Research Focus Areas and Contacts

The William States Lee College of Engineering is committed to applied, interdisciplinary research. Alliances of students, faculty and community partners combine their research efforts to create knowledge, develop technology and improve the world around us.

Research Areas by Departments
Research Areas by Centers


Research Areas by Departments


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. John Daniels –, Department Chair

Department Website –

Environmental Engineering – Dr. James Amburgey –
  • detection and treatment of waterborne contaminants
  • environmental assessment and monitoring systems
  • protecting public health from environmental pollutants
Geotechnical Engineering – Dr. Vincent Ogunro –
  • laboratory and field determination of soil properties, site characterization, & testing of materiels
  • soil-structure interactions of embedded structures
  • soil-water interaction and innovative ground improvement
Structural Engineering – Dr. Matthew Whelan –
  • experimental and numerical analysis of structures subject to extreme loads (fire, blast, impact, natural hazards)
  • supplemental cementing materials, admixtures, and performance engineered concrete
  • performance testing, monitoring, and digital twinning of structures
Transportation Engineering – Dr. Wei Fan –
  • connected and autonomous vehicles
  • multimodal transportation systems planning and operations
  • transportation safety


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Asis Nasipuri, Chairman –

Department Website

Communication, Control and Signal Processing – Dr. Asis Nasipuri –
  • wireless communications and networking, communications traffic modeling
  • pattern recognition, computer vision, medical and natural image processing, RF circuits and systems
  • spacecraft controls, multivariable controls, optimal controls, and nonlinear controls
Computer Systems - Dr. James Conrad –
  • embedded systems and robotics, embedded computing and architectures, embedded mobile computing, cloud computing
  • reconfigurable computing, multicore computing, heterogeneous many-core architecture, real-time OS
  • hardware security, hardware/software co-design, digital VLSI, Big Data, cyber-physical systems
Devices, Circuits and Systems – Dr. Jeremy Holleman -
  • RF circuit design, antennas, analog and mixed-signal circuit design, power electronics, fiber-optic sensors
  • laser and detector design, optical and optoelectronic networks, optical image processing, optoelectronic material science
  • photovoltaics, quantum devices, materials for submicron lithography, microstructural analyses, vacuum microelectronics, radiation hardened devices, packaging and systems integration, and device modeling
Power Systems – Dr. Tiefu Zhao –
  • power systems, Smart Grid, micro grid, power systems stability and control, power systems optimization
  • utility applications, high voltage, condition monitoring, economic operation of power systems
  • electromechanical systems and drives, power systems protection, and renewable energy


Engineering Technology and Construction Management

Dr. Thomas Nicholas II, Interim Chairman –

Department Website

Dr. Nicole Barclay –
  • Green Stormwater Infrastructure
  • Socio-technical Systems Analysis of Water Infrastructure
  • Engineering Education for Sustainability
Dr. Michael Benjamin –
  • Occupational chemical exposures
  • Evaluation of mathematical models to predict chemical exposures
  • Ergonomic stressors
  • Technology use to improve awareness/reach of occupational safety and health topics
Dr. Anthony Brizendine –
  • Geotechnical Engineering: earth structures/risk analysis/probabilistic modeling/finite element analysis
  • Continuous Improvement/Outcomes Assessment
  • Educational pedagogy
Dr. Aidan F. Browne –
  • Sensors & Signal Conditioning
  • Control Systems
  • Robotics
  • Medical Devices and Diagnostics
  • Applied Energy/Electro-mechanical Systems
  • Engineering Education
Dr. Tara Cavalline –
  • Portland cement concrete and cementitious materials
    • Durability and service life
    • Optimizing materials and mixture design
    • Enhancing performance of concrete infrastructure
    • Quality assurance for concrete construction
  • Sustainable construction materials
  • Masonry materials
  • Bridge Management Systems
  • Pavement Management Systems
Dr. Yuting Chen –
  • Data analytics
  • Construction safety
  • Automation/robotics/VR/BIM
  • Organizational and individual resilience vs. construction safety
  • Organizational maturity vs. risk management of projects
Dr. Don Chen –
  • Pavement Management Systems
  • Parametric Modeling and Visualization in Design and Construction
  • Accelerated Bridge Construction
Dr. Claudia Garrido Martins –
  • Risk management in Construction
  • Construction Project Management
  • Decision-making
  • Simulation
  • New Technologies in Construction, Immersive Reality, Modular/Off-site Construction
Dr. Rodward Hewlin Jr. –
  • Animal flight morphology
  • Biological Flows
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Electromagnetics and Medical Drug Delivery
  • Heat and Mass Transport
  • Instrumentation & Measurement Science
  • Physio-chemical Hydrodynamics
  • Particle Imaging Velocimetry
  • Medical Implant design and analysis
  • High-g, micro-g, and zero-g applications
Dr. Jeffrey Kimble –
  • Fire Service Management
  • Heavy and Tactical Rescue
Dr. Maciej Noras –
  • Detection and applications of electric fields
  • High voltage engineering
  • Development of instrumentation and sensor devices
  • Power electronics
  • Energy harvesting
  • Electric power monitoring
  • Dielectric studies
  • FEA modeling of multiphysics processes
Dr. Jaewon Oh –
  • PV reliability
  • Solar cell and module characterization
  • Building integrated PV
  • PV system performance
Dr. Stephanie Pilkington –
  • Natural hazards
  • Hazard impact and recovery modeling
  • Community resilience and sustainability
  • Human-infrastructure interaction
  • AI applications in infrastructure
Dr. Jacelyn Rice-Boayue –
  • Indirect (de facto) reuse of treated wastewater
  • Water quality and contaminant modeling
  • Coupled natural and human systems
  • Water-energy nexus
Dr. Omidreza Shoghli –
  • Infrastructure Asset Management
  • Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure
  • Decision-Making and Optimization in Construction
Dr. Elizabeth Smith –
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer
  • Human Physiology Modeling
  • Augmented Reality in Education
Dr. Michael Smith –
  • Modeling and Control of Process Systems and Energy Systems
  • Energy Generation Systems (Power Plants)
  • Nuclear Energy (PWR Fission and Fusion, Nuclear Fuel Cycle)
  • Electro-Mechanical Systems and Magnetic Shielding
  • System Dynamics (Vibration Analysis)
  • Instrumentation, Metrology, and Uncertainty Evaluation
  • Manufacturing / Machining (CNC High-Speed Milling)
Dr. Jake Smithwick –
  • Optimization of project delivery within facility management (FM)
  • Procurement technology, risk management, and performance measurement
  • Organizational agility through strategic management of overhead
  • Improving the “business” of facility management: leadership, organizational structure, operations, financial management
Dr. Weimin Wang –
  • Modeling, analysis, and control of building systems
  • Sustainable building design and operation
  • Building grid integration
  • Smart campus and smart city technologies
Dr. Wesley Williams –
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Mechanical Design
  • Marine Energy
  • Physics Based Modeling


Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Science

Dr. Harish Cherukuri, Chairman –

Department Website

Manufacturing and Metrology

  • Precision and industrial metrology
  • Surface metrology and analysis
  • Optics and optical metrology
  • Instrumentation and sensors
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Applications of machine learning

Solid Mechanics and Materials Science

  • Finite element modeling
  • Multi-scale modeling
  • Nanomaterial synthesis and characterization
  • Ultrafine grain nanocrystalline materials
  • Mechanical testing of small scale structures

Motorsports and Automotive Engineering

  • Sustainable batteries of EV
  • Algorithms and concepts for smart vehicles
  • Vehicle dynamics and stability control
  • Multicar aerodynamics
  • Crash modeling and simulation

Thermal Science and Fluid Mechanics

  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Bio-heat transfer and bio-fluid dynamics
  • Combustion
  • Stochastic flow and thermal processes
  • Applied math and modeling of heat transfer

Dynamics and Controls

  • System dynamics
  • Vehicle dynamics
  • Field robotics
  • Control system

Biomedical Engineering

  • Orthopedic biomaterials and biomechanics
  • Cryopreservation and anhydrous cell preservation
  • Biocompatibility of new materials
  • Liver tissue engineering
  • Design and testing of novel biomedical devices and instrumentation
Bioengineering – Dr. Gloria Elliott -
  • liver preservation, resuscitation, and tissue replacement devices
  • orthopedic biomaterials and biomechanics
  • biomechanics of Sports Injuries and Rehabilitation
  • biopreservation in the cryoand dehydrated states
  • biotherapeutic stabilization
  • orthopedic and Liver tissue engineering
  • design and testing of novel biomedical devices and instrumentation
  • drug delivery and Biotransport analysis in biological systems
Computational Modeling – Dr. Harish Cherukuri –
  • computational fluid mechanics
  • computational mechanics
  • computer aided manufacturing
Computer Aided Manufacturing – Dr.Edward Morse –
  • computational metrology
  • assembly modeling and analysis
  • geometric tolerancing and standards
Motorsports Engineering – Dr. Mesbah Uddin –
  • advanced power trains
  • multicar aerodynamics
  • motorsports safety
Precision Metrology – Dr. Chris Evans –
  • instrumentation for nanoscale metrology
  • precision optical-electrical-mechanical systems
  • national and international standards development
Precision Manufacturing – Dr. Scott Smith –
  • computer-aided tolerancing and factory control
  • high-speed machining
  • polishing


Systems Engineering and Engineering Management

Dr. Simon Hsiang, Chairman –

Program Website

Energy Systems – Dr. Linquan Bai –
Healthcare Systems - Dr. Vishnu Girishan Prabhu –
Transportation Systems - Dr. Lei Zhu –
Logistics & Manufacturing Systems – Dr. Gary Teng –
  • lean systems process design
  • production systems modeling and design
  • supply chain and logistics management
  • systems efficiency and effectiveness enhancement
Decision & Risk Analysis – Dr. Ertunga Ozelkan –
  • multi-criteria decision making
  • decision making under uncertainty
  • risk simulation analysis
Optimization – Dr. Churlzu Lim –
  • mathematical optimization
  • network analysis and optimization
  • nonlinear systems optimization
  • heuristics development

Research Areas by Centers


Center for Advanced Multimodal Mobility Solutions and Education (CAMMSE)

Dr. Wei Fan, Director -

Center Website:

  • multimodal mobility
  • big data analytics in transportation (safety and travel behavior)
  • connected autonomous vehicles: impacts, simulation and control

Center for Biomedical Engineering Science

Dr. Charles Lee, Director –

Center Website

Medical Therapies and Technologies Focus Area – Dr. Mark Clemens
  • biopreservation in the dehydrated, refrigerated, and cryostates
  • organ preservation, resuscitation, and replacement technologies
  • design of novel biomedical devices and instrumentation
  • tissue engineering therapies
  • novel cancel treatments
  • development of optical probes
Molecular Engineering and Design Focus Area – Dr. Don Jacobs
  • molecular recognition and design
  • drug delivery
  • biosensors and biocatalysts
  • molecular machines and self assembly
Biomechanics and Mobility Research Focus Area –  Dr. Nigel Zheng
  • design and manufacturing of orthopedic materials
  • medical imaging and medical informatics
  • orthopedic implants
  • orthopedic tissue engineering


Center for Lean Logistics and Engineered Systems

Dr. Gary Teng, Director –
Dr. Ertunga Ozelkan, Associate Director –

Center Website

Lean Logistics & Systems – Dr. Ertunga Ozelkan & Dr. Gary Teng
  • lean systems process design
  • production systems modeling and design
  • supply chain and logistics management
  • systems efficiency & effectiveness enhancement
Systems Optimization – Dr. Churlzu Lim –
  • mathematical optimization
  • network analysis and optimization
  • decision making under uncertainty
Systems Analysis and Engineering Management – Dr. A. Yesim Sireli –
  • systems analysis, policy development, strategic planning
  • global product innovation, customer-oriented product development
  • business forecasting
  • energy systems analysis


Center for Optoelectronics and Optical Communications

Dr. Eric Johnson, Director –

Center Website

  • Biomedical Optics Laboratory – Dr. Nathaniel Fried –
  • Guided Wave Photonic Lab; Light-Matter Interaction Lab – Dr. Tsing-Hua Her –
  • Mesophotonics Lab – Dr. Vasily Astratov –
  • Micro/Nano-Optics Laboratory – Dr. Thomas Sulesk –
  • Micro-Photonics Lab – Dr. Eric Johnson –
  • Optoelectronic and Nanophotonics Devices – Dr. Yasin Raja –
  • Single molecule microscopy and spectroscopy – Dr. Pat Moyer – 


Infrastructure Design Environment and Sustainability (IDEAS) Center

Dr. Srinivas Pulugurtha, Director –

Center Website

  • Connected and automated vehicles; Intelligent transportation systems (ITS)
  • Trafic operations & Safety; Transportation planning & policy; Visualization & data analytics; Active transportation, public transportation & micromobility
  • Airport landslide access & operations, airline operations

Center for Precision Metrology

Dr. Chris Evans –

Center Website

Environmental Controls – Dr. Kevin Lawton –
  • temperature control
  • humidity control
  • vibration control
Large-Scale Manufacturing – Dr. John Ziegert –
  • large power generation parts
  • large aircraft parts
Polishing – Dr. Brigid A Mullany –
  • high-speed polishing
  • ceramic polishing
  • diamond turning
Precision Manufacturing – Dr. Scott Smith –
  • computer-aided tolerancing and factory control
  • high-speed machining
  • polishing
Precision Metrology – Dr. Chris Evans –
  • instrumentation for nanoscale metrology
  • precision optical-electrical-mechanical systems
  • national and international standards development


Energy Production and Infrastructure Center

Dr. Mike Mazzola, Executive Director –

Center Website

Energy and Sustainability –
  • active and passive photonic devices
  • smart grids
  • wide bandgap semiconductors
Power Systems – Dr. Robert Cox –
  • electromechanical systems and drives
  • electromechanics
  • microelectromechanical systems
Large-Scale Manufacturing – Dr. John Ziegert –
  • large power generation parts


North Carolina Motorsports and Automotive Research Center

Dr. Mesbah Uddin, Director –

Center Website

  • advanced coordinate metrology
  • advanced powertrain
  • alternative fuels
  • advanced fluid mechanics
  • advanced surface metrology
  • bearing design and lubrication
  • computational fluid dynamics
  • computational methods in engineering
  • deformation and fracture of materials
  • engineering metrology
  • experimental stress analysis
  • finite element analysis and applications
  • heat transfer and fluid flow
  • mechanical behavior of materials
  • mechanical design
  • mechanism analysis
  • mechanism synthesis
  • theory of elasticity
  • tribology
  • vibrations of continuous systems