Featured Stories

View of the SAFL building from the river

Professor Lian Shen has been selected as the new director of the University of Minnesota’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL). The five-year appointment by University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering Dean Samuel Mukasa is effective Sept. 1, 2017.

Shen, who was recently promoted to professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota since 2012. He joined SAFL as associated faculty during his initial year and in 2014 took over as SAFL’s associate director for research.

Previously, Shen served on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University as assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Center for Environmental and Applied Fluid Mechanics beginning in 2004. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1993. Shen attended graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), attaining his Sc.D. in Fluid Mechanics in 2001 and continued as postdoctoral research associate at MIT until 2004.

Shen’s research revolves around computational fluid dynamics, geophysical and engineering fluid flows as well as other multi-disciplinary fluid-related research—all which align with the interdisciplinary nature of SAFL research. A sample of his projects include investigating and modeling the transport of oil from oil spills in the ocean; studying ocean waves as a potential renewable energy resource; and looking at simulation, measurement, modeling and control of wind plant power; and using high-performance computers to simulate hydraulic jumps. During his time at the University of Minnesota, Shen has received 18 research grants from 10 different funding agencies. The total funding in these projects is more than $16 million dollars, of which Shen directs over $6 million dollars.

Shen’s selection as director culminates a comprehensive director search initiated last summer, where a total of five candidates were selected and interviewed. Shen joins a prestigious line of SAFL directors since the lab’s establishment in 1938. He will succeed interim director Christopher Paola who has been serving in the lead role since 2015 when SAFL director Fotis Sotiropoulos left the University of Minnesota.