. in Statistics from Presidency College, Chennai and an M. Sc. degree in Statistics from the University of Madras before joining the Indian Statistical Institute as a Junior Research Fellow. She received an M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in Statistics from The Pennsylvania State University under the supervision of Professor C. Radhakrishna Rao. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of the American Statistical Association, and an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute.