northeastern university seal

Purnima Ratilal-Makris

Professor,  Electrical and Computer Engineering



  • 617.373.8458

Related Links

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

  • W. Huang, D. Wang, H. Garcia, O.R. Godø P. Ratilal, Continental Shelf-Scale Passive Acoustic Detection and Characterization of Diesel-Electric Ships Using a Coherent Hydrophone Array, Remote Sensing, 9(8), 2017, 772, 1-27
  • D. Wang and 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
  • D. Tran, W. Huang, A. Bohn, D. Wang, N. Makris, P. Ratilal, et al., Using a Coherent Hydrophone Array for Observing Sperm Whale Range, Classification, and Shallow-Water Dive Profiles, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 135(6), 2014, 3352-3363
  • 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
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.

Jul 28, 2014

Tracking Sperm Whales

ECE associate professor Purnima Ratilal is using underwater acoustic methods to get the first high-resolution data localizing sperm whales in continental shelf waters off the coast of New England.

Jun 14, 2011

Ratilal Awarded $150K Grant

ECE associate professor Purnima Ratilal, has received a $150K NSF grant to develop a system to detect the movements of marine animals in near-real-time to minimize the impact of man-made activities on their populations

Sep 30, 2010

Ratilal Awarded $1M NSF Grant

Purnima Ratilal, associate professor of ECE, has received a $1M NSF grant to develop a Lightweight Towed Area Receiver (LTAR) to remotely monitor and image large areas of the ocean environment.

View All Related News