Experienced US faculty mentors, from Mechanical Engineering (Drs. Zhang and Tao), Art and Biology (Dr. Gruber), Applied Mathematics (Dr. Zhao), and Polymer Science (Dr. King), bring a wide range of research expertise and perspectives. Both Drs. Zhang and Gruber have extensive international experience and active partnerships with top labs in Germany, Switzerland and UK. All US faculty mentors have supervised a significant number of undergraduate and graduate students.
Dr. Wei Zhang focuses on researching novel bio-inspired technologies to address the grand challenges in energy efficiency and wind resilience. Equally important, she is committed to helping STEM students succeed in bio-inspired research and their future profession. She has collaborated with the BBRC director Dr. Lee on bio-flow research and student mentoring for more than 10 years.
Dr. Petra Gruber conducts research at the intersection of architecture, art, and biology. Her research interests include biomimetic structures and materials, bio-inspired energy and sustainable design. She manages a biomimicry Fablab, supervised Ph.D. students, and works with undergraduate students in the tiered mentoring program.
Dr. Yongxin Tao's research experience covers thermal/fluids sciences, renewable energy, and energy efficiency in buildings. He has led an NSF RCN program on Sustainable Human-Building Ecosystems, mentored graduate/undergraduate students in international, collaborative research among engineering, architecture, computer science and social science disciplines.
Dr. Longhua Zhao focuses on interactions between fluid flows and structures with applications in biology, engineering and medicine. Specific applications include cilia, helical agella, microfluidic tweezers, and spider-dragline systems. She actively engages women undergraduate and graduate students in her research projects.
Dr. Hunter King investigates topics of thermal regulation, respiration in plants and termite mounds, and mechanics of bird nest-like structures. King has worked with six graduate students of various backgrounds and undergraduate students through the past and ongoing REU sites.
Dr. Debbie Jackson, an expert in STEM education and a faculty member from the Department of Teacher Education at CSU, will conduct a systematic project evaluation to continuously improve the quality. She is currently serving as Program Coordinator for Adolescent/Young Adult (AYA) and K-12 Foreign Language teacher licensure programs and teaches and supervises students in the AYA program for mathematics and science teachers. Dr. Jackson also is a co-principal investigator for several grants related to STEM education, teacher preparation, project-based instruction and computer science education.
Prof. Qian Li is an artist/designer working with video, painting, animation and interactive installation. She will create videos to showcase IRES students research experience, social and cultural activities at CSU/UA and South Korea.