Mahmut Aslani earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Technology from Ege University, on the thorium
sorption by using silk fibroin and utilization in low level radioactive waste. He
earned his MSc and BSc degrees from Institute of Nuclear Science and Chemistry department
of Faculty of Science, respectively, at Ege University. He has experience using gamma
radiation spectroscopy, alpha spectroscopy, UV-visible spectrophotometry, and emission
spectroscopy. He has also experience on separation and purification of uranium, thorium,
strontium and lanthanum using Column Chromatography, HPLC and ion exchange techniques.
Recently he focuses on synthesis of phosphors materials for thermoluminescence applications
and also estimating their thermodynamic properties by molecular dynamics simulations.
Amir earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia
in 2020, where his research focused on the application of electronic structure calculations
to vibrational spectroscopy and gas encapsulation in zeolites. He also holds a bachelor's
degree in chemical engineering from Sharif University of Technology. Amir’s current
research and activities as a postdoc in Dr. Besmann's group focus on predicting Raman
spectra of complex molten salts as well as modeling these crystalline materials using
density functional theory calculations.
Jacob gained his career interest in nuclear power while pursuing his undergraduate
degree in Chemical Engineering at Brigham Young University. Since then, he served
his country as an Active Duty component of the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program where
he taught courses in Math, Physics, and Reactor Core Dynamics at the Naval Nuclear
Power Training Command. He is currently in the latter stages of completing a Master
of Science in Nuclear Engineering through his work modeling silicon carbide clad uranium
silicide fuels and recently began a Ph.D. program where he is engaged in developing
a thermochemical database for use in the design and operation of Generation IV Molten
Kyle R. Foster, M.S. Student
Kyle obtained his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in 2019 and immediately
began to pursue a Master of Science in the same field from the University of South
Carolina. Nuclear fuel systems gained his interest during his undergraduate degree
and led him to seek research within the field. His research is concentrated on computationally
modeling the behavior of nuclear fuels for use in reactor simulation codes. Kyle's
particular interests include all types of renewable energy.
Kaitlin E. Johnson, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Dr. Kaitlin Johnson received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of
California, Davis, previously obtaining her M.S. there and her B.S.E. in Chemical
Engineering from Arizona State University. Her current research focus is on the production
and characterization of sol-gel materials and the encapsulation of biomolecules in
such materials for the development of biosensors and energy and fuel production. Her
research at UofSC involved experimental determination of phase equilibria in simulated
uranium silicide nuclear fuel with fission product elements. She derived complex thermochemical
models for these systems that allow prediction of in-reactor behavior. Her other activities
have been in modeling molten salt nuclear fuel systems from both extant information
and her DSC measurements. Dr. Johnson completed her work at UofSC and is now a post-doctoral
fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Vancho Kocevski, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Kocevski earned his Ph.D. in Solid State Physics at Uppsala University, Sweden, in
2015, before working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Materials Science and Engineering
Department at Northwestern University for two years. His research interests include
thermodynamic modeling of materials, electron microscopy, and developing and utilizing
methodologies for materials discovery and design. He has experience using computational
materials approaches such as density functional theory, ab-initio and classical molecular
dynamics, and the multislice method. Dr. Kocevski is currently working at the Los
Alamos National Laboratory.
Denise Adorno Lopes, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Denise has a bachelor in physics, earned a master's and Ph.D. degree in metallurgical
and materials engineering from São Paulo University. She worked for five years at
the Brazilian Navy Technological Center, where she performed research on fabricating,
characterising and testing properties of U-Mo and U-Nb-Zr alloys for nuclear fuel
plate concept. Before coming to UofSC she was a post-doctoral fellow at the Reactor
Physics Department of Royal Institute of Technology – KTH in Sweden, where she conducted
integrated modeling and experimental work on UN and U3Si2, including ab initio calculations
and thermophysical measurements. Dr. Lopes is currently on staff at Westinghouse Electric
Tashiema Ulrich (Wilson), Ph.D. Student
Tashiema Ulrich (formerly Wilson) earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the
University of West Florida in 2015. She holds a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Fellowship
which is supporting her pursuit of a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering at the university.
She worked on the thermochemistry of advanced nuclear fuels for clean power generation,
investigating the properties and behavior of uranium silicide-nitride fuels using
both experimental and computational methods. Her work was part of a project joint
with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Ulrich graduated
with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering in December 2019 and is currently working as a
post-doctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Stephen Utlak, Ph.D. Student
Stephen Utlak obtained a B.S. degree in Bioengineering at Clemson University and an
M.E. degree in Nuclear Engineering at the University of South Carolina in 2011 and
2013, respectively. Upon graduating from UofSC, he accepted a position with Savannah
River Remediation, the liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS). In
2015, he took leave from SRS to work toward a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering at UofSC.
His research project was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of River
Protection, with an objective to thermochemically model the high-level waste glass
expected to be produced at the Hanford Site with the goal of characterizing nepheline
precipitation equilibrium behavior. Utlak graduated with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering
in June 2019 and is currently working at the Savannah River Site.
Mallikharjuna R. Bogala, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Dr. Bogala received M.S. degrees in both Metallurgy and Analytical Chemistry from
the University of Alabama in 2015 and 2009, respectively, and his doctoral degree
in Materials Science in 2016. These followed his obtaining a M.Tech. degree in Modern
Methods of Chemical Analysis from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in 2004
after a five-year Integrated M.Sc. in Chemistry from Pondicherry University in 2002.
Bogala’s research interests include synthesis of high-temperature materials by sintering
and arc-melting techniques, carrying out mechanical, thermochemical and thermophysical
property measurements using cracking/rupture tests, TGA/DSC, XRD, and SEM/TEM microanalysis,
and CALPHAD assessments of the thermochemistry and phase equilibria of materials systems.
Mark J. Noordhoek, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Noordhoek earned his bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering from the
University of Michigan in 2009 before going on to earn his Ph.D in the same area from
the University of Florida in 2014. His research interests include thermodynamic modeling
of materials, crystallography and methodologies for materials discovery and design.
He has computational materials science experience using first-principles (density
functional theory), classical molecular dynamics and the CALPHAD method.
Emily Moore, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Emily earned a Ph.D. in Physics from the École Polytechnique for her research at the
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA-Saclay). Her
undergraduate and masters studies were completed at the University of Arizona, with
Bachelor degrees in chemistry and German studies, and a Master degree in Material
Science and Engineering. Her research focus includes chemical thermodynamics and materials
properties of nuclear fuel and fission products, with competencies in thermos-kinetic
modelling using CALPHAD methods and molecular dynamic simulations. Dr. Moore is currently
research staff at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
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