Danfeng “Daphne” Yao, professor of computer science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, was reappointed as a CACI Faculty Fellow of Computer Science by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands and Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke.

The CACI Faculty Fellowship was established through the support of CACI International Inc. to attract and retain leading scholars in the College of Engineering. Recipients hold the fellowship for five years.

Yao has held the fellowship since 2014.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2010, Yao has made significant contributions to the field of cybersecurity. Her work focuses on securing complex computer programs in critical environments by using program behavior analysis and malware detection, ensuring the integrity of networked systems by using traffic anomaly detection and reasoning and preserving the confidentiality of sensitive data by using data exfiltration detection.

Yao has broad experience working with system, network, and program security. She has managed major federal research and development projects, has published high-impact award-winning research papers, has patented several security technologies, and has published extensively in top computer security conferences and journals. Her research has also been reported by the popular news media.

Yao has secured more than $8 million in federal and industrial funding, with a personal share of $3.8 million.

In addition, Yao has published 22 peer-reviewed journal publications, 70 peer-reviewed conference and workshop publications, and two book chapters. She has served as a program committee member for top security conferences and is active in university and professional service. 

Yao received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award for her work on human behavior driven malware detection and the Army Research Office Young Investigator Award for her work on semantic reasoning for mission-oriented security.

A dedicated faculty advisor, Yao has graduated 10 Ph.D. students and five master’s degree students and has supervised 17 undergraduate researchers.

Yao received her bachelor’s degree from Peking University (China), a master's degree from Princeton University, a master's degree from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. from Brown University.

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