Members

Members

Professor Timothy S. Fisher

Professor Timothy S. Fisher

Principal Investigator

Timothy S. Fisher (PhD 1998, Cornell) was born in Aurora, IL USA. He joined UCLA’s Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering in 2017 after spending 15 years at Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering, and several years previously at Vanderbilt University. He is the founding Director of the Center for Integrated Thermal Management of Aerospace Vehicles, supported by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and leading industrial members: Boeing, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Rolls-Royce. He is an Adjunct Professor in the International Centre for Materials Science at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and he co-directs the Joint Centre on Nanomaterials for Clean Energy and Environmental Sensors. From 2009 to 2012, he served as a Research Scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s newly formed Thermal Sciences and Materials Branch of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. In 2013 he became the James G. Dwyer Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue, and in the same year he founded a start-up company to commercialize inventions from his laboratory. Prior to his graduate studies, he was employed from 1991 to 1993 as a design engineer in Motorola’s Automotive and Industrial Electronics Group. His research has included studies of nanoscale heat transfer, carbon nanomaterial synthesis, coupled electro-thermal effects in semiconductor and electron emission devices, energy conversion and storage materials and devices, microfluidic devices, biosensing, and related computational methods ranging from atomistic to continuum scales. (Google Scholar, Linkedin) [tsfisher@g.ucla.edu]

Bryce Boyer

Bryce Boyer

PhD Student

Bryce joined the group in Fall 2018 as a PhD student in Mechanical engineering. After completing his BS in 2016 at Kansas State University, he worked for two years in the flare combustion industry as a project engineer. His current research focuses on aerospace thermal protection systems, particularly ablation at hypersonic leading edges. Bryce’s other interests include spacecraft thermal management and mission design, propulsion systems, and high-temperature materials. In his free time, he enjoys learning languages, scuba diving, and watching Kansas City sports teams win championships. [brycejboyer@g.ucla.edu]

Indronil Ghosh

Indronil Ghosh

PhD Student

Indronil joined NTRG in Spring 2019 as a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering. He earned his BS in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he completed research on the optimization of Raman cooling of photonic crystals, under Prof. Gaurav Bahl. He has collaborated with The Aerospace Corporation to computationally model the heat transfer and fluid mechanics in ball bearings. Interning at The Aerospace Corporation, he developed thermal analyses and data processing tools for projects on orbital heating and laser heating. Now, at UCLA, he is modeling thermionic emission at the hypersonic leading edge. You can also find him helping his colleagues numerically model flash depressurization. Outside research, Indronil enjoys using AI/machine learning APIs to automate his home and learning new languages (currently Mandarin and Japanese). (Google ScholarLinkedInResearchGate) [ighosh@g.ucla.edu]

Min Jong Kil (co-webmaster)

Min Jong Kil (co-webmaster)

PhD Student

Min Jong Kil joined the NTRG in Fall 2021 as a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering. He received his MS in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA in 2021. He received his B.S. from Seoul National University of Science and Technology (SNUST) (under Prof. Jihwan An) and from Northumbria University in 2020, where he worked on atomic layer deposition, solid oxide fuel cells, and catalysts. He worked at Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI) (under Dr. Hyeongkeun Kim), on atomic layer deposition, EUV pellicle, and supercapacitors. In NTRG, he is working on solar-thermal graphite synthesis of the heat spreader and thermal interface materials for electronics cooling. Especially, he is working on thermally enhanced organic substrates for GaN power amplifiers for SRC project. Also, he is working on developing thermal properties measurements (thermal diffusivity and thermal interface resistance). (Google Scholar, LinkedIn, ResearchGate) [hjkz3514@g.ucla.edu]

Zachary Wong (co-webmaster)

Zachary Wong (co-webmaster)

PhD Student

Zachary joined NTRG in Fall 2019 as a UCLA undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering. He completed his MS and is currently pursuing a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His early work was part of the ARPA-E SHOTEAM project (under Dr. Ivan Catton and Dr. Timothy Fisher), and centered on computational fluid dynamics and performance optimization for high-temperature supercritical CO2 recuperators. Currently his research focus is on passive two-phase thermal control for spacecraft, mini-/micro-channel heat transfer, and data assimilation. Some of his other interests beyond research are running, cooking, and playing music. (LinkedIn) [zwong888@g.ucla.edu]

Naarendharan Meenakshi Sundaram

Naarendharan Meenakshi Sundaram

PhD Student

Naaren joined the NTRG team in Fall 2023 as a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering. He received his MS in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA in 2023. He finished his undergraduate at NIT, Trichy, India. His undergraduate research (under Prof. Suresh Sivan) involved the utilization of solid-liquid phase change material for energy storage applications. He did experiments and developed a working code along with a working application (GUI) in MATLAB for cold energy storage of water (without supercooling) in spherical balls filled inside a tank. After his undergraduate, he worked as a research assistant at IIT Roorkee, India (Under Prof. Ankit Bansal) in analyzing the effect of radiation heat transfer in nucleate boiling under microgravity conditions. He developed a solver in OpenFOAM and presented the results at the conference “International Symposium on Advances in Computational Heat Transfer” in Brazil.  As part of his master’s research, he worked on analyzing the effect of pool boiling curve of water under different gravities (Earth, Mars, and Moon). He introduced parallel programing constructs and made the code run faster by 25%. His current research focus involves utilizing two-phase cooling technologies for electronics cooling and data center cooling applications. He is conducting experimental and numerical research on flow flash boiling for the aforementioned applications. Some of his other interests involves playing Cricket and Table Tennis. (Linkedin) [msnaaren2330@ucla.edu]

Benjamin Heronimus

Benjamin Heronimus

PhD Student

Ben joined the NTRG in Fall 2022 as a PhD student in Aerospace Engineering. He received his bachelors in Astrophysics and Engineering Physics from the University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley he worked on applications of carbon nanotube based technologies with applications including electron beam lithography, COVID-19 detection, and E-field emission. Within NTRG, Ben works as a part of the Solar Processing Team. Here he focuses on discovering and highlighting the properties of the carbon based materials that are a product of the solar process. In the future, Ben hopes to determine the viability of altering the process for carbon dioxide while continuing to reap the benefits of the produced carbon materials. Outside of research, Ben appreciates going to the gym, reading science fiction, playing board games, and trying to catch up on Dungeons and Dragons shows. (Linkedin) [bheronimus@g.ucla.edu]

Hengrui Xu

Hengrui Xu

PhD Student

Hengrui Xu joined NTRG in Fall 2022 as a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering. He earned his Bachelors degree with honors in Energy and Power Engineering from Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2022. In NTRG, Hengrui is working on the project titled Direct Solar Conversion of Biogas to Hydrogen and Solid Carbon. Outside research, he likes swimming and playing badminton. (Linkedin) [hengruixu@g.ucla.edu]

Yanda Wang

Yanda Wang

PhD Student

Yanda Wang joined the NTRG in Fall 2023 as a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering. He received his B.S. in Energy and Power Engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in 2023, where he gained experience in molecular dynamic simulation and studied green hydrogen production technology from biomass based on machine learning. In NTRG, his research currently focuses on solar−thermal production of graphitic carbon and hydrogen via methane decomposition, including construction of thermochemical model and investigation on the molecule scale. In the spare time, he is a fan of Hegel and enjoys visiting all famous sites in the CA region. (Linkedin) [yandawang926@g.ucla.edu]

Brian Park

Brian Park

PhD Student

Brian Park received his BS degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2021. His master’s and bachelor’s research focused on semiconductor material processing and analysis. He joined NTRG in Winter 2024 as a PhD student in Chemical Engineering. He completed his Master of Science degree in 2024 and is currently pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering. Currently, he has been actively involved in a project where they utilize a solar simulator to generate graphite for further analysis and experimentation. Outside of research, he enjoys practicing jiu jitsu, swimming, and playing golf. (Linkedin) [dbpark2@g.ucla.edu]

Rafael Maldonado Comas

Rafael Maldonado Comas

Master Student

Rafael Maldonado Comas is from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He joined NTRG in Fall 2023 as a MS student in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Mass and Heat Transfer. He received his B.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in design from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2019. Prior to his graduate study, Rafael worked for Honeywell Aerospace as thermal analyst / project engineer for heat exchangers and as an R&D engineer for thermal management systems, the latter of which is on-going. Within NTRG, he is working on high-temperature supercritical CO2 heat exchanger optimization and testing. Rafael is passionate about energy systems, renewable and sustainable energy, heat exchangers, and heat transfer. In the future, he hopes to contribute to zero-carbon emission transportation and power via improvements to thermal management systems. Outside of research, Rafael likes playing basketball, watching sports, playing board games, traveling, and hanging out with friends and family. [rafamcpr9@g.ucla.edu]

Soyoung Jo

Soyoung Jo

Master Student

Soyoung Jo joined the NTRG in Fall 2023 as a master’s student in Mechanical Engineering. She received her bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Systems and Design Engineering (MSDE) department from Seoul National University of Science and Technology (SNUST) and from Northumbria University in 2021. Prior to her graduate study, Soyoung worked as a battery system engineer for EVs in the R&D department of Hyundai Motors. Within NTRG, Soyoung works as a part of the Solar Processing Team. Outside of research, she enjoys traveling, tennis, golf, and hanging out with family and friends. (Linkedin) [soyoungjo@g.ucla.edu]

Ben Yang

Ben Yang

Master Student

Ben joined the NTRG team in Winter 2024 as a MS student in Electrical Engineering. He received his bachelors in Electrical Engineering from UCLA. His undergraduate research (under Prof. Sam Emaminejad) centered on a magnetically actuated digital microfluidic platform for automated, accessible, and adaptable molecular diagnostics (“The Ferrobotic Platform”). Currently, he is exploring his research interests in semiconductor packaging, focusing on hybrid bonding and two-phase cooling technologies. Apart from academic life, he enjoys fish keeping, traveling, and golfing. (Linkedin) [byang164@ucla.edu]

Qusay AlMaawali

Qusay AlMaawali

Undergraduate Student

Qusay is a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at UCLA. He currently serves as the Structures lead for Supermileage where he works with composites, design, and manufacturing of efficient vehicles. Qusay led the project of manufacturing the new Supermileage vehicle monocoque using carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb. Qusay also serves as the Bruin Racing treasurer where he handles finances of over 200 students. In the future, Qusay wants to work in the automotive industry where he hopes to work in sustainable transportation. In his free time, Qusay enjoys hiking, traveling, and ice skating.  (Linkedin)

Wilson Psotka

Wilson Psotka

Undergraduate Student

Wilson is currently a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at UCLA. As part of Rocket Project at UCLA he has contributed to the launch of three rockets as part of the recovery and internal structures teams by designing and manufacturing the load-bearing components. For summer 2023, he will be interning with 3DCeram in Berlin, where he hopes to learn how additive manufacturing with ceramics is being used in a variety of different industries. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he plans to pursue a PhD while researching heat-transfer and its related fields, namely electronic cooling and how it will be changing to meet the needs of faster computers. In his free time, he is a leader in the Ski and Snowboard club at UCLA where he organizes trips to give students the opportunity to ski in southern California. (Linkedin)

Jonathan Park

Jonathan Park

Undergraduate Student

Jonathan is a fourth-year mechanical engineering major, expected to graduate in Spring 2024. Previously a civil engineering major, he switched to mechanical engineering at the beginning of his second year. Prior to joining NTRG, he worked in Bruin Racing Formula as the aerodynamics team member, assisting in CFD optimization of the rear wing and manufacturing wing components of the car. Since the Fall of 2022, he has been part of the design team for UCLA Biomedical Engineering Society, working on designing and manufacturing hardware aspects of the stabilometric platform for orthopedic and neurological patients. After receiving a bachelor’s degree, he plans to pursue a master’s program focusing on research. Eventually, he would like to pursue a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. Apart from academic life, he likes to play and watch soccer, listen to music, and play the guitar and the piano. (Linkedin)

Bradley Jackson

Bradley Jackson

Undergraduate Student

Bradley is currently a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at UCLA. He is largely
interested in additive manufacturing as well as clean energy. Previously, he interned at Trimark
Associates in the production department. He also works as an Academic Student Employee for
the M20 Introduction to Computer Programming with MATLAB course. After he receives his
bachelor’s degree, he plans to pursue master’s. In his free time, he plays various intramural
sports and is a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. He also has a passion for computer
science and is taking courses to further develop his technological breadth. (Linkedin)

Alice Taylor

Alice Taylor

Undergraduate Student

Alice is a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering major. She is the Brakes Project Engineer for the Bruin Racing Baja team and the President of ECHO, a community service nonprofit at UCLA. Alice is interested in heat transfer and mathematical modeling of mechanical systems and hopes to gain industry experience after completing her undergraduate degree. Currently, Alice is working with the Solar Processing Team to consider the design and addition of a recuperator. In her free time, Alice enjoys swimming, hiking, and live music. (Linkedin)

Theodore Lau

Theodore Lau

Undergraduate Student

Theodore is a fourth-year computer science student. He is interested in large-scale data processing and applying machine learning in various data-rich research fields. In addition to NTRG, he is also working with other UCLA research groups — the Institute of Transportation Studies and the Machine Intelligence Lab — where he helps write software to process geospatial and census data, as well as develop and test deep neural network models. (Linkedin)

Luke Woodhouse

Luke Woodhouse

Undergraduate Student

Luke is currently a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at UCLA. His primary focus as a part of the Solar Processing team at NTRG has involved a radiation-energy analysis of the solar concentrator. He is particularly interested in the disciplines of fluid dynamics and heat transfer, and after graduation hopes to pursue further research in clean energy, starting with an internship with the National Renewable Energy Lab this summer. Before joining NTRG, Luke was a part of Bruin Underwater Robotics as well as an officer for Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society at UCLA. Besides academics, Luke is a part of the UCLA Climbing team and is passionate about camping and spending time outdoors. (Linkedin)

Melanie Zarate

Melanie Zarate

Undergraduate Student

Melanie is a second-year transfer student studying aerospace engineering. She joined the NTRG group this Fall 2023 and will be focusing on hypersonic leading edges. Outside of her research group, she is also Co- External Vice President of UCLA’s American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) chapter. Prior to joining NTRG she had previously interned within the Navy, NASA, and Boeing industries: completing five internships before her senior year. Upon graduating this year, she will be returning to The Boeing Company as a satellite manufacturing and production engineer. After working a year in industry Melanie plans on returning for graduate school part-time and hopes to complete her PhD in the future. In her free time, she enjoys attending music festivals and concerts and spending time with her pets. (Linkedin)

Sean Maguire

Sean Maguire

Undergraduate Student

Sean Maguire is a third year mechanical engineering major at UCLA. His current work as a member of the FlashPoint Cooling team at NTRG focuses on modeling and simulating transient two-phase cooling for electronic applications. Additionally, Sean is a member of Bruin Racing Baja at UCLA working within the ECVT subteam to design and manufacture the team’s transmission system for the Baja SAE competition. Outside of Academics Sean enjoys playing guitar, intramural soccer, and snowboarding.

Stetson Schott

Stetson Schott

Undergraduate Student

Stetson joined NTRG in Winter 2023 as a junior in Mechanical Engineering with a double major in mathematics. Previously he taught the E96 class on GoKarts at UCLA’s Engineering Design Summer Institute to high school students. He is also an active participant in Bruin Supermileage, Solar Decathlon and Aquaponics. In his free time he enjoys cooking, exploring LA on his bike, and watching movies. (Linkedin)

Zeeshan Zaidi

Zeeshan Zaidi

Undergraduate Student

Zeeshan is a third-year computer science major at UCLA. Currently, his work focuses on
simulating the characteristics of Oscillating Heat Pipes and analyzing both computer-generated
and experimental data. Outside of NTRG, he is also a member of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, UCLA’s
computer science honor society. In the future, Zeeshan hopes to get involved in emerging
projects involving artificial intelligence and machine learning. He also aims to obtain more
experience in this area by pursuing a master’s degree. Outside of academics, Zeeshan is an avid
basketball enthusiast, but also enjoys soccer, tennis, and traveling with family and friends. (Linkedin)

Snigdha Prakash

Snigdha Prakash

Undergraduate Student

Snigdha Prakash is a third -year undergraduate in mechanical engineering from Simi Valley, CA. She joined the solar processing team in Winter 2024, where she is assisting in the translation of the solar methane decomposition technology from the lab to the field. Prior to joining the NTRG, she interned at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Flight Systems Engineer for the GRACE-C mission and was an undergraduate researcher at the UCR bMech lab, where she studied pulmonary biomechanics. She hopes to work in industry in the future in the fields of energy and materials engineering. Snigdha is also a passionate student of Indian Classical music which she has been learning for the last 11 years and in her free time enjoys running, hiking, and learning new languages. (Linkedin) [sprak011@g.ucla.edu]

Joanne Junaedi

Joanne Junaedi

Undergraduate Student

Joanne is currently a second year mechanical engineering student from Connecticut. At UCLA, she is involved in the hydrogen team in Bruin Supermileage, working on designing and manufacturing a hydrogen fuel cell for a hydrogen powered car. She is also involved on X1’s surgical robotic team, where she is helping manufacture parts as well as assembly. In NTRG, she is currently in the solar processing team. In her free time, Joanne enjoys crocheting, thrifting, being in nature, and exploring everything LA has to offer. (Linkedin) [jjunaedi10@g.ucla.edu]

Ryan Teoh

Ryan Teoh

Undergraduate Student

Ryan is an undergraduate researcher (BS in Aerospace Engineering) at NTRG within the Solar Processing team, working to develop, test and manufacture carbon fiber using a proprietary technique that harnesses solar energy. In the future, he hopes to get involved in big projects currently underway in both the space and aviation industries, whether it be commercial hypersonic aircraft, Starlink, or NASA’s Artemis project. He sees the  aerospace industry as one of the leading innovators shaping our world today, and cannot wait to be a part of that change, in any way possible. Outside of research, he enjoys mountain biking, hiking, playing soccer, tennis and basically any outdoors activities that one can imagine.  (Linkedin)

Danny Super Chmaytelli

Danny Super Chmaytelli

Undergraduate Student

Danny is a first-year aerospace engineering major attending UCLA on a full-ride Regents Scholarship. His early work within the NTRG was the ARPA-E SHOTEAM project, where he helped conduct experiments on sCO2 heat exchangers. Currently, he focuses on the use of strain gauges to characterize the internal dynamics and performance of oscillating heat pipes. Outside of the NTRG, Danny has interned at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and runs a rapid prototyping business. He is fortunate to have received a $40,000 Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship and a $50,000 SoCal Edison STEM Scholarship. In the future, Danny would be excited to work in the space industry and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity, with the hope of helping to colonize Mars! (Linkedin)

Robert Castillo

Robert Castillo

Undergraduate Student

Robert is a first-year mechanical engineering undergraduate from Bakersfield, California. His current involvement within NTRG consists of working alongside the solar methane decomposition team to create a video outlining their cutting-edge research. Robert is also a member of the Center of Excellence in Engineering and Diversity, CalTeach program, and a member of the structural team on X1’s newest project, the surgical robotic technician. For leisure, he likes to indulge in photography, knitting, and playing music with a wide variety of instruments; currently, he is a member of the Latine Film and Theatre Association as well as an alto clarinetist within the Game Music Ensemble. Robert hopes to one day work within the nuclear energy sphere to further fusion technology and bring the world to a greener future. (Linkedin)

Sergio Bryan Curiel

Sergio Bryan Curiel

Undergraduate Student

Sergio is a first-year chemical engineering major from Downey. He first began working with NTRG through the CEED program. His current work in NTRG focuses on conducting thermal simulations on a solar methane decomposer to gain insights on the machine’s reliability in desert conditions. Sergio is also a dedicated AIChE member and participates in their ChIP(building a coffee machine) and LEAP (designing virtual chemical production plants) technical projects as well as their Outreach events. Outside of academics, Sergio enjoys trumpet playing and woodworking. (Linkedin) [CurielSergioSB@gmail.com]

Gabriel Centeno

Gabriel Centeno

Undergraduate Student

My name is Gabriel Centeno, I’m a first-year mechanical engineer and I’m working under Zachary Wong’s supervision to research OHP (oscillating Heat Pipes) and their construction, as well as applications. Currently, we’re working on designing a cooling mechanism for an infrared camera that will observe the heat distribution of an OHP in a vacuum. Some of my interests include thermodynamics, manufacturing, and automotive engineering. Outside of the lab, I love to play volleyball and ping pong, read science fiction books, and consider myself a cinephile as well as a music lover. (Linkedin) [gabrielcenteno@g.ucla.edu]

Adrian Marquez

Adrian Marquez

Undergraduate Student

My name is Adrian Marquez, I am a first-year mechanical engineering major from Pomona, California. I began my involvement with NTRG through the Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED) program. Currently, I am working on the instrument enclosure for a field reactor. I’m half Mexican half Salvadaoran and a big family person. During my free time, I like working on cars, mini projects, playing with my two dogs, and generally keeping myself busy. At UCLA I am a part of the CEED program, the Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers organization, and the Fabrication and Design Essentials program. In the future, I plan to earn my masters and PhD, although I’m not sure in what yet. From there I hope to go into the space, aerospace, or automotive industry. [adrian2005@g.ucla.edu]