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Welcome new faculty


September 24, 2020

Join us in welcoming our new faculty to the ME department this school year.

Aniruddh Vashisth, Assistant Professor

Aniruddh Vashisth

Aniruddh Vashisth joins Mechanical Engineering this winter as an assistant professor. He previously held a postdoctoral research associate position at Texas A&M University working in aerospace and chemical engineering.

In his interdisciplinary research, Aniruddh works on fabrication, design, and analysis of advanced composite materials using theoretical and experimental approaches, such as computational tools across length scales. His work has applications in mechanical, aerospace, materials, and transportation industries. He develops lightweight toughened composites and uses polymer-derived ceramics for fabricating strengthened complex structures. He explores rapid manufacturing of composites using radio frequency fields, and uses atomistic simulations to understand processing-structure-property relationship for materials.

Aniruddh has filed for two U.S. patents focused on targeted heating for multi-material bonding and continuous processing of carbon fibers. He has also developed an algorithm for reactive atomistic simulations that can simulate reactive kinetics for high barrier energy reactions, this method (Accelerated ReaxFF) has been incorporated in commercially available software such as SCM-ADF and LAMMPS.

Michelle DiBenedetto, Assistant Professor

Michelle DiBenedetto

Michelle DiBenedetto will join Mechanical Engineering this winter as an assistant professor. She was most recently a postdoctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she studied how active particles navigate in turbulence. She also continued her work studying microplastics transport at the ocean surface.

Michelle’s research lies at the intersection of environmental fluid mechanics and particle-laden flows. She uses laboratory experiments and numerical and analytical tools to study how the properties of small particles control their dynamics in unsteady flows.These fundamental fluid mechanics questions are inspired by problems such as microplastics pollution in the ocean and navigation in turbulence. At the UW, she plans to continue studying particle dynamics in the ocean to improve microplastics degradation and transport modeling.

Michelle was awarded the 2020 Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award in Fluid Dynamics from the American Physical Society for her thesis work which revealed the dynamics of non-spherical inertial particles in wavy flows.

We will also be welcoming Krithika Manohar as an assistant professor in 2021.

Stay tuned this year as we continue to fill open faculty positions and begin new searches for professors in Biomedical Imaging & Analysis and Quantum Information Science & Technology. The latter positions are a result of successful proposals to the College of Engineering cluster hiring initiative.

View the full list of 2020 UW College of Engineering new faculty.