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ES 2024 > About > Organizing Committee

Organizing Committee


General Conference Chairs


Ben Xu, Ph.D.

Ben Xu, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Presidential Frontier Faculty Fellow
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Houston (UH)

Ben Xu is currently Assistant Professor, Presidential Frontier Faculty Fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Houston (UH). His research interests focus on multiphase flow and heat transfer in advanced energy systems, high temperature solar thermal storage, additive manufacturing of Nickel-based super alloys, and laser-assisted 3D bioprinting. Prior to joining UH, Dr. Xu worked as Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering in Mississippi State University (MSU) and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Drexel University. Dr. Xu has been PI, Co-PI and senior personnel at UH, MSU and UTRGV on multiple funded projects from US Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, and National Science Foundation.

 

Luke J. Venstrom, Ph.D.

Luke J. Venstrom, Ph.D.
Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering
Paul H. Brandt Professor of Engineering
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Valparaiso University

Dr. Luke Venstrom is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Paul H. Brandt Professor of Engineering at Valparaiso University where he co-directs the James S. Markiwiecz Solar Energy Research Facility, home to the only solar furnace at a primarily undergraduate engineering college. He is a graduate of Valparaiso University (B.S.M.E.) and the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities (M.S.M.E., Ph.D.). His research broadly encompasses the thermal fluid sciences, with a focus on renewable energy systems and, in particular, high-temperature solar thermal and electrothermal chemistry. He was the 2019-2020 Valparaiso University Research Professor and the 2021 recipient of the Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Work for his integration of undergraduate students into cutting-edge, high-temperature concentrated solar energy research.

 


Technical Program Chairs


Pei-Dong, Ph.D.

Pei-Dong, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
George Mason University

Pei-Dong, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering George Mason University Pei Dong is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at George Mason University. She obtained her B.S. in Microelectronics from Nankai University and her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University. She then did her postdoctoral research in the Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering at Rice University before joining George Mason University. She was the recipient of the Franz and Frances Brotzen Fellowship Award and the Best Thesis Award. Her current research interests include advanced materials design, in-situ characterization and their applications in energy, water, and biomedical areas.

 

Rohini Bala Chandran, Ph.D.

Rohini Bala Chandran, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
University of Michigan

Dr. Rohini Bala Chandran is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan since January 2018. Previously, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and obtained an M.S. (2010) and Ph.D. (2015) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in Mechanical Engineering. At Michigan, Prof. Bala Chandran leads the Transport and Reaction Engineering for Sustainable Energy Lab (TREE Lab) to pursue multidisciplinary research in the areas of thermal, fluids and chemical sciences. Dr. Bala Chandran is a recipient of the Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award in Heat Transfer (2023), NSF-CAREER award (2022), Doctoral New Investigator award from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (2021), and one of 100 selected attendees at the US Frontiers of Engineering meeting organized by the National Academy of Engineering (2020).

 


Technical Program Co-Chairs


Like Li, Ph.D.

Like Li, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
University of Central Florida

Dr. Like Li is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Central Florida. He was an Associate Professor and Assistant Professor at Mississippi State University (2017-2023). He leads the Thermal Energy Storage and Decarbonization (TESD) Lab focusing on advanced energy storage technologies research, development and demonstration (R&DD) to contribute to the transition to a clean and decarbonized energy future. His group has received funding from federal agencies and industries including the NSF, DOE Solar Energy Technologies Office, NASA, Army Research Laboratory, and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The current research in his group focuses on gas-solid reactions and thermal/chemical transport in materials and reactors, and thermochemical reactors design, development, and demonstration for solar and other renewable energy storage and utilization.

 

Hailei Wang, Ph.D.

Hailei Wang, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Utah State University

Dr. Hailei Wang is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at Utah State University and the Director of the Energy Technology Research & Innovation (eTRI) Lab. He has broad research expertise in heat transfer and advanced energy system modeling. His work has been funded by various agencies including the NRC, DOD, and various DOE offices such as Office of Nuclear Energy, Solar Energy Technology Office, ARPA-E, Building Technology Office and Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Program. His energy system research and thermal modeling work had also been supported by various corporations including Cummins, Medtronic, Thermo Fisher and NuScale Power. He has published over 60 journal and conference papers, and holds three granted patents and multiple patent applications.