Faculty spotlight: Associate Professor Kiran D’Souza

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Kiran D'Souza

Meet Associate Professor Kiran D’Souza from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He is director of the Nonlinear Dynamics and Vibration Lab and associate director of the Gas Turbine Lab. Learn more about him in this installation of the Aerospace Research Center’s faculty spotlight series, which highlights core and associated faculty.

Question: Why did you choose your field of research?

Answer: I was always interested in the dynamics and motion of structures and systems, particularly complex systems with high dimension and nonlinearity.

Question: Describe one of your current projects.

Answer: The Gas Turbine Laboratory (GTL) has a Center of Excellence with Pratt & Whitney where we are investigating blade tip rubs. These rubs occur between the rotating blades and the stationary casing inside the engine due to the extremely tight clearances that are used in modern engines to optimize efficiency. This project involves a large interdisciplinary team at the GTL containing staff, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students as well as our sponsors at Pratt & Whitney. The project leans on the major strengths of the GTL: requiring developing and building unique state of the art facilities – in this case to re-create rubs as would be seen in an engine; carrying out unique experiments and adapting our facilities as needed to meet the needs of the test program; mentoring graduate and undergraduate students in research projects to support the research needs; and creating new analysis and computational tools for analyzing and predicting responses seen in the experiments.

Question: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Answer: Working with students and staff to work on a variety of projects to the fundamental to the really applied industrial applications to create new knowledge that is beneficial to both society and the academic community.

Question: What advice would you give to incoming graduate students?

Answer: Make sure that the topic and research area is something that you are passionate about and really want to spend the next few years learning in great depth.

Question: What is special about the Aerospace Research Center?

Answer: The ARC is a great place to work with collaborative researchers conducting specialized research in propulsion, autonomous aircraft and flow control and is expanding into hypersonics. Students can get a great experience working on challenging interdisciplinary projects just like they will tackle when they move into industry, government labs or academia.

Question: What keeps you inspired?

Answer: Working with students, staff and faculty who continue to innovate and come up with fresh new ideas and perspectives to tackle challenging problems.


At ARC, together faculty, research staff and students are innovating to create solutions for advanced aerospace and air transportation challenges. Click here to learn more about current initiatives.