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Meet Dr. Rui Fan

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Ritchie School Communications Team

Advancing the Electricity Infrastructure in Smart City Research

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Prefer reading over video? Check out the transcript below. 

Dori Othman 

My name is Dori. And this is Rui Fan. He's a new assistant professor of the Ritchie School of Engineering. So, what was your background before coming to DU?

Rui Fan 

I came to the United States in 2011. And I go to Georgia Tech in Atlanta, where I get my masters and PhD degree in electrical engineering. So after graduation in 2016, I went to the Pacific Northwest National Lab which is located in Washington State. So, I go there to be a full-time research engineer, doing some research about the national grids and how to make them more resilient. So, I have been there for three years, which is very good. And I like the three years, then I got an offer from DU, so I came here to be an assistant professor.


So, what are your research interests?


So, in DU I'm in the cluster of Smart Cities, so basically, I'm working in the electricity infrastructure area of the Smart Cities. So, most of my research focus on how to make the modern electricity grid more resilient to either unexpected fault, or to the natural disasters so that we can protect our national grid with much stronger protection methods and to make it so we can recover from the disaster much quicker.


Can you tell us a little bit why you're so interested in your research area?


Sure, yeah. So, because what I'm doing is Electrical Engineering. And this is not a very new area. And it has been in existence since the beginning of when we start to use electricity. The first thing that makes me interesting is that since it's so common, but I don't know too much about that. So that's why I first got access this Electrical Engineering. But then I noticed that even though this has been a research area that has existed for us more than a century. But we still have a lot of challenges coming in from the integration of renewable energies coming from the integration of communication or computer science that we have more threat of the cyber issues. So, we have much mature technologies nowadays, but we are also facing a lot of challenges. And one of my research goals is to protect the electricity infrastructures. So, we can have fewer blackouts. And because electricity is very important to our daily lives, we want to guarantee everyone's access to reliable electricity.


What interests or hobbies do you have outside of DU?


I typically like sports. So, two things that are my most favorite. One is soccer. So, I play soccer and I also play soccer games. So that's something that I'm very interested. Another thing is swimming. So, although I'm not a very good swimmer, but I do like to swim because I feel really free in the water. But after I came to Denver, things become much difficult for me because I'm losing my oxygen at this moment when I do the swimming, but I hope I can get used to it soon.


Do you have any advice for students?


Well, this is a very difficult question to answer because I am a student just three years ago, but I do wish my research and my teaching in Electrical Engineering can attract some of the students because we really need a lot of both entry level also a string of engineers in the Electrical Engineering area, because we have so many infrastructure there but we are shot of personnel. So, the vision of DU is to do public good, and this is kind of public good. I hope I can attract some students and gain their interest in electrical engineering, so they can choose their future career in this area, which will be beneficial to all society.


Thank you, Rui, and welcome to DU.


Yeah, thank you as well.