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Faculty Research Interests

For a more detailed description of each faculty members work, please click on their name or photo.


Dr. Reza Abedi

Ryan Bond

Our research interests are in general areas of applied mathematics, computational mechanics, and fracture modeling. The development of advanced numerical schemes, such as spacetime discontinuous Galerkin finite element methods, and the investigation of their convergence, efficiency, scalability, and robustness are some themes of our research. These methods are capable of obtaining extraordinarily efficient and accurate solutions for a wide array of multiphysics applications in solid, fluid, and thermal mechanics, electromagnetics, and acoustics, particularly for highly multiscale and parallel simulations and problems with nonsmooth features such as shocks and singular features.  Dr. Abedi's personal website


Dr. Ryan Bond

Ryan Bond

Dr. Bondís primary research area is the development of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) capabilities for hypersonic flows. Subtopics include high temperature gas dynamics & thermochemistry, numerical methods for compressible flows, and wall-bounded turbulence. He works primarily with the Department of Defense (DoD) High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) Computational Research and Engineering Acquisition Tools & Environments (CREATE) program. This work involves implementing advanced computational simulation capabilities into a production engineering analysis software suite. Dr. Bond also provides computational expertise to the HORIZON group at UTSI.


Dr. Ying-Ling Chen

Ying-Ling Chen 

Current research activities include Laser spectroscopy applications: Laser-induced initiation, CFDRC rocket health diagnostics and Visual science applications: Computational evaluation of ocular screening algorithm, Cornea (dry eye, cornea scars, keratoconus) and lens (cataract) screening instrumentation, Pediatric vision screening instrumentation, Ophthalmic measurement simulation for medical training, and Race-, age-, and gender-specified eye modeling.


Dr. Christopher Combs

Christopher Combs 

Dr. Combsí primary area of research interest is in the development of optical and laser-based diagnostic techniques with applications to compressible flows. He has experience employing diagnostics such as particle image velocimetry, planar laser-induced fluorescence, planar laser scattering, and Schlieren imaging in investigations of high-speed (supersonic and hypersonic), compressible, turbulent, and reacting flows. Specific aerodynamic problems of interest include shock wave/boundary layer interactions, ablation, scalar transport, turbulent boundary layer structure, and air-breathing propulsion.


Dr. Horace Crater

Horace Crater 

Dr. Crater’s work is in the area of theoretical physics, mainly relativistic quantum and classical mechanics, classical and quantum field theory; Two-Body Dirac equations with applications to the quark models for mesons, the electron-positron system, nucleon-nucleon scattering, meson decay, meson-meson scattering, the quark-gluon plasma; Dirac’s Hamiltonian Constraint Dynamics with applications to the N-body problem in electrodynamics; the problem of the relativistic center of mass and its applications to orbits.


Dr. Lloyd Davis

Lloyd Davis 

Interest lie in three areas of physics - Experimental : non-linear optics, quantum optics, ultrafast laser phenomena, femtosecond spectroscopy, applied optics, optical design, single-photon detectors and electronics, laser-material and laser-plasma interactions; Interdisciplinary : single-molecule detection and spectroscopy, biophotonics, biophysics, chemical physics, biotechnology, nanotechnology, genomic technology, advanced microscopy; and Numerical : Monte Carlo simulations, cluster computing; Theoretical physics: fundamental quantum theory


Dr. Jacqueline Johnson

Dr. Jacqueline Johnson

Jacqueline Johnson studies the structure and properties of glasses, glass-ceramics, and diamond-like carbon films. She is currently working on an NIH project to develop a new mammography system (incorporating a glass-ceramic plate) in collaboration with scientists from Germany and SUNY, Stony Brook. A small company, Materials Research Development Inc., is responsible for scale-up of the plate.


Dr. Trevor Moellor

Trevor Moellor 

Dr. Moeller has broad interests in plasma physics and electromagnetics. Areas of interest include:
modeling and testing of electric propulsion devices, electromagnetic acceleration, plasma diagnostics, generation of nonthermal plasmas for chemical processing and surface treatment, utilization of plasmas for hydrogen production and materials processing


Dr. Christian Parigger

Chris Parigger 

Dr. Parigger has research interests in experimental and theoretical physics, particularly in electromagnetic interactions, quantum optics, atomic and molecular physics. He has experience in argon-ion and narrow-line dye lasers, high vacuum physics, digital electronics, sub-picosecond laser systems, optical pico-second amplifiers, nano-second pulsed eximer and dye lasers. His research includes time-resolved spectroscopy; high power phenomena; laser induced plasma physics; and spectroscopic temperature measurements using atomic lines and molecular spectra.


Dr. L. Montgomery (Monty) Smith

Monty Smith 

Dr. Smith works in a variety of fields involving the use of electrical engineering in multidisciplinary research.  Research interests include electro-optics, image processing, digital signal processing, and statistical data analysis.  His recent research has involved interferometric investigation of plasma sources, analysis of signals from strain gauges, and the application of communication theory principles to engine test telemetry.


Dr. Peter Solies

Peter Solies 

Advancement of Aero-Space vehicle technology, design optimization, applied aerodynamics, powered lift, stability and control, composite structures, and human factors engineering.


Dr. Ahmad Vakili

Ahmad Vakili 

Dr. Vakili's areas of interest include: basic flow control, industrial flows, flow control applied to mixing and combustion control. He has over 25 years of experience in theoretical, computational and applied research in the aerospace and mechanical engineering related fields. He has developed a high speed carbon fiber spinning process for pitch based carbon fiber production and is interested in carbon fiber production process technologies and carbon based composite materials development.


Dr. Zhongren Yue

Dr. Zhongren Yue 

Dr. Zhongren Yue’s research interests include: Preparation, surface modification, and characterization of high-performance carbon fibers; Fabrication and characterization of fiber reinforced composites; Design and synthesis of high surface area, porous materials; and Advanced materials (adsorbents, ion exchangers, and membranes) for water and air purification.


Dr. Feng-Yuan Zhang

Dr. Feng-Yuan Zhang 

Dr. Zhang’s research interests lie in thermal-fluid sciences, nanotechnology, and advanced spectroscopies and diagnostics. The goal is to develop high-efficiency, low-cost and sustainable power and propulsion devices, such as fuel cells, electrolyzers, batteries, direct combustion engines, and electric thrusters. The research includes:  Micro-/nano-scale fluidics, transport, heat transfer and combustion; Novel multifunctional materials; MEMS/NEMS; Electrochemical energy storage and conversions; Alternative fuel; Laser, optical, x-ray and electron spectroscopies.


Research Contacts

Executive Director
Dr. Mark Whorton

Director of Contract Administration
Joyce Moore

Administrative Coordinator I
Diane Chellstorp

Append the following to the above name and Mail Stop if you are contacting us by mail :
Univ. of Tn. Space Institute
411 B.H. Goethert Parkway
Tullahoma, TN 37388