Hi, my name is Steve Baek. I’m an applied geometer, researcher, educator, and entrepreneur interested in geometric data analysis. At the intersection of differential geometry and machine learning, I develop mathematical representations and algorithms for quantifying trends and patterns across geometric objects. My current and past research span a variety of interdisciplinary subjects including analysis of geometric patterns in physical/biological phenomena (e.g. microstructure morphology of energetic materials, the linkage between tumoral/peritumoral geometry and cancer outcome, etc.), statistical human body shape analysis, observation-based assessment of human performance/ergonomics, etc. I’ve been leading a variety of research projects as a (co-)principal investigator sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Air Force, NASA, Army, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Transportation (DOT), Hyundai Motor Company, and others.

I received my B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Seoul National University (SNU) in 2009 and 2013, respectively, both with the best thesis honor. I received the National Science and Engineering Scholarship and the Global Ph.D. Fellowship from the Korean Ministry of Education during my studies. After graduation, I had been a postdoc at the Institute of Advanced Machines and Design at SNU until 2015, during which I was awarded a Presidential Postdoc Fellowship by the President of the Republic of Korea. In 2015, I moved to the United States to join the University of Iowa as an Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering. While I was there, I held courtesy appointments in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Radiation Oncology, and Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences. I was also a faculty member of the National Advanced Driving Simulator. In 2021, I joined the University of Virginia (UVA) to be part of building the new School of Data Science, UVA’s 12th school enabled in part by the largest private gift in University history. I currently hold an appointment as an Associate Professor of Data Science with Tenure and a courtesy appointment at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, here at UVA.

Aside from my academic role, I founded two startup companies specializing in computer vision and artificial intelligence, called Inseer, Inc. and Vintage Grading and Authentication (VGA), LLC. (doing business as ‘Mantis Grading’). Currently, I’m serving as a scientific advisor of Inseer and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Mantis Grading.

Outside of my professional work, I love playing golf, baseball, and tennis (in that order). Fun fact: I played in the 2012 SNU League All-Star Games as a first baseman. I recently became enthusiastic about kayaking (and paddling, in general). I also enjoy photography and graphic design.


Ph.D. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Seoul National University, Korea, 2013.

Thesis: Nonlinear Analysis of the Space of Human Body Shapes and Its Application to Parametric Human Modeling System (Best Thesis Award, Grand Prize from the ‘Society of CAD/CAM Engineers Graduate Thesis Awards’)

B.S. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Seoul National University, Korea, 2009.

Thesis: A Modeling Method for 3D Face Model Using Single 2D Front-View Image (Best Thesis Honor)

Honors & Awards

Curriculum Vitae

Click here to view the full CV.


A comprehensive list of my publications is available here


See my Google Scholar Citation Record

Media Appearance

(Nov. 22, 2022) WCAV Good Morning Charlottesville - Inside the Numbers

(Sep. 24, 2021) The Doctors TV Show - S14 E5: Does Higher BMI Equal Less Money in the Bank?

Radios, Newspapers, & Magazines