Faculty Profile Faculty Awards

Gatsis receives President’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Research Achievement

June 14, 2021
Academic Strategic Communications
Gatsis receives President’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Research Achievement

Profile photo of Nikolaos Gatsis

Nikolaos Gatsis, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and 2020-2021 Lutcher Brown Endowed Professorship fellow, has received the President’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Research Achievement. The award recognizes his rising research reputation in the areas of cyber security and smart power grids as well as his high-quality, high-impact research program. 

"It is a great honor to have received the President's Distinguished Research Achievement Award. My purpose at UTSA will always be to continue the contribution of research and teaching alongside my colleagues and mentors," says Gatsis. 

When Gatsis joined UTSA in 2013, he established several ambitious goals for himself: maintain a strong publication record, make contributions of impact to his field, provide effective student mentorship and acquire sustained funding. With his designation as the Lutcher Brown Endowed Professorship fellow for the 2020-2021 year, it is evident that Gatsis has exceeded these goals. 

Gatsis’ current research involves developing a framework that addresses challenges in resource management for electricity distribution networks that interact with water distribution systems. The impact of this research will provide more reliable and economic delivery of electricity and water to users, helping lower energy costs and promote water conservation. 

Specifically, Gatsis aims to provide more economical and reliable electricity operation through integration with renewable energy sources. As renewable energy can experience fluctuations, Gatsis’ research involves coordinating these energy sources with controllable, fuel-based generators and batteries. 

His research analyzes the entirety of electrical systems, from the broader distribution systems to individual user’s homes, to ensure the system works as energy efficiently as possible while maintaining safety and reliability. This project received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award in 2019 and enhances UTSA’s research efforts in the area of Smart City development. 

Gatsis has also developed innovative new methods to protect the Global Positioning System (GPS) against cyber-attacks. By simulating how a hacker can disrupt vulnerable systems that rely on the GPS, Gatsis can use this information to develop more effective algorithms to protect the vulnerable systems going forward. This research helps secure infrastructures like cellphone towers, financial institutions and the electrical grid at large.  

With a 23 h-index and 2,795 citations from Google Scholar, Gatsis’ achievements are internationally recognized, and help advance UTSA’s mission to be a leading research institution. Six of his grant proposals were funded by the NSF, one by the U.S. Department of Defense and two by UTSA. In total, he has been awarded $1,948,368.

Gatsis’ publication history is extensive, with 36 peer-reviewed journal articles and 46 peer-reviewed conference papers in top-tier journals and conferences, respectively, as well as two book chapters. Seven of his journal papers were published in the IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, one of the top journals in electric power systems with an impact factor of 10.49. 

Gatsis was also selected to deliver a presentation on his experience writing his proposal for the NSF CAREER award at the NSF Engineering CAREER Proposal Writing Workshop in 2020. This presentation helped advise over 300+ assistant professors in engineering who aspire to submit a CAREER Award proposal. 

Outside of various leadership and organizational roles at conferences, Gatsis was invited to serve as Technical Program Committee member for 24 workshops, symposia, and conferences. He has been the co-guest editor for a special issue of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing and has been a proposal review panelist for the NSF. 

“Over the past seven and a half years, Dr. Gatsis has demonstrated that he is an exceptional researcher, educator, and professor, with sustained research effort and productivity,” says Chunjiang Qian, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “His research work has significantly contributed to the college’s and university’s initiatives to support research excellence in cyber, data, and sustainability.”

The Research Achievement Award for tenured faculty recognizes individuals who have conducted a sustained program of high quality, high impact research that has translated into national and international recognition and has made a substantial contribution to the faculty member’s field.