Centers, Institutes & Labs

The GW Virginia Science and Technology Campus is a world-class center of collaboration with centers, institutes and laboratories conducting interdisciplinary research in many growing fields. Faculty, graduate students, research scientists, and government and corporate partners conduct advanced research in well-equipped facilities.



Transportation Engineering Program at GW (GWTP)

The George Washington University (GW) Transportation Program (TP) advances the science that relates to transportation engineering while integrating fundamental and applied research in the Civil and Environmental Engineering curriculum. Such curriculum advances the knowledge of undergraduate and graduate students to become successful transportation professionals. The program's faculty and students develop human-centric engineering tools and solutions in 5 GWTP laboratories:


Institute for Magnetics Research (IMR)

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.

Institute for Nuclear Studies—Data Analysis Center

The Institute 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.


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.

Earthquake Engineering and Structures Laboratory

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

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:

  • 2%-4% fuel economy improvement in cars and trucks by integrated surface technology (DOE, GM, Valvoline, Vanderbilt Chemicals);
  • Advanced thermal mass materials (Seoul National University, Booyoung Company);
  • Icephobic surface design and certification (ABS group of companies, US Navy).

For information about this lab, contact Stephen Hsu.

High Performance Computing Laboratory (HPCL)

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.

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:

  • Multiscale multifunctional surface design and fabrication
  • Microencapsulation of additives
  • Drag reduction, ultrahydrophobic surfaces, omniphobic surfaces
  • Biomimetic materials

For information about this lab, contact Stephen Hsu.

Photo Emission Advanced Research Laboratory (PEARL)

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.

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.

Thermo-Fluids Laboratory (TFL)

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.

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.

GW Weight Management and Human Performance Lab

The lab offers the most comprehensive array of testing and programmatic services in the DC Metro area for clients seeking weight loss or improved athletic performance. Services for the GW community and the public include metabolism testing, body composition analysis, nutrition and dietary counseling, and VO2 testing. The Lab, part of the Milken Institute School of Public Health, also serves as a teaching and research lab. Dr. Miller’s current research focuses on obesity treatment and prevention, strength training for athletic performance and strength training for obesity treatment. He has a particular interest in how strength training can be used as an exclusive form of exercise for treating obesity in premenopausal women. For more information about this lab contact Todd Miller.


National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC)

Chartered in 1992, the National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC) at The George Washington University Virginia Science & Technology Campus (GW VSTC) developed into one of the nation's leading authorities in automotive and highway safety research. A cooperative effort of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), GW and several industry and academic experts, NCAC's comprehensive approach addressed the total safety problem related to surface transportation. NCAC's research work focused on Vehicle Safety and Biomechanics Research, Highway Safety and Infrastructure Research, Simulation and Advanced Computing Research 

The NCAC’s Library was the largest and most comprehensive source of crash test data and vehicle safety reports in the nation for over two decades. The library maintained more than 19,000 crash test films and data reports collected by the FHWA and NHTSA, as well as the most current U.S. Department of Transportation computer models and made them available to researchers, automotive and safety engineers, and the general public. The original crash test films and reports are currently maintained by the National Archives for preservation. For all inquiries regarding crash test reports and films, please refer directly to the NHTSA-US Department of Transportation web sites, NHTSA Vehicle Crash Test Database.

Related Resources:


Research Resources