Growing up in a small town in India, Professor Prasad Yarlagadda dreamt of becoming an engineer with the tools to improve his community.
More than 35 years later his community vision remains the same, as he steps into the role of University of Southern Queensland Dean of Engineering.
Over the past three decades, Professor Yarlagadda has moved across the globe, working to advance the field of smart systems engineering research. He has supervised 57 PhD students and helped to secure more than $18million in research funding, while leading world-class research projects.
In 2016, Professor Yarlagadda was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his contribution to the field of engineering, and his achievements were further recognised in 2020, when he was named Researcher of the Year by the International Association of Advanced Materials in Sweden.
Reflecting on his journey, Professor Yarlagadda spoke on the importance of a good education.
“Starting life in a rural town in India, the opportunities were very limited,” Professor Yarlgadda said.
“I had always wanted to build my community, and I was the first in my family to finish school and go to college.
“From there, pathways opened, and I was lucky to have many outstanding mentors in my life that helped provide me with direction.
“It is this support that I want to pass on in my new role, while helping to enhance regional opportunities.”
As the engineering industry continues to expand and transform, Professor Yarlagadda plans to restructure the university’s courses to meet industry needs.
“Each decade, the industry looks for new attributes in graduating students,” he said.
“Nowadays, the focus is on students with multidisciplinary skills who can innovate - so we must restructure accordingly to prepare our graduates for the global needs.
“We are also creating two new courses and building partnerships to help provide increased internship opportunities.
“Overall, my vision is to transform our students into world class engineering graduates, who will form the backbone of our growing society.”
Professor Yarlagadda will continue to research engineering solutions in his new role. He is currently working on a project to develop antipathogenic surfaces for various healthcare applications by bio-mimicking nanostructures in cicada and dragonfly wings. Professor Yarlagadda and his team already trialled these surfaces at Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital, Brisbane and are in the process of extending to other hospitals in the Brisbane and Toowoomba regions.
An engineering degree is your passport to a world of different industries where you can make a real difference. UniSQ engineering graduates go on to achieve award-winning breakthroughs in research and pursue rewarding careers at the forefront of today’s technological world. Learn more about the University’s engineering programs.