Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering welcomes eight new faculty members

August 23, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is pleased to announce that eight new faculty members have joined the department. The department continues to vigorously seek out and hire the best and brightest young faculty in pursuit of its goal to be recognized as a worldwide leader in exceptional academic and research programs.

“We are pleased to welcome our new faculty who add to the breadth and depth of our research, education, and service activities in MNE,” said Karen Thole, distinguished professor and department head.

Nicholas Brown has joined the department as an assistant professor of nuclear engineering. Brown comes to Penn State from the Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He has also worked at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. He holds a doctoral degree from Purdue University in Nuclear Engineering. He brings expertise to the most critical area of nuclear power: reactor physics and sustainable nuclear fuel cycles.  Brown’s research program will be predominantly theoretical/analytical with potential synergies in ongoing experimental work.  He has been called upon by federal agencies to assess long range efforts in sustainable nuclear fuel cycles and, hence, brings an important vision to the field of nuclear power.

Margaret Byron has joined the department as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering. She completed her doctoral degree at the University of California-Berkeley and joins Penn State from a post-doctoral position at the University of California-Irvine. Byron has expertise in particle-laden turbulent flows and is interested in ocean-borne particulates such as marine snow and microplastics.  Her work focuses on how the size, shape, and other physical properties of particles affect their relationship to the surrounding turbulent flow.  These factors have important impacts on particle transport, settling, aggregation, and preferential concentration, as well as turbulence modulation. She has also done extensive work in aquatic biomechanics, focusing on how animals navigate through complex underwater environments and the scale-dependence of their interactions with turbulence.

Robert Kunz has joined the department as a professor of mechanical engineering. He comes to the department after 19 years as a senior scientist at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory (ARL). His principal research interests and activities include computational fluid dynamics, multiphase flows, turbomachinery, nuclear reactor thermal-hydraulics, biomedical fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, and thermal management analysis. He has more than 30 years of experience in computational fluid dynamics development and modeling at ARL, Pratt and Whitney, General Motors and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from SUNY Buffalo, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Penn State. Kunz has taught classes in aerodynamics, aeropropulsion, advanced engineering mathematics and computational fluid dynamics.

Azaree Lintereur has joined the department as an assistant professor of nuclear engineering. She comes to Penn State from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah, where she was an assistant professor of nuclear engineering. Prior to that, she was a postdoctoral research associate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She received her Ph.D. in nuclear and radiological engineering from the University of Florida, where she also earned a master’s degree with an emphasis on medical physics. Her research interests include radiation detector development, nondestructive assay techniques, and 3He alternative technologies.

Jean-Michel Mongeau has joined the department as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering. He comes to Penn State from a post-doctoral position at UCLA. Mongeau earned a Ph.D. in Biophysics from UC Berkeley and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. Mongeau’s research interests include neuro-mechanics and control of locomotion in animals and machines. He studies the nervous system and biomechanics of running and flying insects to understand basic principles of locomotion and inspire the development of more agile terrestrial and aerial robots. He has taught neuro-mechanics to biologists and engineers at Berkeley’s Center for Interdisciplinary Bio-inspiration in Education and Research and has an interest in discovery-based education. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Army Research Lab.

Matt Rau has joined the department as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering. He comes to Penn State from a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow position at the Naval Research Laboratory. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton. He is a thermal-fluids expert who has extensive experience with a variety of advanced experimental techniques, including infrared thermography and tomographic particle image velocimetry. He has used these techniques to better understand turbulent dispersed multiphase flows.

Bladimir Ramos-Alvarado has joined the department as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering. He comes to Penn State from a postdoctoral appointment at Georgia Tech. He holds a Ph.D. and a masters degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech and a masters and a bachelors in mechanical engineering from the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. Ramos’ research interests are strongly focused on the modeling of transport processes at different length scales and multiphysics modeling. He has conducted research on numerical and experimental characterization of PEM fuel cells operation, water transport/management in PEM fuel cells, design and numerical analysis of active liquid cooling devices for electronics, thermal characterization of electronics, nanoscale analysis of thermal and momentum transport in solid-liquid interfaces and surface chemistry. He is the principal investigator of the Interfacial Phenomena Lab (IPHEL) at Penn State.

Robert Zboray has joined the department as an assistant professor of nuclear engineering. He comes to Penn State from a role as a senior research scientist and deputy lab head at the Laboratory for Thermalhydraulics of the Nuclear Energy and Safety Division of the Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland. He holds a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands and a masters degree in physics, majoring in nuclear engineering, from the Technical University of Budapest, Hungary.  His background includes experimental nuclear thermalhydraulics and instrumentation development with special focus on imaging and non-intrusive inspection methods for multi-phase flows and other industrial and engineering applications.

 

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Chris Hennessey

cjh46@psu.edu

Nick Brown

Nick Brown, above, and Rob Kunz, below, joined the MNE faculty in spring 2017.

Rob Kunz
 
 

About

The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519