Dr. John D. Schmisseur

B. H. Goethert Professor, H. H. Arnold Chair

Dr. John D. Schmisseur joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee Knoxville Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering on August 1, 2014. He teaches and leads research at the University of Tennessee Space Institute.

Prior to joining the faculty, John was the Chief of the Energy, Power & Propulsion Sciences Division and Program Manager for Aerothermodynamics within the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). During his tenure at AFOSR, John initiated and led a national strategic research plan which has guided the research efforts of multiple federal agencies, championed the transition of basic research capabilities that have advanced flagship national hypersonics technology programs and transformed test and evaluation capabilities, and envisioned the HIFiRE program which unifies the efforts of AFRL, NASA and the Australian DSTO to advance fundamental hypersonic science and technology via flight research. He is active within the professional community including having served as Chair of the AIAA Fluid Dynamics Technical Committee and a NATO Science and Technology Organisation working group. John earned his B.S. (1990) and M.S. (1992) in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. (1997) in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (2012) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (2013) and is the 2008 recipient of the Air Force Science and Engineering Award in Research Management.

Dr. Ragini Acharya

Associate Professor

Prof. Ragini Acharya joined the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering as an Associate Professor since August 1, 2020.

Dr. Ragini Acharya received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 2008, followed by 2 years of post-doctoral research position and 10 years of industrial research positions. Prior to joining UTSI, Dr. Acharya has been a Hypersonic Propulsion Lead–Sr. Principal Engineer at Raytheon Missiles and Defense, Director of Hypersonic Technology at CFD Research Corporation, and a Senior Scientist at Raytheon Technologies Research Center. Dr. Acharya has been the principal investigator of multiple programs on Hypersonic and propulsion technologies, reacting flow modeling and computations, and uncertainty quantification method development. Her research has been funded by government agencies and industry including DARPA DSO, DARPA TTO, AFRL, NASA Langley, AMRDEC, MDA, and Raytheon Missile Systems. Dr. Acharya has co-authored two graduate-level textbooks on Turbulent and Multiphase Combustion (John Wiley& Sons) in addition to over 50 technical articles in peer-reviewed publications and technical conferences. Dr. Acharya is an AIAA Associate Fellow, a Pre-college Outreach Director for AIAA Greater Huntsville Section, and a member of High-Speed Air-Breathing Propulsion as well as Air Breathing Propulsion Integration Technical Committees at AIAA.

Dr. Phil Kreth

Assistant Professor

Dr. Phillip A. Kreth received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Florida State University (FSU) in 2008 and 2015, respectively. Prior to joining the faculty of UTSI in early 2016, he was an adjunct assistant professor and post-doctoral research associate at FSU in the fall of 2015. His expertise is in active flow control and actuator development, as well as advanced optical diagnostics of high-speed flows. Dr. Kreth oversaw the design and construction of UTSI’s new 24” × 24” Mach 4 Ludwieg Tube that is currently being commissioned. Additionally, he has implemented new diagnostic methods, including fast-response PSP (pressure sensitive paint) and time-resolved Schlieren/shadowgraphy (~1 MHz repetition rates) through the continued development of high-powered LEDs. Dr. Kreth is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Physical Society.

Dr. Ryan Bond

Research Professor

Dr. Ryan Bond’s research area is Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Dr. Bond’s expertise is software and algorithms development for CFD, particularly for high temperature gas dynamics and thermochemistry relevant to hypersonic flows. Prior to joining UTSI, Dr. Bond spent 12 years at Sandia National Laboratories, 7 as R&D staff and 5 as a manager, and 2 years at Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC). Dr. Bond holds bachelor’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Mathematics from Mississippi State University, a master’s and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University, and an M.B.A. from the University of New Mexico.

Dr. Mark Gragston

Assistant Professor

Dr. Mark Gragston received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2018. His primary research focus is the development and application of laser and optical based techniques for examining high-speed fluid phenomena including the dynamics of boundary layers, shock-boundary layer interactions, and more. Techniques utilized include PLIF, Radar REMPI, schlieren, FLDI, and others. Mark also has an interest in applying advanced image processing techniques to extract quantitative information from high-speed images and the development of novel imaging techniques. Furthermore, he is developing a high-enthalpy wind tunnel to study heat transfer and real gas effects in hypersonic flows. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Physical Society, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Optical Society. He was a 2020 AFOSR Summer Faculty Fellow and has two U.S. patents related to optical measurements and imaging.