People

Dr. Dan M. Ionel is Professor of Electrical Engineering, the L. Stanley Pigman Chair in Power, and the Director of the SPARK Laboratory and the PEIK Institute at University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. He previously worked in industry, most recently as Chief Engineer for Regal Beloit Corp., and, before that, as the Chief Scientist for Vestas Wind Turbines. Concurrently, Dr. Ionel was also a Visiting and Research Professor at University of Wisconsin and Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. He received the M.Eng. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University Politehnica of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania. His doctoral program included a Leverhulme Visiting Fellowship at University of Bath, England, United Kingdom. He was a Postdoctoral Researcher with the SPEED Laboratory, University of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom. He contributed to technological developments with long lasting industrial impact, including US’ most successful range of PM motor drives and the world’s most powerful wind turbine. His research has been supported by NSF, DOE, NIST, NASA, and directly by leading industrial companies. Dr. Ionel published more than two hundred papers, including five winners of IEEE Best Paper Awards, contributed to three books, and holds more than thirty patents, including a medal winner at the Geneva Invention Fair. He taught and advised student research on subjects of sustainable and renewable energy technologies, electric machines and power electronic drives, electromagnetic devices, electric power systems, smart grids and buildings. Dr. Ionel is an IEEE Fellow, was the inaugural Chair of the IEEE Industry Applications Society Renewable and Sustainable Energy Conversion Systems Committee, and Editor of IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Electric Power Components and Systems Journal, the Past Chair of the IEEE Power and Energy Society Electric Motor Subcommittee, the Technical Program Chair of IEEE ECCE 2015 Congress, and the General Chair of the IEEE 2017 IEMDC Conference Anniversary Edition.

 

Dr. Nicholas Jewell is an Adjunct Professor with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky, and a Senior Research Engineer in the Technology Research and Analysis Department of Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities (LG&E and KU).  At UK, Dr. Jewell advises graduate student research and teaches on topics of power system operations, renewable energy storage and electric vehicle grid integration. At LG&E and KU, his primary responsibility involves collaboration on research projects that contribute in theory, practice and application of new and emerging technologies, processes and equipment related to the energy industry and power markets.  Dr. Jewell received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville in 2014 and is a registered Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2018.  He has authored and co-authored a number of industry publications and has received several tech transfer awards from the Electric Power Research Institute. In 2018 he was named Top Innovator by Public Utilities Fortnightly, a national distinguished recognition for his innovative work on LG&E and KU's E.W. Brown Energy Storage Research and Demonstration site, which incorporates, next to a multi-MW PV farm, a utility-scale battery system with advanced monitoring and controls that served for the development of the ESIC Energy Storage Test Manual, coordinated by EPRI. Dr. Jewell is an IEEE Senior Member and serves on the Executive Committee of the Louisville IEEE Section.

 

Dr. Xin Zhang is currently a Visiting Professor in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. He received his Ph.D. degree from Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, in 2009. Since 2010, he has been with the School of Electrical Engineering and Automation, Tianjin Polytechnic University, Tianjin, China, as an Assistant and later as an Associate Professor. Prior to 2010, he worked in Tianjin Electric Power Company, Turck (China) Automation System Co., Ltd, and the School of Automation, Beijing Information Science & Technology University. He has a solid research background and rich industrial experience in machine drives & power electronics. He has published more than 20 technical papers, hosted and participated in a number of projects funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China. He also served as a reviewer of the National Natural Science Foundation and won one Tianjin Science and Technology Progress Award. His current research interests include the vibration and noise reduction of electrical equipment, wireless energy transmission and motor control.

 

Dr. Xinmei Yuan is currently a Visiting Professor in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. Dr. Yuan received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 2004 and 2010, respectively. He was a visiting scholar with the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium (WEMPEC), University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, in 2008. Since 2010, he has been with the State Key Laboratory of Automotive Simulation and Control (ASCL), Jilin University, Changchun, China, where he is currently a Professor with the College of Automotive Engineering. He has authored more than 20 technical papers and is the holder of 9 China Invention Patents, with 4 more pending. His research interests mainly focus on the modeling and control for various applications, including electric and hybrid electric vehicles, power electronics and electric motors, charging infrastructure network, engine aftertreatment systems, heating network, etc. 

 

Dr. Peng Han is a Post-doctoral Researcher in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. Prior to this, he was a Research Scientist with the Center for High Performance Power Electronics (CHPPE), Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Ohio State University, where he worked on the design, modeling and control of high-speed electric machines for aviation applications with SAFRAN Electrical & Power. He received the B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the School of Electrical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China, in 2012 and 2017, respectively. From November 2014 to November 2015, he was a guest Ph.D. student with the Department of Energy Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. Since 2014, he has authored/co-authored more than 20 technical/review papers and 3 granted China Invention Patents, one of which has been licensed to a company. He is the recipient of the 3rd Prize of the IEEE IAS CMD Student Thesis Contest 2018. His current research interests include electric machines, power electronics and renewable energy.

 

Narges Taran is a Ph.D. candidate in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. She started her studies at UK in 2016 after receiving her M.S. degree in Power Electronics and Electrical Machines from K. N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, in 2014. Narges has already published more than 25 papers, including one that received a Best Paper Award at IEEE ECCE 2016, the largest joint technical conference of the Power Electronics and Industry Applications Societies. She has also co-authored two chapters of the latest edition of the widely circulated Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers published in 2018 by McGraw Hill. At the UK ECE Graduate Research Symposium in 2018, Narges received the award for Outstanding Graduate Poster and in April 2019, she received the UK College of Engineering Dean’s award for Outstanding PhD Student. Since joining UK, she has been working as a research assistant on projects sponsored by NSF and industrial companies, and as a summer intern for Borg Warner, Inc. Her current research focuses on electric machines and power electronic drives including new topologies and materials, electromagnetic field finite-element analysis, and large-scale optimization methods. 

 

Seun Akeyo is a Ph.D. student in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. He started his graduate studies at UK in 2016 after receiving the B. Eng. degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, Nigeria, in 2014. Akeyo received his M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2017. At UK, he worked as a teaching assistant and as a research assistant on projects sponsored by DOE and utilities and on the close collaboration with LG&E-KU. Akeyo received a Best Poster Paper award at the 2016 IEEE International Conference on Renewable Energy Research and Applications (ICRERA) in Birmingham, England, and the Best Presentation award at the 2018 FEEDER DOE Sponsored Summer Institute.  His current research focuses on electric power systems, power electronics, battery energy storage, and renewable energy generation and integration. 

 

Huangjie Gong is a Ph.D. student in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. He started his studies at UK in 2017 after receiving his M.S. degree in Control Theory and Control Engineering from Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China, in 2016 with a thesis on the maximum power point tracking of PV systems. At UK, he worked as a teaching assistant and as a research assistant on projects sponsored by DOE and industry and on collaborations with national laboratories. He is the main developer of an HPC-based large-scale co-simulation software framework for energy consumption in buildings and power flow in electric power systems incorporating EnergyPlus and OpenDSS as computational engines. His current research focuses on smart grid and houses, water heater and battery modelling and control, power system controls and protection, net-zero-energy (NZE) buildings, renewable energy integration. 

 

Yibin Zhang is a Ph.D. candidate in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. He started his studies at UK in 2017 after receiving his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University, Shenyang, China, in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Since joining UK, he has been working as a teaching assistant and as a research assistant on projects sponsored by NSF and industrial companies and as a summer intern for ANSYS Inc. and for Eaton Corp. Yibin developed simulation models, designed, built and tested SPARK laboratory converters with WBG devices and DSP boards. His current research focuses on power electronics, including special topologies and devices, and motor drive controls. 

 

Damien Lawhorn is a Ph.D. student and a NASA Graduate Fellow in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. After receiving his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2017, he worked as a summer intern in the Simplorer development team at the ANSYS Inc. headquarters in Canonsburg, PA, where he developed power electronic models for various applications, such as aircraft power systems. Since 2017, Damien worked at UK on NASA sponsored research projects and as a summer intern at the NASA Glenn Research Center, where he contributed to developing motor drives for NASA's first all-electric aircraft, the X-57 Maxwell. Damien is a member of the Eta Kappa Nu honor society and is a founder of a new multidisciplinary robotic mining student organization at UK, which successfully competed in a NASA-related national competition. His current research focuses on power electronics and drives for electric aircraft propulsion and electric vehicle traction.

 

Murat Gurhan Kesgin is a Ph.D. student in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. He started his graduate studies at UK in 2015 on a scholarship supported by the Turkish Government and received his M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 2017 with research on the design and simulation of a photovoltaic-based charging station for electric vehicles. His most recent Ph.D. work in the SPARK lab is on the large-scale optimization of electric machines projects sponsored by industry. His current research focuses on advanced electromagnetic FEA, electric machines and power electronic drives, and design optimization. 

 

Dale Reid is a part-time Ph.D. student in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky.  He received his M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 2011 and holds B.S. degrees from Western Kentucky University in Industrial Technology and from University of Kentucky in Electrical Engineering. Dale was an original member of University of Kentucky solar car team that entered competition with the school’s first solar car in 2003.  Currently employed at Valvoline as an EV Project Manager, he also worked at Lexmark nearly 15 years performing power supply development, overseas assignments in China, and product safety engineering for Lexmark’s UL accredited test lab. His current research focuses on power train and energy storage technologies for hybrid and electric vehicles.

 

Stewart Evan Jones is a Ph.D. student in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. He received a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering, as well as a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a minor in Computer Science, and the Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK) certificate from the University of Kentucky in 2019. During his undergraduate studies, Evan was a University Scholar, a Kentucky Governor’s Scholar, a L. Stanley Pigman Scholar and an ECE and Schneider Electric sponsored undergraduate research fellow. Since 2017, he has been a student engineer for East Kentucky Power Cooperative in 2017, working on the implementation and the maintenance of SCADA and metering systems in transmission substations across Kentucky. His current research focuses on power systems, smart grid technologies, and renewable energy generation and integration. 

 

Rosemary Alden is an ECE and TVA Professorship sponsored undergraduate research fellow in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. She is also a University of Kentucky Presidential Scholarship recipient, an L. Stanley Pigman Scholar, a recipient of other scholarships and awards, and a University Scholar currently integrating her BS and PhD studies in electrical engineering. During her time at UK, she worked as First Year Engineering Program Teacher’s Assistant and a Tutor for the Tau Beta Pi Tutoring Center, and as a co-op for the CMTA, Inc. Rosemary is also pursuing the PEIK Certificate in Power and Energy at UK, and her summer studies and research experience include: the Renewable Energy and Microgrids class in Pamplona, Spain, the FEEDER Summer Institute at University of Arkansas, and the NSF REU on Smart Cities at University of Denver. Her current research focuses on smart home and smart grid technologies, renewable energy generation and integration.

 

Luke Wormald is an ECE and L. Stanley Pigman endowment sponsored undergraduate research fellow in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. He is also a University of Kentucky Presidential Scholarship recipient, a Thomas Lester Scholar and a recipient of other scholarships and awards. During his time at UK, he worked as an engineering tutor and as a peer mentor, interned with KLH Engineers, and performed one co-op rotation with Ethicon Endo-Surgery. Luke served as the electrical subsystem team lead for UK’s Solar Car Team in 2018 and 2019, as Vice Chair for the IEEE student branch during his junior year and is a member of the Tau Beta Pi honor society. His current research focuses on battery management systems and battery charge balancing systems.

 

Donovin Lewis is a SPARK Program sponsored undergraduate research fellow in the SPARK Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Kentucky. He is also a University of Kentucky Presidential Scholarship recipient, a William C. Parker Scholarship recipient, a Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship recipient, and a University Scholar currently integrating his BS and PhD studies in electrical engineering. During his time at UK, he worked as a Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Embedded Systems and as a co-op with Midea America Corporation in Louisville, KY, where he was responsible for electronics and control systems design. Donovin is a member of the Tau Beta Pi honors society and is an active contributing member of the UK Solar Car Team’s electrical division. His current research focuses on power electronics, electric motors and drives, and energy storage.