University of KentuckyUK Center for Applied Energy Research UK College of EngineeringNational Science Foundation

University of Kentucky Engineering Faculty Mentors

Engineers and scientists at the University of Kentucky investigate technologies that reduce the impacts of energy utilization.



Dr. L. Sebastian Bryson is the current Hardin-Drnevich-Huang Associate Professor of Civil Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Kentucky. He received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University, his Master of Engineering degree from Howard University and his Bachelor of Science degree from the Florida A and M University/Florida State University College of Engineering. Dr. Bryson’s research interest focuses on resiliency and sustainability of critical infrastructure and applied geotechnics. This includes topics such as field instrumentation and monitoring of constructed facilities, in-situ response of earth structures, in-situ and laboratory testing of soils, soil improvement and ground modification. Current research projects include; deformation-based design methodology, response of infrastructure systems to extreme events, geohazard assessment, and geotechnical sustainability. Dr. Bryson teaches several undergraduate and graduate courses in Geotechnical Engineering. Dr. Bryson is a registered professional engineer in the states of Kentucky, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.

Czar Crofcheck

Dr. Czarena Crofcheck is a professor in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering. Her research emphasis is in bioprocessing, specifically downstream processing of value-added proteins and the conversion of biomass to chemicals and fuels. Dr. Crofcheck teaches probability and statistics, energy and mass transfer, and senior design. She has won several teaching awards, on the department, college, university, and national level. She is also the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the department, advising most of the upperclassman. She a co-principal investigator for Kentucky’s NSF-EPSCoR program, entitled Powering the Kentucky Bioeconomy for a Sustainable Future. She is passionate about encouraging more girls and boys to consider STEM careers and works toward this goal as the co-chair of the Kentucky Girls STEM Collaborative. In her free time, she enjoys scrapbooking, cooking, and hanging out with her two kids Quinn and Kelden.

Doug Kalika

Dr. Douglass Kalika is Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. A native of Connecticut, he earned his BS degree in chemical engineering from M.I.T. in 1984 and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988. After a post-doctoral position at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, he joined the faculty at the University of Kentucky in 1990. Dr. Kalika’s research interests include the structure, dynamics and processing of polymer systems, with a particular interest in polymer membranes, blends and composites. He was elected Fellow of the AIChE in 2012 and currently serves as a program evaluator for ABET.


Dr. Kunlei Liu who is originally from China, received his Bachelor of engineering degree (1988) and his PhD (1993) in Thermoenergy engineering from the Southeast University, Nanjing, China. Prior to the University of Kentucky, he has been employed by Southeast University, Western Kentucky University, Environmental Systems Corporation (ESC), and Babcock & Wilcox. He currently is the Associate Director for Research at CAER and leads the Power Generation and Utility Fuels research group. He has over 28 years of experience in directing research projects in the areas of combustion, gasification, and emissions control. Since 2006, as principal investigator, he has received grants from US DOE, the State of Kentucky, and an industrial consortium to develop a robust and cost-effective technology for pollution control, water treatment, CO2 capture and utilization from power generation processes that covers advanced catalytic solvent development and evaluation, process integration, membrane-based solvent enrichment, chemical looping combustion/gasification, and metal behavior in the post-combustion carbon capture system. His research interests include fossil fuel combustion and gasification, emission control, carbon management in power plants and biomass utilization for fuels and chemicals.