Centers & Institutes


Biologically Inspired Energy Laboratory

The Biologically Inspired Energy Lab focuses on experimental fluid dynamics, biological flows: swimming and flying, the aerodynamics of groups, wind farm designs, high-energy fluid instabilities, and shock-driven turbulence and mixing. For information about this lab, contact Megan Leftwich

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Center for Intelligent Systems Research

Center for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR) scientists study crash avoidance. Using a vehicle donated by General Motors Corp., researchers examine the human factors involved in motor vehicle accidents. CISR also has a truck-driving simulator used to study the effects of fatigue on driver performance. The Driving Simulation Laboratory is a partnership with the Federal Highway Administration.

Center for Intelligent Systems Research (CISR):

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Center for Nuclear Studies—Data Analysis Center

The Center for Nuclear Studies Data Analysis Center (DAC) acts as a link between theoretical and experimental investigations into the properties of nucleons and nucleon resonances. Primary funding comes from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Thomas Jefferson Lab.

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Center for the Study of Learning

The Center for the Study of Learning (CSL) is an international research and development organization devoted to issues of learning in the field of Human and Organizational Studies. CSL provides high quality services to all types of organizations, primarily through specific projects in organizational strategy, organizational learning, cultural assessment, human resource systems, re-organization and transformational leadership.

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Computational Biology Institute

Started in fall 2012, the Computational Biology Institute (CBI) focuses on computational and bioinformatic approaches to biological questions in the genomics era. Focus areas include biodiversity informatics, translational medicine, and systems biology.

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Earthquake Engineering and Structures Laboratory

Researchers use current knowledge and cutting-edge technologies to improve methods for assessing and enhancing infrastructure safety. The laboratory, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, features one of the most sophisticated earthquake simulators of its kind in the nation.

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Energy Efficiency Research Laboratory

Lab research has centered on surface chemistry, advanced materials, energy efficiency in automobile and diesel engines, manufacturing, metrology, and nanotechnology. Highlights of this lab include:

  • 5%-7% fuel economy improvement in cars and trucks by biomimetic surface technology (DOE, Cummins, Toyota, Ashland, RT Vanderbilt);
  • Net zero energy buildings technology (GSA, CCI, other universities);
  • Smart microgrid demonstration project (Virginia  Tech, GMA).

For information about this lab, contact Stephen Hsu

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High Performance Computing Laboratory

The five active projects in the High Performance Computing Laboratory (HPCL) are sponsored by DoD, NASA, NSF, ARSC, IBM, and Microsoft. They fall into the areas of: UPC (Unified Parallel C), high-performance reconfigurable computing, embedded and high-performance computer algorithms, and architectures for remote sensing. The lab has been a leading authority in high-performance reconfigurable computing, an area in which supercomputers include, in addition to the massive number of traditional microprocessors, reconfigurable processors based on field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) processing elements.

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Institute for Magnetics Research

The Institute for Magnetics Research (IMR) focuses its work on modeling, experimental measurements, and the use of magnetic materials. The materials most commonly studied are magnetic nanostructures, magnetic recording media, magneto-optical media, and magnetostrictive materials.

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Nanomaterials & Nanomechanics Laboratory

Lab research has centered on surface chemistry, advanced materials, energy efficiency in automobile and diesel engines, manufacturing, metrology, and nanotechnology. Highlights of this lab include:

  • Nanocomposites for wind energy (half the weight, higher efficiency);
  • Basic research in nanoparticle interaction, adhesion, and repulsion phenomena for new multifunctional materials;
  • Pioneering self-healing, self-repairing materials for various energy applications.

For information about this lab, contact Stephen Hsu

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National Crash Analysis Center

  • FHWA/NHTSA NCAC Film Library
  • NCAC Vehicle Modeling Laboratory

The National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC) is one of the nation's leading authorities in automotive and highway safety research. A cooperative effort of The George Washington University, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), NCAC's comprehensive approach addresses a panorama of safety issues related to surface transportation. Researchers and engineers investigate, quantify, and analyze the roles and performance—both individually and in combination—of vehicles, occupants, safety restraints, and roadside structures (such as guardrails, poles, construction barriers). They conduct statistical analyses of crash data; undertake hospital studies to correlate crash events to occupant injuries; incorporate state-of-the-art investigation methods and biomechanics research to determine injury patterns; and evaluate vehicle and roadside hardware crash performance by reviewing crash-test films and crash data by using cutting-edge computer modeling.

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Pharmacogenomics/Health Sciences Laboratory

The Pharmacogenomics/Health Sciences Laboratory contains dedicated educational and research spaces shared between GW and Shenandoah University's Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy. The major research theme for the laboratory centers on personalized medicine. The Program's faculty has ongoing projects investigating the genetic and clinical factors that impact oral anti-coagulant therapy, assisted reproduction, cancer chemotherapy, and ethnic variations in drug metabolism. Students in the program conduct mentored research in one of these areas as part of their experiential education at GW. The faculty also offer several popular programs to help local high school students and teachers understand genomic science.

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Photo Emission Advanced Research Laboratory

The Photo Emission Advanced Research Laboratory (PEARL) leads the physics effort for GW’s energy initiative. Research is focused in three areas:

  • High-power particle accelerators that may serve as drivers for accelerator-driven subcritical nuclear reactors (ADSR) as well as probes of new materials for energy application;
  • Development of novel techniques in photovoltaics including nanostructures, quantum dots, and surface acoustic waves;
  • New technologies for non-proliferation of nuclear materials.

For information about this lab, contact Andrei Afanasev

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Renewable Energy R&D Solutions Laboratory

The renewable energy laboratory focuses on chemical solutions to the critical energy and environmental crises facing our planet.

  • In the field of solar energy, the laboratory is introducing a new process to utilize sunlight. Instead of electricity, this new energy conversion “STEP” process generates the chemicals needed by society. STEP utilizes both visible and IR components of sunlight to convert solar energy more efficiently than solar cells. Current projects the Solar Electrochemical Thermal Production of metals, fuels, bleach, and STEP carbon capture, along with a ten-year plan to decrease atmospheric carbon dioxide to pre-industrial age levels.
  • In the field of renewable energy storage, the laboratory is developing a field of multiple-electron per molecule storage processes, while introducing new nano-electrochemical processes that can store far greater energy than traditional batteries or fuel cells.
  • Other current projects include the super-iron battery, which stores energy with an unusual series of “super-oxidized” iron salts, and a vanadium boride/air battery, which has greater energy content than gasoline.

For information about this lab, contact Stuart Licht

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Smart Systems Laboratory

The Smart Systems Laboratory focuses on using smart materials, adaptive structures, and innovative control schemes in aerospace and energy applications. Researchers are particularly interested in developing biologically inspired designs for sensors, actuators, and intelligent feedback control systems.

The lab is equipped for aircraft system development, mechatronics/robotics fabrication, multiphysics simulation, and vibration testing.  Some of the major research projects underway are biomimetic feather modules for supermaneuverability and gust alleviation, aeroelastic wind energy harvesting for urban environments, vibration harvesting from bio-motion, and bio-inspired aircraft maneuver simulation and control.

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Thermo-Fluids Laboratory

The Thermo-Fluids Laboratory (TFL) is focused on experimental fluid mechanics applied to energy systems and nuclear thermal hydraulics.  Professor Bardet and his students use and develop advanced laser-based diagnostics to probe the nature of complex flows.  They are studying mixing enhancement in swirling jets.  Swirling jets are encountered in many energy applications; improving their entrainment capability can result in significant energy savings.

The TFL is developing new optical diagnostics to probe non-condensable gas absorptions in turbulent liquid-air interfaces and flow regimes transition in those multiphase flows; the new diagnostics are being implemented in a high-speed water channel.  These multiphase flows are very important to better understand the role of water bodies in the global carbon balance and for the safety of nuclear reactors.



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Turbulence, Fluid Dynamics, and Wind Energy Laboratory

The Turbulence, Fluid Dynamics, and Wind Energy Lab is equipped with major fluid flow facilities, including an oscillatory flow wind tunnel and water tunnel. The facilities have been used to study a number of turbulent and unsteady flows, including complex shear layers such as 3-dimensional boundary layers, and biomedical flows such as models of the human vocal folds.

The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art optical diagnostics instrumentation including Particle Image Velocimetry, Laser Doppler Velocimetry, Laser Induced Fluorescence and Flow Visualization. Current research areas include boundary layer flow control and wake studies relevant to wind turbine blades, and flow over complex topology resulting in three-dimensional separation relevant to polyps on vocal folds.

For information about this lab, contact Michael W. Plesniak

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