New faculty profile: Chris Choi


Chris Choi joined the faculty in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering as a professor last fall.

Tell us about your career path.
I received my PhD from Colorado State University in computational and experimental fluid dynamics and heat transfer.  My dissertation was an investigation of the convective heat and mass transfer caused by volumetric energy generated by nuclear waste canisters stored underground. After obtaining my doctorate, I became an instructor and research associate at the University of Arizona. During that time, in response to the rapidly growing market for personal computers and especially laptops, I focused on finding better ways to cool electronic components. I also taught courses in Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Intermediate Thermodynamics, Dynamics and Numerical Methods, primarily in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.  I then joined the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering as an assistant professor, and my research interests since then have been in the area of transport phenomena as it applies to environmental, biological and agricultural engineering. My recent research activities have involved (1) water security and safety, (2) the optimal design of urban water distribution infrastructures, (3) microclimate control for dairy farms, (4) microclimate control in greenhouses, (5) the transport and fate of pathogens in fresh vegetables and fruits, and (6) the computer modeling of algae biofuel production in raceway ponds.  Over the past decade, I have conducted multi-disciplinary research projects, working with researchers whose specialties included microbiology, animal sciences, public health, and civil engineering. I also maintained an independent research laboratory dedicated to creating computational simulations and conducting experiments in transport phenomena.  During this period, too, I developed and taught Computer Aided Design for Engineers, Biosystems Thermal Engineering, and Advanced Biological Transport Phenomena.

What is the main focus of your research program?
I will continue to focus on developing advanced computational models capable of accurately simulating the complex transport phenomena that concern engineers and scientists working to solve environmental, biological and agricultural engineering problems.  I am also interested in large-scale systems optimization and advanced analytics.

What drew you to UW-Madison?
The university’s reputation as a first-class research and academic institution was the most significant factor affecting my decision to move to UW-Madison.  I had also learned that the faculty and student body are first rate and that, as a result, the intellectual environment on campus would offer exciting new ideas and research opportunities.  Since moving here, I have come to love Madison and the surrounding communities, and after living in the desert southwest for over two decades, I am looking forward to a yearly climate cycle that includes all four seasons.

What do you like to do outside of work?
I’m trying out a lot of different outdoor activities in Wisconsin.