Purnima Ratilal-Makris

Professor,  Electrical and Computer Engineering



  • 617.373.8458

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Research Focus

Remote sensing, underwater acoustics, acoustical oceanography, bioacoustics, ultrasound imaging, nonlinear scattering, wave propagation in random media, signal, image and array processing, statistical inference theory


Professor Ratilal-Makris has extensive experimental and theoretical experience in remote sensing with acoustics and ultrasonics. The applications include long range acoustic detection, localization, and inference of underwater vehicles, geology, fish, and other objects in the ocean; linear and nonlinear ultrasound imaging for biomedical and military applications; and imaging in multipath environments.

Professor Ratilal-Makris holds a PhD in acoustics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, 2002). She was was previously a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Ocean Engineering at MIT (2002-2004) and a Research Scientist at Singapore’s DSO National Laboratories (1994-1998). She was awarded the ONR Postdoctoral Award in Ocean Acoustics in 2002, the Bruce Lindsay Award by the Acoustical Society of America in 2006, the ONR Young Investigator (YIP) Award in 2007, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2008.


  • PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002

Honors & Awards

  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers
  • Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award

Professional Affiliations

  • Acoustical Society of America, Fellow

Research Overview

Remote sensing, underwater acoustics, acoustical oceanography, bioacoustics, ultrasound imaging, nonlinear scattering, wave propagation in random media, signal, image and array processing, statistical inference theory

Selected Publications

  • C. Zhu, H. Garcia, A. Kaplan, M. Schinault, N.O. Handegard, O.R. Godø, W. Huang, P. Ratilal, Detection, Localization and Classification of Multiple Mechanized Ocean Vessels over Continental-Shelf Scale Regions with Passive Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing, Remote Sensing, 10(11), 2018, 1699
  • H.A. Garcia, C. Zhu, M.E. Schinault, A.I. Kaplan, N.O. Haandegard, O.R. Godø, H. Ahonen, N.C. Makris, D. Wang, W. Huang, P. Ratilal, Temporal-Spatial, Spectral and Source Level Distributions of Fin Whale Vocalisations in the Norwegian Sea Observed with a Coherent Hydrophone, ICES Journal of Marine Science, 76(1), 2018, 268-283
  • D. Wang, P. Ratilal, Angular Resolution Enhancement Provided by Nonuniformly-Spaced Linear Hydrophone Arrays in Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing, Remote Sensing, 9(10), 2017, 1036, 1-16
  • D. Wang, H.Garcia, W. Huang, D.D. Tran, A.D. Jain, D.H. Yi, Z. Gong, J.M. Jech, O.R. Godoe, N.C. Makris, P. Ratilal Vast Assembly of Vocal Marine Mammals from Diverse Species on Fish Spawning Ground, Nature, 531, 2016, 366-370
  • Z. Gong, D. Tran, P. Ratilal, Comparing Passive Source Localization and Tracking Approaches With a Towed Horizontal Receiver Array in an Ocean Waveguide, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134, 2013, 3705-3720
  • M. Andrews, Z. Gong, P. Ratilal, Effects of Multiple Scattering, Attenuation and Dispersion in Waveguide Sensing of Fish, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 130, 2011, 1253-1271
purnima ratilal makris


Aug 11, 2023

Ratilal-Makris Selected to Serve on Ocean Research Advisory Panel

ECE Professor Purnima Ratilal-Makris is one of eighteen members selected for the newly formed Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP), who will serve as advisors to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the interagency Ocean Policy Committee (OPC).

purnima ratilal makris


Nov 28, 2022

Hydrophone Array System for Real-Time Oceanic Acoustic Monitoring

ECE Professor Purnima Ratilal-Makris was awarded a $1.28M NSF grant for “Large-aperture 160-element coherent hydrophone array system upgrades and operational readiness testing for real-time continental-shelf scale ocean acoustic monitoring.”


Sep 20, 2022

Spring 2022 Spark Fund Awardees

Bouve/ChE University Distinguished Professor Mansoor Amiji, ChE Assistant Professor Sara Hashmi, ECE Professor Purnima Ratilal-Makris, and MIE Assistant Professor Mohsen Moghaddam are recipients of the Spring 2022 Spark Fund Awards. The goal of the award is to advance a technology or suite of technologies from academia towards commercialization.

purnima ratilal makris


Oct 25, 2019

Makris Awarded Patent for Monitoring Marine Animals

ECE Professor Purnima Ratilal Makris was awarded a patent for “Systems and methods for monitoring and classifying marine animals based on acoustic signals”. Abstract Source: USPTO Disclosed herein are apparatus, devices, and methods for monitoring marine animals, such as whales, and other marine mammals, and fish groups within a marine environment. A marine animal monitoring […]


Sep 12, 2017

Ratilal-Makris Receives $710K NSF Grant

ECE Associate Professor Purnima Ratilal-Makris received a $710K NSF award for the “Development of a Large-Aperture Coherent Hydrophone Array, Data Processing and Analysis Software System for Instantaneous Wide-Area Passive Acoustic Monitoring of Marine Mammals.”


Jan 30, 2017

ECE Faculty Meet With Student Advisory Board

ECE Interim Chair Miriam Leeser, Associate Chair Waleed Meleis, and Associate Professor Purnima Ratilal-Makris met with undergraduate students in the ECE Student Advisory Board to discuss their experiences in the department. The Student Advisory Board is planning on meeting with the department regularly throughout the year. We look forward to continuing the conversation.

Mar 02, 2016

Whale Feeding Hotspots

ECE Associate Professor Purnima Ratilal whose research was recently featured in Nature, has shown that whales tend to group into their own species when eating in large feeding areas.

Aug 12, 2015

Monitoring Marine Mammal with POAWRS

ECE Associate Professors Purnima Makris and Gunar Schirner were awarded a $300K NSF grant for the "Development of an interim passive ocean acoustic waveguide remote sensing system for instantaneous continental-shelf scale marine mammal monitoring, localization and species classification".

Dec 07, 2014

Makris Elected Fellow of ASA

Purnima Ratilal-Makris was elected a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA).

Nov 10, 2014

Makris elected Fellow of Acoustical Society of America

ECE associate professor Purnima Ratilal-Makris was selected as a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America for her work in acoustics and ultrasonics.

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