Leadership and Members

Center Director

  • Paul DesJardin.
    Paul DesJardin, PhD
    PhD, Purdue University

    336 Jarvis Hall

    Phone: (716) 645-1467

    ped3@buffalo.edu

    Professor
    Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
    School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
    Director
    Center for Hybrid Rocket Exascale Simulation Technology (CHREST)
    Director
    Combustion and Energy Transport Laboratory (CET)

    Research Interests: Multiphase reacting flows; propulsion; fire and combustion; computational fluid dynamics; fluid- structure simulation

Co-Principal Investigators

  • Varun Chandola.
    Varun Chandola, PhD
    PhD, University of Minnesota

    213 Capen Hall

    Phone: (716) 645-4747

    chandola@buffalo.edu

    Associate Professor
    Department of Computer Science and Engineering
    School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

    Research Topics: Big data analytics; anomaly detection

  • James Chen.
    James Chen, PhD
    PhD, The George Washington University

    325 Jarvis Hall

    Phone: (716) 645-3162

    chenjm@buffalo.edu

    Associate Professor
    Director of Undergraduate Studies, Aerospace Engineering
    Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
    School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

    Research Interests: Fundamental theories and numerical simulation for different physical problems across multiple spatial and temporal scale; turbulence; triboelectricity; atomistic simulation; continuum mechanics; applied mathematics; multiscale simulation

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    Matthew D. Jones, PhD
    PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    UB Center for Computational Research

    701 Ellicott Street

    Phone: (716) 881-8958

    jonesm@buffalo.edu

    Interim Director and Lead Computational Scientist
    UB Center for Computational Research

    Research Topics: Quantum Monte Carlo Methods & Applications; Simulation of Complex Materials, using density functional theory and tight-binding methods; Large Scale Computational Science & High-Performance Computing

    UB Center for Computational Research

    701 Ellicott Street

    Phone: (716) 881-8958

    jonesm@buffalo.edu

  • Matthew Knepley.
    Matthew Knepley, PhD
    PhD, Purdue University

    211A Capen Hall

    Phone: (716) 645-0747

    knepley@buffalo.edu

    Associate Professor
    Department of Computer Science and Engineering
    School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
    Affiliated Faculty
    Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
    School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

    Research Topics: Scalable linear and nonlinear solvers for multiphysics problems; bioelectrostatics and molecular modeling for ion channels; geophysical modeling in crustal deformation, mantle convection, and magma dynamics; scientific library development and automated scientific computing; libraries and code generation for high performance computing; efficient solvers and preconditioners for GPUs and accelerators; finite element and boundary element discretizations for nonlinear problems; classical density functional theory, theory and numerics

  • Abani Patra.
    Abani Patra, PhD
    PhD, University of Texas at Austin

    Robinson Hall, Room 258

    200 College Avenue

    Phone: (617) 627-3718

    abani.patra@tufts.edu

    Stern Family Professor, Computer Science
    Director, Data Intensive Studies Center (DISC)
    Professor, Mathematics
    Tufts School of Engineering

    Research Topics: computational sciences, data driven modeling

    Robinson Hall, Room 258

    200 College Avenue

    Phone: (617) 627-3718

    abani.patra@tufts.edu

  • David Salac.
    David Salac, PhD
    PhD, University of Michigan

    326 Jarvis Hall

    Phone: (716) 645-1460

    davidsal@buffalo.edu

    Director of Graduate Studies
    Associate Professor
    Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
    School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

    Research Interests: Computational fluid dynamics; material systems with moving interfaces; numerical methods; directed self-assembly; high performance computing

  • Mark Swihart.
    Mark T. Swihart, PhD
    PhD, University of Minnesota, 1997

    306 Furnas Hall

    Phone: (716) 645-1181

    swihart@buffalo.edu

    UB Distinguished Professor and Department Chair
    Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
    School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
    Empire Innovation Professor
    Research and Education in Energy, Environment and Water (RENEW)

    Research Topics: Synthesis and application of nanoparticles; Detailed chemical kinetic modeling in reacting flows

Professors of Research

  • Danial Faghihi.
    Danial Faghihi, PhD
    PhD, Louisiana State University

    607 Furnas Hall

    Phone: (716) 645-1450

    danialfa@buffalo.edu

    Assistant Professor
    Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
    School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

    Research Interests: Multiscale (discrete-to-continuum) modeling; computational nonlocal continuum mechanics; data-driven predictive modeling; model validation and uncertainty quantification; advanced manufacturing; tumor growth and treatment

Director of Diversity

Software Framework Architect

Matt.
Matthew McGurn

Dr. McGurn has focused his career upon the development of complex simulation frameworks and required interfaces to allow these powerful tools to be used by a wide variety of people. Holding his PhD in Mechanical Engineering (2013) from the University at Buffalo, he is well versed in the mathematics, physics, and software programming methods associated with CFD and FE based formulations. He is experienced in developing models using a wide variety of frameworks and languages including full web stack, modern software methods, and developing new computational methods/tools.

mtmcgurn@buffalo.edu

Postdoctoral Researcher

Georgios.
Georgios Georgalis

Georgios is a Data Scientist at Tufts University. As part of CHREST, he is primarily focusing on introducing uncertainty quantification to machine learning and building surrogate models for large scale simulations. Georgios earned his PhD from the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. He has a Master's degree from Purdue University and an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). His doctoral research included the development of a crowd-based prototype to predict future project failures using machine learning and human analytics, he also investigated whether targeted feedback helps in preventing such failures. He has previously worked with jet engines, rocket propulsion systems, and on an experiment that flew on Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket to space.

Research focus: AI methodology and fundamentals of rocket propulsion.

Georgios.Georgalis@tufts.edu

Students

Siddhant.
Siddhant Aphale

Siddhant is a final year Ph.D. candidate in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department working under the advisement of Dr. Paul DesJardin. He received his Master's in Mechanical Engineering from UB in 2018.

Research focus: Development of non-intrusive flame to fuel surface radiative heat flux using two-color pyrometry (TCP). Application of soot formation models in flamelet-generated manifolds (FGM) to develop TCPFGM based non-intrusive radiative heat flux.

saphale@buffalo.edu

Venus.
Venus Amiri

Venus is a 2nd year PhD student in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department under the advisement of Dr. Mark Swihart. Venus received a Master’s of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from UB in 2018. She holds a Bachelor’s of Engineering (Hons.) in Electronics majoring in Nanotechnology from Multimedia University. During her undergraduate studies, she worked on electrochemical properties of carbon nanotubes and graphene oxide. After joining UB, Venus began her research in the field of computational fluid dynamics with the main focus on numerical modeling of droplet-based microfluidics.

Research focus: Detailed chemical kinetic modeling of paraffin-oxygen combustion. Characterization of uncertainty in state-of-the-art soot models with generation of comprehensive reaction mechanisms for paraffin hydrocarbon waxes.

venoosam@buffalo.edu

Kenneth.
Kenneth Budzinski

Kenny is a 2nd Year PhD candidate in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department under the advisement of Dr. Paul DesJardin. Kenny received his masters in Aerospace Engineering at UB in 2019 and his Bachelors in Physics in 2017.

Research Focus: Extending current Boundary Layer combustion theory to couple in detailed radiation models that can simulate the burning regimes inside a hybrid rocket engine. Application of the developed model as a near-wall LES model which will be validated using small/large - scale experiments.

klbudzin@buffalo.edu

Darsh.
Darsh Nathawani

Darsh is a 2nd year PhD student in Computational and Data Enabled Science and Engineering under the advisement of Dr. Matthew Knepley. Darsh received a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Gujarat Technological University, India in 2017 and received a Master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from UB in 2019. During his Master’s thesis, Darsh conducted a research in the design exploration of solar updraft towers.

Research focus: Develop scalable simulations of the low Mach flow using PETSc. Mathematical modeling and simulations of the droplet formation under various external forcing, like gravity, shear force, etc.

darshkir@buffalo.edu

Mae.
Mae Sementilli

Mae is a 1st year PhD student and a native of Western New York, currently pursuing her Doctorate in mechanical engineering with a concentration in computational and applied mechanics under advisor Dr. James Chen. Mae earned a Master's of Science degree in aerospace engineering at UB in 2019, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with Bachelor's of Science degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from UB in 2017.  During her undergraduate studies, Mae conducted research in bio-inspired fluid mechanics and now focuses on the interfacial instability and droplet formation.

Research focus: Develop simulations of all thermal, mechanical, and dynamic aspects of the hybrid rocket engine fuel burn. Model small-scale experiments in collaboration with the experimental team.

maesemen@buffalo.edu

Dwyer.
Dwyer Deighan

Dwyer is a 1st year PhD student in the CDSE/CSE PhD program with a Master's in Data Science. Dwyer has been programming independently since he was 15. His interests and personal projects have been very broad ranging from computer graphics/OCR, cyber security, networking, and AI. When he entered college he decided to specialize in AI and Data Science, while also deepening his understanding of advanced mathematics. He has since worked as a data science intern at Brown University and on a physics/AI project funded jointly by NASA and MIT as an undergraduate. Now he has graduated with Suma Cum Laude honors for his Master's and has recently wrote another publication which is under review.

dwyerdei@buffalo.edu

Mengyuan.
Mengyuan Sun

Mengyuan is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Mechanical and Aerospace engineering department under the advisement of Dr. James Chen. Mengyuan received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics with Summa Cum Laude from UB in 2021. During his undergraduate studies, he conducted research in both morphing blade development/simulations for wind turbines and data science analysis via multi-layer network models. 

Research focus: Developing computational fluid mechanics models for interfacial instability and droplet formation under turbulent conditions.

msun23@buffalo.edu

Amol Salunkhe.
Amol Salunkhe

Amol is currently pursuing his PhD in Computer Science/Computational Data Science Engineering. Amol holds a Master's in Operations Research from the University at Buffalo and has 18 years of work experience as a computer scientist/data scientist. His primary advisors are Dr. Varun Chandola and Dr. Paul Desjardin.

Research focus: Develop reduced order models using Physics Inspired Manifold Learning and Deep Generative Models  for reduced order modeling.

aas22@buffalo.edu

Gabriel.
Gabriel Surina III

Gabriel is a 2nd year Master's student in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department under the advisement of Dr. Paul DesJardin. Gabriel received his Bachelor's in mechanical and aerospace engineering from UB in 2019 and plans to continue at UB for his PhD in aerospace engineering. During his undergraduate studies, Gabriel was the lead for the UB rocketry team which participates in the IREC: Spaceport America Cup.

Research focus: Develop experiments that allow the simulations and models to be validated by point and field measurements of the burning fuel. Develop and utilize various diagnostics to acquire qualitative and quantitative measurements. Some of the diagnostics include Schlieren, two-color pyrometry, thermocouples, heat flux gauges, thin skin calorimetry, high speed photography, chemiluminescence, and thermogravimetric analysis.

gsurina@buffalo.edu

Luis.
Luis Llanos

Luis is a 2nd year Master's student in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department under the advisement of Dr. Paul Desjardin. Luis received a Bachelor's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from UB in 2020. During his undergraduate studies, Luis was part of the UB rocketry team which participates in the IREC: Spaceport America Cup.

Research Focus: Investigating linear instability over paraffin wax in relation to the required mass flux necessary for effective regression rates.

luisllan@buffalo.edu

Jacob.
Jacob Henry

Jacob is a 2nd year Master’s student in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department under the advisement of Dr. Paul DesJardin. Jacob received his Bachelor’s in aerospace engineering with a minor in Mathematics from UB in 2020. During his undergraduate studies, Jacob was the structures lead and team lead for the UB rocketry team which participates in the IREC: Spaceport America Cup.

Research focus: Develop bench-scale hybrid rocket motor for prototyping while working towards goal of a full-scale motor capable of launching a sounding rocket to 10,000 feet altitude. Collect qualitative and quantitative data to provide for model validation on varying motor sizes. 

jjhenry@buffalo.edu

Matthew.
Matthew Schulwitz

Matt is a first year Master’s student in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department under the advisement of Dr. James Chen. Matt received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Mathematics from the University at Buffalo in May of 2018.

Research focus: Simulation development for vortex excited instabilities at gas-liquid interfaces in turbulent combusting flows. Collaboration with experimental hybrid rocket fuel team for validation through small-scale model comparison. Additionally, small-scale hypersonic experiments in rarefied plasma flows.

mschulwi@buffalo.edu

Kolos.
Kolos Retfalvi

Kolos is a senior undergraduate student in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department. Kolos’s expected graduation date is in May 2021 and he plans to continue his studies at UB for a Master’s degree in aerospace engineering. As an undergraduate junior and senior, Kolos has been one of the leaders for UB’s AIAA student chapter and one of the team leaders for AIAA’s Design Build Fly competition.

Research focus: Develop a particle tracking mechanism to describe the motion of the wax particle after atomization. Develop an instability model for thin liquid layers for different blowing rates and high Reynolds numbers for paraffin wax. Develop atomization experiments for liquid paraffin wax to validate the instability model with field measurements.

kolosret@buffalo.edu

Nick.
Nicholas Mcnally

Nick is a senior undergraduate student pursuing a double major in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. He is the current chief engineer for the UBSEDS rocketry team, which competes in IREC at the Spaceport America Cup.

Research focus: Designing test rigs for retaining motors and data collection. Design and manufacting of bench scale and full scale hybrid motors for simulation validation. 

namcnall@buffalo.edu

Sophia.
Sophia Matla

Sophia is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department under the advisement of Dr. Paul DesJardin. Sophia is currently the propulsion lead for the UBSEDS rocketry team, competing annually in the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) at the Spaceport America Cup. 

Research Focus: Iteratively developing and manufacturing hybrid rocket motors to obtain an understanding of internal combustion through mathematical models. Design and testing of a bench-scale hybrid rocket motor with the goal of a full size, flight-ready propulsion system.

slmatla@buffalo.edu