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Mechanical Engineering – News

The Mechanical Engineering Department welcomes four new faculty members who will join the department in fall ’08.

Dr. Robert Gao will join the department as the Pratt and Whitney Endowed Chair. He is currently a professor of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Gao has extensive experience in sensors and sensor networks as well as machine condition monitoring. His research interests span areas of integrated sensing methodologies for manufacturing equipment; mechatronics; smart structures and materials; energy-efficient sensor networks for coordination-based information acquisition; energy harvesting from the environment; multi-domain sensor signal processing; wireless data communication and biomechanics. Dr. Gao holds three patents and is a co-editor of the book Condition Monitoring and Control for Intelligent Manufacturing (’06). Currently, he serves as an Associate Editor for the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control and an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement. He received his M.S. (’85) and Ph.D. (’91) degrees in mechanical engineering from Technical University of Berlin, Germany. Dr. Gao is a Fellow of the ASME and IEEE, and a 1996 recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

Dr. Tianfeng Lu joins the department as an assistant professor. Dr. Lu received his M.S. degree from Tsinghua University and Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University. His expertise and research interests are in the computational fluid dynamics and combustion with detailed chemistry as well as reduction of large chemical kinetic mechanisms for computationally efficient simulation of complex multidimensional, turbulent flows and other engineering systems. Dr. Lu will complement the department’s strengths in the combustion and computational fluid mechanics areas.

Also joining the department as an assistant professor is Dr. George Lykotrafitis. Since 2006, he has been a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, where he is conducting experimental and computational studies of cellular membrane dynamics as a member of Dr. Subra Suresh’s research group. At UConn, he will pursue his interests in cellular mechanics and other mechanics-related research problems. Dr. Lykotrafitis received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in applied mathematics and physical sciences from National Technical University of Athens, Greece; he later completed Sc.M. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering at Caltech, where his studies included dynamic frictional sliding modes along incoherent interfaces.Also joining the department as an assistant professor is Dr. George Lykotrafitis. Since 2006, he has been a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, where he is conducting experimental and computational studies of cellular membrane dynamics as a member of Dr. Subra Suresh’s research group. At UConn, he will pursue his interests in cellular mechanics and other mechanics-related research problems. Dr. Lykotrafitis received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in applied mathematics and physical sciences from National Technical University of Athens, Greece; he later completed Sc.M. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering at Caltech, where his studies included dynamic frictional sliding modes along incoherent interfaces.

Dr. Chengyu Cao joins the department as an assistant professor. He is currently a senior research scientist at Virginia Tech. Dr. Cao’s area of expertise lies in dynamics and control of unmanned and intelligent electro-mechanical systems, robotics, sensor and actuator networks and bio-inspired applications. He has conducted theoretical, computational and experimental studies in these areas. He is currently the co-principal investigator on two NASA grants and one DARPA grant, and he will continue this work as a member of the ME department. Dr. Cao received his M.S. degree in manufacturing engineering from Boston University and his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from MIT.