By  Wende Whitman
Xinfeng Gao, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Xinfeng Gao, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Photo by Tom Cogill for UVA Engineering.

We are pleased to announce that the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a preeminent aerospace professional society, has selected professor Xinfeng Gao to be a member of the Class of 2024 AIAA Associate Fellows. Only one member of the Institute for every 150 members is selected as an associate fellow each year by the review committee.

“This recognition illustrates the impact of our outstanding faculty. Aerospace engineering at UVA continues on a great trajectory and professor Gao is a big part of that,” said Richard W. Kent, professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Pioneering Aerospace Advancements

Leading in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

Gao's path to becoming an AIAA Associate Fellow reflects her innovative work in the field of aerospace engineering. Her distinct contributions have not only earned her this recognition but have also pushed the boundaries of aerospace technology.

Revamping CFD + High Performance Computing + Data Analytics

At the core of Gao's pioneering work lies her transformative approach to computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Her innovative data-assimilated CFD modeling techniques have emerged as game-changing tools, significantly enhancing the predictability of intricate fluid dynamics in aerospace engineering applications.

A Catalyst for Innovation

Collaboration with industry giants like Boeing has been instrumental in advancing aerospace engineering, especially in the areas of engine-fan and nacelle systems. Gao's partnership with Boeing has been lauded for its exceptional modeling efforts and contributions to the aerospace sector.

Recognitions and Accolades

Gao's exceptional research endeavors have garnered substantial recognition and funding, underscoring the significance of her impact on the aerospace landscape:

  • Federal Funding Triumphs: Gao's research has recently secured an impressive $2.2 million in competitive federal funding from esteemed agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
  • NSF Mid-Career Award: Her contributions were further honored with the prestigious 2022 NSF Mid-Career Award. The Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships funds her work in “accelerating the development of breakthrough technologies and speeding solutions forward.”
  • Outstanding Achievement: In 2022, she was also bestowed with the Outstanding Achievement for Women in Aerospace award for her “success in transforming computational fluid dynamics with data assimilation to advance aerospace propulsion research while mentoring female students in aerospace.”

"I am grateful to my peers and the AIAA organization for recognizing my research in helping to advance aerospace studies,” Gao said.” I am now, more than ever, motivated and passionate about creating new paths — while collaborating with many talented colleagues at UVA — to contribute to aerospace research and education."

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