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Borazjani receives Fulbright to study self-organizing systems in Austria

A 3D simulation of four fish in a diamond arrangement illustrates how systems in nature often organize themselves into groups or patterns.

A 3D simulation of four fish in a diamond arrangement illustrates how systems in nature often organize themselves into groups or patterns. As part of his Fulbright award, Borazjani will investigate the optimal conditions for improving this behavior.


Published May 3, 2017 This content is archived.

headshot of Iman Borazjani.

Iman Borazjani

Iman Borazjani, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to teach and conduct research in Austria for the 2017-18 academic year.

Borazjani will carry out his research in the area of self-organizing systems in aquatic environments at the University of Klagenfurt, located in Austria’s southernmost province of Carinthia.

Many systems in nature are known to self-organize into groups or patterns. For example, fish swim in schools, fireflies flash light in synchronization and some types of bacteria and/or cancer cells are known to assemble into swarms.

Because the individual entities of these systems directly interact with one another and continuously react and adjust to changes in their local environment without any central coordination, they are viewed as being robust and adaptive.

“Our overall research objective is to identify the reasoning behind this self-adaptive behavior and to discover the conditions that enhance the performance of swimmers in aquatic environments,” Borazjani says. “These insights can then be used to illustrate and model processes in a wide variety of areas, including economics, psychology and technical systems, to name a few.”

Borazjani is one of more than 800 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research and/or provide expertise abroad for the 2017-18 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

“Iman is well-deserving of this prestigious award, which will undoubtedly allow him to further expand the impact he is having on the science of self-organizing systems across a number of important application areas, including collaborative locomotive systems and disease transport,” says Kemper Lewis, professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Borazjani says he is looking forward to building new professional relationships with his colleagues at the University of Klagenfurt and working together to learn new techniques, share information and publish research findings and new course materials.

Since joining the UB faculty in 2010, Borazjani has received an NSF CAREER Award in 2015 for his proposal on “Fluid-Structure Interaction (FSI) in Biological Flows” and two early-career awards in 2013 from the American Heart Association and the American Chemical Society.

He earned his PhD in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics from the University of Minnesota in 2008.