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Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Ram Dantu, Ph.D., UNT

Ram Dantu, Ph.D, UNT

Nearly a quarter into the 21st century, it's just fact that modern life is lived on the internet. It makes our lives more convenient, but is also rife with meddlesome hackers and trolls. Perhaps at no point has cybersecurity been more important in our personal lives, for companies and nations around the globe. Thank goodness UNT has Professor Dantu as Director of its Center of Information and Cyber Security. Boasting vast industry experience, Professor Dantu is invaluable to the School of Engineering for his expertise, innovation to aid society and ability to land grants -- including recently nearly $1 million from the National Security Agency. Still, this husband and father of two grown sons, both of whom attended UNT, has something of a wild side. We'll let you read more about that below. But here's a hint: at weddings and parties, he can really shake a leg.

Q&A

Throughout your 30-year career, you have worked in and out of academia and industry, but seem to have found your calling at UNT.  Why is that?
What happens when you go to industry and work at big companies, they don't do as much innovation as you want to do; it’s more business-oriented. So, I went up the ladder to the director level, but then it becomes more like managing people, basically management and not doing the actual innovation. Then I got an offer from UNT and I went to UNT. 

What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I work with students, mostly Ph.D students, and innovation is my main piece; developing something new for society, so that's what my main interest is. I work with students and then we come up with new kinds of technologies, and the good thing is that we actually go and try them, it’s not just publishing papers. We actually try these technologies with real society. For example, we developed some technology for CPR and we went and tried it with around 400 EMTs in the City of Plano and another 300 in the City of Frisco. We also tried something with Dallas Presbyterian Hospital, so that's my main interest and passion, to work and develop something new. 

What is your proudest work moment? 
One of my proudest moments is the NSF, the National Science Foundation, invited me to be on a webcast with the CTO of the whole FCC, the Federal Communications Agency. They called the CTO and me to actually do a webcast for one hour in the National Science Foundation TV studio. That was really big. I also have collaborated with top-tier universities like MIT, Columbia and Stanford. The good thing about that is UNT is the lead in all those projects. Those are proud moments.

What is your proudest non-work moment?
I am also very active in the our community, and actually work with various chambers of commerce, and so several times I was able to participate in meetings with the governor to address some of the issues with education and cybersecurity. They call it the Roundtable with experts, and I was one of them, so I was happy. 

What is a fact about you that might surprise your colleagues?
So, I actually enjoy dancing. I’m not great, but I enjoy it. I don't do much of it, but I do when I go to weddings and those kind of things. Not many people know, but I enjoy it. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE...
Book:
I don't have a particular favorite book, but I like to read about society-impacting people. I get fascinated by the anthropology aspects of books and novels, and the social aspects as well, how the people were living in those environments.
TV show: The Big Bang Theory.
Place to visit: If I go for more a beaches sort of thing, Florida. When my children were younger, we used to go to Washington D.C. and visit museums. When they were more grown up, our trips were a bit more on the lighter side. I like traveling a lot.