He completed his academic education at the University of Genoa in Genoa, Italy (bachelor’s and master’s in electronics engineering and a doctorate in electrical engineering) then awarded a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) fellowship for a post-doctoral appointment at the University of California at Berkeley in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. He conducted research in support of the U.S. Department of Energy fusion program starting at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and at Science Application International Corporation, involved in modeling and simulation and high-performance computing. He then worked at the NASA Johnson Space Center in the Shuttle, Constellation, and International Space Station programs focusing on both hardware and software research and development (R&D) in plasma propulsion, electromagnetic compatibility, and space power systems. During that time, he also developed academic liaisons at University of Houston - Clear Lake as an adjunct professor then research assistant professor in the Physics Department. He also served as a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute in the Power Delivery and Utilization sector, and as chief scientist at NPL Associates Inc., a small firm focused in plasma and nuclear technologies. More recently, he joined the senior R&D staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the Electrical and Electronics Systems Research Division.
He is a distinguished research staff member and a group leader of Materials Chemistry at the Chemical Sciences Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a Distinguished UT-Battelle Inventor at ORNL, and fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Ceramic Society, ASM International and the Institute of Physics, London. Since 2010, he has served as a joint faculty appointment as a professor with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Bredesen Center. His research spans superconductivity, solar cells, batteries, permanent magnets, geothermal lithium extraction, polymer composites and scintillators. He was named the Lockheed-Martin scientist of the year in 1997. He has authored or co-authored more than 400 journal publications and issued 31 U.S. patents related to superconductivity, energy storage, and solar cells. He has commercialized and licensed his technologies to six companies. He has won several awards, including U.S. Department of Energy outstanding mentor awards, five R&D 100 Awards, and three National and two Regional Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Awards. His current research focuses on the development of scintillators for neutron detection, radiation resistant polymer composites, critical materials research including additive manufacturing of permanent magnets, lithium separation from geothermal brine, and energy storage materials.
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