Liz Marai
G. Elisabeta (Liz) Marai

Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260-9161

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Robotics Institute, School of CS
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA



I am a computer scientist working in scientific modeling and data visualization. My work draws on and extends ideas from computer graphics and visualization, medical imaging, differential geometry, and applied mathematics. Collaborative work with colleagues across different departments leads to richer computer science research and provides a mechanism for evaluating the usefulness and robustness of results.

I am the founder and director of the Pitt Interdisciplinary Visualization Research Lab. The lab's research pages are the best place to learn more about my work, my group, our projects, results, publications, and sponsors. My research has brought (or directly helped bring) more than $2.6M to Pitt. Two of these grants are large, Big Data, multi-disciplinary NSF awards.

I have received a NSF CAREER Award in 2010, an IEEE BioVis 2011 Best-Paper Award, an IEEE LDAV 2012 Best Paper Runner-Up Award, an IEEE BioVis 2013 Data Contest Visualization Award and multiple Teaching Awards for courses which blend teaching and research.

I am currently on a self-sponsored sabbatical at Carnegie Mellon University. I hold an Assistant Professorship appointment at the University of Pittsburgh under a disputed tenure case (tenure recommendation overturned at the School level Apr 2013; School Appeal panel finds 5-0 in favor of the appeal Apr 2014; slow administrative resolution). I hold an Adjunct appointment in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and a Joint appointment in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. I received my Ph.D. in Computer Science from Brown University in May 2007. Before that, I was an intern at Philips Research in the Netherlands. And first, I received a M.Sc. and a B.S. in 1998, respectively 1997, from the Computer Science Department of the Politehnica University of Bucharest in Romania.


I have received six Teaching Awards in five years of teaching (one at the Provost level; two for student evaluations in the top 4% in the School of Arts and Sciences; and three more for highest student evaluations in the department at specific undergraduate and graduate levels); although, or perhaps because, I often choose to experiment with my teaching and learn from the results :-). My teaching portfolio showcases some of the work produced by my awesome students.

Service and Outreach

Please see my CV for a complete list of professional service and outreach activities. You may know me from my BioVis Program co-chairing, multiple IEEE program committees, organizing committees, or reviewing service. Or you may know me as the founder and faculty coordinator of the Pitt Women in Computer Science organization (which aims to compensate for the 7% (!) female undergraduate enrollment in the department), as a collaborator of the Pitt CS K-12 outreach Technology Leadership Initiative (Tonya Groover Edmonds' diversity outreach initiative at Pitt CS), or as the creator and organizer of the IEEE VisWeek 2011 Compass activities; for which I've been called (on the webs)"indefatigable".


WiCS: Pitt Women in Computer Science
TLI: Technology Leadership Initiative
Compass: IEEE VIS Compass