Laboratory Director

Dr. Xu

Dr. Xu is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Aerospace Engineering. His research has included electric propulsion for spacecrafts, basic plasma science, RF plasmas, atmospheric pressure plasma, plasma biological treatment, plasma assisted combustion, laser produced plasma, plasma interactions with magnetic fields, and rotating detonation engines. Dr. Xu is an Associate Fellow of AIAA, and member of IEEE, and APS. 




Yunping Zhang, Ph.D.

yunping zhang prc

Dr. Zhang is a Post Doctoral Researcher at PERL focusing on laser induced plasma and interaction with high velocity plasma jets under a DOE grant. She received her BE from Beihang University, Beijing, China in Aircraft Design and Engineering, and her MS and Ph.D. from Purdue University. Her Ph.D. focused on studies of micro-electric proplusion ignitor system.


Kirk Boehm, Ph.D.

Dr. Boehm is a Research Engineer at PERL studying 3D magnetic reconnetion under a DOE grant. He obtained his Diplom-Ingenieur in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Technical University Dresden in Germany, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University, and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics from the University of Alabama. His Ph.D. focused on energy exchange mechanisms in hollow cathodes.


Zachary White

zachary whiteZachary is a Research Engineer working on studying laser produced plasma behavior in magnetic fields. He obtained his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Mississippi State University. He was an NSTRF Fellow conducting his PhD research on magnetic nozzles for pulsed fusion propulsion. He has also worked on plasma striations and laser collision induced fluorescence with Sandia National Laboratory.



Graduate Students

Andrew Walsten

andrew walstenAndrew obtained dual B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from Kansas State University. He has conducted research on a high pressure microplasma source for diode pumped rare gas lasers, and is currently studying a microplasma source for miniature electric propulsion for his PhD. He has conducted experiment at Sandia National Laboratory using their laser diagnostics. His work has been supported by DoD, NSF, and NASA.


Michaela Hemming

michaela spaulding

Michaela graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Aerospace Systems Engineering From UAH. She is a NASA NSTGRO fellow conducting her PhD research on liquid-gas injectors for rotating detonation rocket engines.



Nageshwar Nagarajan

nageshwar nagarajanNageshwar received his undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering from SASTRA Deemed University in 2019, and his M.S. in Aerospace Systems Engineering from UAH. His M.S. thesis research focused on studying multi-ring microwave resonators for miniature electric propulsion. His PhD research focuses on atmospheric pressure plasma interactions with water droplets for biological applications.


Ian Wagner

photo of Ian WagnerIan graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State University in 2021. His research focuses on plasma and advanced space propulsion, more specifically experimental study of power generating magnetic nozzles using flux compression. His works is supported by NASA.



Neil Laya

neil layaNeil graduated in 2022 with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from UAH where he conducted undergraduate reesarch at PERL on split ring resonator plasmas. His graduate research focuses on lab scale experimental magnetic reconnection propulsion. He was previously supported by the Alabama Space Grant Graduate Fellowship and is now a NASA NSTGRO fellow.



Monica Salunkhe

monica pic copyMonica recieved her B.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from Purdue University in 2017, and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from University of Michigan in 2019. She is pursuing a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at UAH in nuclear electric propulsion mission analysis and vehicle modeling. Her work is funded by NASA.



David Tutunzhiu

tutunzhiu davidDavid recieved his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from UAH in 2023. He is purusing a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering focusing on high-speed passive optical emissions spectroscopy of flames. His work is supported by the DoD.


Olivia DeCaro

Olivia completed her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from San Diego State University in 2023. At UAH, she is pursing graduate research in rotating detonation engines.

Aaron Applegate

aaron applegateAaron received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from University of San Diego in 2021. Before joining PERL, he conducted research with the UAH Multiphysics Flow Research Group. At PERL, his research focused on ultra-short pulsed laser and plasma interactions and diagnostics. His work is supported by the DoD.




Undergraduate Student Researchers

Tetiana Tymoshevska - coaxial plasma gun

Elena Dishman - RDE

Issac Stewart - B-dot probes

Ruby Sharrard - RDE




Dr. Bhagirath Ghimire (Postdoc, Principle Research Scientist, 2021-2024) - Intecells Inc.

Dr. Ryan Gott (Ph.D. 2020) - NASA Kennedy

Dr. Roberto Dextre (Ph.D. 2018) - Lockheed Martin


Ruthie Hill (M.S. 2024) - Blue Origin

William Bickett (M.S. 2019) - GuideTech

Paulo Salvador (M.S. 2017) - Blue Origin

Ethan Hopping (M.S. 2017) - Graduate school at Georgia Institute of Technology

Steven Doyle (M.S. 2017) - Cooper Medical School at Rowan University 

Stewart Jacobs (M.S.2016 ) - Bastion Technologies 

Lindsey Blair (M.S. 2016) - Jacobs

Wade Harlow (M.S. 2015) - Northrup Grumman


Cassandra Phoenix (B.S. 2024)

Jared Sauer (B.S. 2024) - Astranis

Khadija Jalloul (B.S. 2023) - Army DEVCOM

Jayashree Paudel (B.S. 2023) - Abbott Laboratories

Nao Murata (B.S. 2023) - Mazda North American Operations

Josie Hodges (B.S. 2023) - Northup Grumman

Sydney Miller (B.S. 2023)

Allison Lenz (B.S. 2022) - Rubicon Space Systems

Declan Brick (B.S. 2022) - Graduate school at University of Michigan

Brandon Williams (B.S. 2022) -

Manvith Amara (B.S. 2022) - Northrup Grumman

Brandon Stanton (B.S. 2022) - Corvid Technologies

Natalie Mann (B.S. 2020) - Graduate school at Arizona State University

Ward Manneschmidt (B.S. 2020) - Graduate school at UAH

Noah Naden (B.S. 2020) - Blue Origin

Noah Latham (B.S. 2020) - Graduate school at UAH

Ryota Nakano (B.S. 2019) - Graduate school at Auburn University

Toyofumi Yamauchi (B.S. 2019) - Graduate school at University of Illinois

Bradley Henderson (B.S. 2017) - IERUS Technologies

Allison Luther (B.S. 2016)  - Boeing

Brittani Searcy (B.S. 2016) - Jacobs

Katy Kolasinski (B.S. 2015) - Raytheon