Starting July 1 Dennis Assanis, the Jon R. and Beverly S. Holt professor of engineering and Arthur F. Thurnau professor, will begin his position as the director of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute.

According to a University press release, Assanis, who is internationally known for his forethought in efficient transportation energy, will replace Nuclear Engineering Professor Gary Was, who has led the institute since it began in 2006.

Assanis has focused on working with new transportation technologies that will reduce the use of fossil fuel and limit greenhouse gases and
pollution. According to the press release, he is currently the director of the Automotive Research Center, the Walter E. Law Automotive Laboratory and the Multi-University Consortium on Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition Engine Research and co-director of the General Motors Collaborative Research Laboratory on Engine Systems.

Recognized internationally for his innovative developments, Assanis has used experimental techniques to improve fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions.

Assanis wrote in the press release that he plans on using his position to develop new forms of energy that will not hurt the environment.

“Providing leadership to an energy effort as powerful and complete as the University of Michigan’s is a tremendous opportunity to catalyze change needed to address three of the world’s most serious challenges: energy security, climate change and environmental sustainability,” he wrote.

Stephen Forrest, vice president for research, wrote in the press release that Assanis’s experience leading large research programs “puts the institute in position to expand its leadership role in the region and the nation.”

“Dennis brings to the energy institute a wealth of research knowledge in the transportation domain, still one of the largest energy-using sectors,” Forrest wrote.

Assanis joined the University in 1994 as a professor of mechanical
engineering. Before coming to the University, Assanis worked at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been a guest professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China and was an adjunct research scientist at the Energy and Environmental Systems Division of Argonne National Laboratory. He holds bachelor’s degree in Marine engineering from Newcastle University, UK and four graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.

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