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Alexis Kwasinski appointed RK Mellon Faculty Fellow in Energy

PITTSBURGH (August 18, 2014) … The University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering has named Alexis Kwasinski, PhD as Associate Professor and R.K. Mellon Faculty Fellow in Energy, according to an announcement from William E. Stanchina, PhD , Professor and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). Dr. Kwasinski, who joins Pitt this fall from the University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering, will hold a tenured appointment in ECE that is funded in part through a 2012 grant from Richard King Mellon Foundation to the University's Center for Energy.

"Alexis' research interests in power electronics systems, controls, energy systems, microgrids, smart grids, integration of renewable energy, advanced power distribution architectures, and energy conversion and storage, are a perfect match for the Swanson School's focus on sustainable energy development," Dr. Stanchina said. "In particular, I anticipate he will be a great instructor as well as collaborator with faculty in our electric power engineering program, where we're exploring critical issues related to improving our nation's aging power infrastructure."

"Thanks to the Richard King Mellon Foundation support provided to Pitt's Center for Energy , we are enhancing a core team in energy research across disciplines," said Brian Gleeson, PhD , the Harry S. Tack Chair in Materials Science, Chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Director of the Center for Energy. "Alexis will be able to grow his research at Pitt and greatly contribute to the advancement of new energy technologies."

Dr. Kwasinski is recognized for research in energy security and electric power resiliency, in particular the use of microgrids to improve power supply availability after natural disasters. His field research included studying the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Ike and Sandy, and the 2011 earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, and how microgrids in particular could help return power to damaged areas more quickly than traditional infrastructure.

Dr. Kwasinski received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the Buenos Aires Institute of Technology (ITBA) in Argentina; a graduate specialization degree in telecommunications from the University of Buenos Aires in 1997; and a master of science and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005 and 2007, respectively.

His career began with Telefonica of Argentina from 1993-1997, designing and planning telephony outside plant networks, and he also was a member of the Executive Committee of the Argentine Electrotechnical Association from 1994-1995. Later he joined Lucent Technologies Power Systems (now GE Power Electronics Inc.) for five years as a Technical Support Engineer and a Sales Technical Consultant in Latin America and was also a part-time instructor in charge of ITBA's Telecommunications Laboratory for three years. At UT-Austin he was assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering with seven PhD students, published 22 journal and more than 50 conference papers, and secured more than $2 million in funding from both government agencies and industrial sponsors.

His awards include the IBM Faculty Innovation Award (2011), National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award (2009), Best Technical Paper Award at the International Telecommunications Energy Conference/INTELEC (2007) and the Joseph J. Suozzi INTELEC Fellowship (2005). Currently he serves as an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion.

Dr. Kwasinski's appointment is the second Richard King Mellon Faculty Fellow within the Swanson School. John Keith, PhD, a catalytic processes researcher, was named the inaugural Richard King Mellon Faculty Fellow and assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering in March 2013. Prior to Pitt, Dr. Keith was an associate research scholar in Professor Emily Carter's research group in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University.

About the Center for Energy
Established in 2008, the Center for Energy is dedicated to improving energy technology development and sustainability, including energy delivery and efficiency, advanced materials for demanding energy technologies, carbon management and utilization, and energy diversification. Joining the Center for Energy is a team of more than 70 faculty members working in energy research from Pitt's departments of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Geology, and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, for the purpose of leveraging their work and expertise. The Center for Energy's key goals include attracting more world-class faculty to Pitt, training high-level engineers and scientists to work in key areas of energy research, facilitating technology transfer related to energy for economic development, increasing energy support, and raising the stature of our region as a leader in energy.


Author: Paul Kovach