Jr-Shin Li, professor of systems science & mathematics in the Preston M. Green Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has received the Newton R. and Sarah Louisa Glasgow Wilson Professorship in Engineering. Although he received the professorship title in 2021, his installation ceremony was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will take place May 4, 2023 in Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Hall in the McKelvey School of Engineering. 

Li’s research focuses on the areas of control, dynamical systems, optimization, learning and data science. Specifically, he is interested in studying large-scale complex systems arising from emerging applications in physics, biology, neuroscience, medicine, public health and complex networks from both model-based and data-driven angles. His research program is transdisciplinary, with the emphasis on fundamentals of systems science and mathematics, which offers ample research opportunities at the forefront of the field and its interdisciplinary applications. 

Li also is a member of the faculty in the Computational & Systems Biology and Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology programs in the Roy and Diana Vagelos Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences (DBBS), the university’s collaborative research program for doctoral students in the biosciences, and in the Division of Computational & Data Sciences.

“Jr-Shin’s research on complex dynamical systems continues a tradition of outstanding work in control systems for which Preston M. Green Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering is known,” said Aaron Bobick, dean and the James M. McKelvey Professor. “And the breadth is remarkable. His work not only advances the theories of systems and control, but also pushes the boundaries of their application domains to biomedical, biological, computational, health and data sciences, including seizure detection, brain stimulation and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging.”

Li joined the faculty of Washington University after earning a doctorate in applied mathematics at Harvard University in 2006. He also earned master’s degrees from Harvard University and National Taiwan University and a bachelor’s degree from National Taiwan University. He has been associate editor of the SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization and the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology and on the editorial board of Nature Scientific Reports. He received an NSF Career Award in 2008 and the AFOSR Young Investigator Award in 2010. He was the Das Family Distinguished Career Development Associate Professor from 2012-2018 and the Das Family Distinguished Career Development Assistant Professor from 2011-2012.

His research has been funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. 

Li has been a visiting professor at the University of New South Wales in Canberra, Australia; Waseda University in Tokyo; and the Technical University of Munich. He was general chair of the 8th Midwest Workshop on Control and Game Theory in 2019; the 2019 Distinguished Lecturer at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan; and the 2017 SIAM Distinguished Lecturer at Texas Tech University. He received an Outstanding Teaching Award in the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering in 2015.

About Sarah Louisa Glasgow Wilson and Newton R. Wilson

Sarah Louisa Glasgow Wilson was born in St. Louis in 1858, the granddaughter of William Carr Lane, the first mayor of St. Louis and a daughter of William Glasgow Jr., one of the 17 charter members of the original corporation of Washington University. She graduated from Mary Institute in 1876 and married Newton R. Wilson in 1897. 

Newton R. Wilson was born in St. Louis in 1858. He graduated from Washington University in 1879 with a degree in mining engineering. He took the position of assayer for Ohio and Missouri Smelter and was soon made superintendent. For eight years he directed work for a number of mining interests in Colorado and Mexico, and in 1888 became superintendent of Philadelphia Smelter Co. in Mexico. In 1907, Wilson followed his interests in lumber and became manager of Industrial Lumber Corp., of Elizabeth, Louisiana, and then president, the position he held until his death in 1914.

Sarah Wilson then returned to St. Louis and became interested in philanthropy. Her first gift to Washington University was to construct the Wilson Swimming Pool, which opened in March 1922. The next was to build the Newton R. Wilson Memorial Hall, finished in 1924. She expressed her admiration for the women of Washington University with a large gift that concluded fundraising for the construction of the Women's Building, dedicated in 1928. Mrs. Wilson died Nov. 19, 1938.

In 1992, Mrs. Wilson's Charitable Trust provided a final gift to the university, part of which has funded the Newton R. and Sarah Louisa Glasgow Wilson Professorship in Engineering.


The McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis promotes independent inquiry and education with an emphasis on scientific excellence, innovation and collaboration without boundaries. McKelvey Engineering has top-ranked research and graduate programs across departments, particularly in biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and computing, and has one of the most selective undergraduate programs in the country. With 165 full-time faculty, 1,420 undergraduate students, 1,614 graduate students and 21,000 living alumni, we are working to solve some of society’s greatest challenges; to prepare students to become leaders and innovate throughout their careers; and to be a catalyst of economic development for the St. Louis region and beyond.

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