Rolls-Royce University Technology Center Dedicated Faculty

Meet the faculty who conduct research and teach with direct support from the Rolls-Royce University Technology Center on Advanced Materials Systems

Led by Elizabeth J. Opila, professor of materials science and engineering and mechanical and aerospace engineering, the Rolls-Royce University Technology Center on Advanced Materials Systems supports six additional faculty, two post-doctoral research scientists and 15 Ph.D. students who represent a cross-section of departments with the School of Engineering.

Rolls-Royce UTC Faculty Profiles

  • Elizabeth J. Opila

    Professor and Director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Center at UVA Engineering

    Elizabeth Opila is a Professor with joint appointments in Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Her current research focus includes understanding thermodynamic and kinetic mechanisms for material degradation in extreme environments, development of life prediction methodology based on understanding of fundamental chemical reaction mechanisms, and materials development for protection of materials from extreme environments.

    Professor Opila's Faculty Page
  • Joshua J. Choi

    Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering

    Professor Choi's research group is focused on studying metal-organic perovskites and colloidal quantum dots - both material systems exhibit intriguing properties tunable by design while looking set to revolutionize the field of solution processed optoelectronic devices. Newly obtained insights are applied to fabrication and testing of prototype devices to demonstrate improved performance. Particularly, efforts will be focused on solution processing based device fabrication methods to simultaneously achieve a low-cost and high performance required for wide spread commercial deployment.

    Professor Choi's Faculty Page
  • Haibo Dong

    Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

    Professor Dong leads the Flow Simulation Research Group (FSRG), with a fundamental interest in understanding the physics of complex flows of flying and swimming in nature by combining state-of-the-art computational methods, experimental tools, and theoretical fluid dynamics research. Research is driven by the quests to answer questions both from fundamental fluid dynamics problems and from practical applications. Current research in our group involves in biological fluid dynamics, insect flights, fish swimming, modeling and design of bio-inspired robots such as Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), fluid-structure interaction, reduce order modeling, Cartesian grid methods, high-performance computing, high-speed photogrammetry, direct injection and simulation of small engines, bio-medical applications.

    Professor Dong's Faculty Page
  • Patrick E. Hopkins

    Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

    Professor Hopkins leads the ExSite group, with interests in energy transport, charge flow, and photonic interactions with condensed matter, soft materials, liquids, vapors and their interfaces.  We use various optical thermometry-based experiments to measure the thermal conductivity, thermal boundary conductance, thermal accommodation, strain propagation and sound speed, and electron, phonon, and vibrational scattering mechanisms in a wide array of bulk materials and nanosystems.

    Professor Hopkins' Faculty Page
  • Gary Koenig

    Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering

    Energy storage is a major challenge for a variety of applications. Batteries with higher energy density, better safety, and lower cost will be needed to continue the deployment of vehicles in the transportation sector that rely on electrical energy to drive their motors. In addition, energy storage is needed to provide energy for intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar when weather conditions limit energy generation. Improving battery performance will require new innovations in battery materials, chemistries, and architectures. Professor Koenig's research investigates the design of new materials and materials chemistries.

    Professor Koenig's Faculty Page
  • Xiaodong (Chris) Li

    Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

    Professor Li’s expertise and interests include (but not limited to) additive manufacturing, smart manufacturing, nanomaterial-enabled energy systems, biological and bio-inspired materials and devices, biomechanics, micro/nanomechanics, surface engineering, and tribology.

    Professor Li's Faculty Page
  • Eric Loth

    Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor and Chair, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

    Professor Loth leads the Fluids Research & Innovation Laboratory, with projects focusing on unsteady fluid dynamics including micro- and nano-texturing coatings for self-cleaning, fluid dynamics and heat transfer of energy-storage systems, inlet aerodynamics of supersonic aircraft and inlet particle separators of helicopters, as well as bio-inspired morphing wind turbines to reduce off-shore cost of energy.

    Professor Loth's Faculty Page