The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is excited to welcome Kelly Kissock, Shima Nazari and Iman Soltani to its faculty for the 2020-21 academic year. Together, they bring expertise in energy efficiency, control and automation to UC Davis and strengthen and diversify the department’s teaching and research. Kissock and Soltani start July 1 and Nazari starts November 1.
Learn more about the department’s newest faculty through short introductions below:
Kelly Kissock, Professor and Chevron Endowed Chair in Energy Efficiency
Kelly Kissock is an internationally-recognized leader in energy efficiency. He is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) certified Energy Expert in compressed air and process hearing systems, has received two DOE Center Excellence Awards and has published over 100 technical papers on energy systems. He is known for his work in energy efficient buildings and manufacturing, heating systems and renewable energy.
He will immediately take the reins as the new faculty director of the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute. The institute accelerates the development and commercialization of sustainable energy solutions and trains future leaders in energy.
He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado – Boulder, his M.S. in engineering and policy from Washington University in St. Louis and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. He joined the University of Dayton two years later and had been there since.
He joins UC Davis after 25 years at the University of Dayton, where he was a professor and chair, as well as the director of the Renewable and Clean Energy Program, the university’s Industrial Assessment Center and the Ohio Lean Buildings Program.
“I am honored and excited to join the Energy and Efficiency Institute,” Kissock told the Energy and Efficiency Institute. “Everyone in our field has been influenced by the institute’s path breaking research in water, lighting, cooling, and transportation efficiency… The Institute and UC Davis will help lead this transition by engaging students, faculty, and partners in solving the most difficult challenges with the greatest impacts. I look forward to working with everyone on these important opportunities.”
Iman Soltani, Assistant Professor
Iman Soltani has several years of experience at the interface of academia and industry and brings a balanced view point to theory and practice in research and education. The results of his research work on automation and intelligent systems have been implemented in a diverse range of applications, including naturalistic autonomous driving, health monitoring of jet engines, video-rate visualization of nano-scale processes and automated assembly of complex automotive parts.
Soltani is no stranger to UC Davis. He has served as a member of MAE external advisory board and has been involved in multiple collaborations with the department. He is excited to join the department, where he can turn his attention towards research and teaching full-time and establish collaborations with industry and other faculty across different disciplines from engineering to medical sciences.
Soltani’s research focuses on the development of artificial intelligence, instrumentation and design techniques for automated systems. He holds several patents on inventions ranging from memory-based autonomous vehicle navigation to one-shot learning and nano-precision positioning systems. His research has appeared in various news outlets such as Science Daily, MIT-News, The Boston Globe and Elservier Materials Today. In his academic career, he has won MIT’s Carl G. Sontheimer PhD thesis award and industry’s National Instruments engineering impact award in advanced research.
Soltani received his bachelor’s degree at Amir-Kabir University of Technology in Iran, his master’s at the University of Ottawa in Canada and his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), all in mechanical engineering. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, he joined the Ford Motor Company’s Greenfield Labs in Palo Alto in 2016 and has worked there since.
“I look forward to building relationships with my students while providing them with the tools they need to discover their true passions and reach their goals, whether that means starting a new venture, pushing the bounds of science, moving up the corporate ladder or helping humanity,” he said
Shima Nazari, Assistant Professor
Shima Nazari brings a diverse educational background to UC Davis. With master’s degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering and experience in the gas turbine industry, she brings a multidisciplinary perspective to the department and the College of Engineering.
Her research focuses on the dynamics, control and optimization for autonomous and hybrid electric vehicles. She has applied this expertise to low-voltage vehicles, energy storage systems and gas turbines and jet engines.
Nazari earned her master’s degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering from the Sharif University of Technology in Iran and the University of Michigan, respectively. She completed her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan with an emphasis in control and had been working as a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley before joining UC Davis.
In her academic career, Nazari has won two best paper awards and an outstanding presentation award and was named a Rising Star in Mechanical Engineering in 2019. She hopes to continue this success as a MAE faculty member.