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Join us!

The lab is committed to strong student mentoring, career and professional development, and recruitment of diverse and minority candidates. 

Ph.D. Positions

Ph.D. openings at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Denver in interdisciplinary studies in (1) Experimental fluid dynamics and (2) Renewable energy

2025 Spring/2025 Fall: One opening in Experimental Fluid Dynamics [Experience in flow diagnostic techniques and multiphase flow are highly desired]

Qualifications (Required)

  • GPA > 3.25/4.0 

  • Programming skills (MATLAB and Python)

  • A Bachelor's or Master's degree (desired) in Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering, Wind Energy, Computer Science, Meteorology, or relevant fields. 

  • Solid education background in renewable energy or thermal fluid sciences (experimental fluid dynamics), or meteorology
  • Be enthusiastic, passionate, and has a deep interest in the subject of research
  • Good communication and writing skills

Qualifications (Highly Preferred)

Position in Experimental Fluid Dynamics:

  • Prior experience working with optical flow diagnostic techniques -  PIV, PTV, MTT, Schilieren imaging, and infrared thermometry

  • Prior experience in low-speed wind tunnel testing

  • Solid knowledge/skillsets in aerodynamics, multiphase flows, and flow control 

  • Prior experience working with CFD simulation tools, such as OpenFOAM 

Position in Renewable Energy:

  • Programming skills (R, Fortran, C++, etc.), data-intensive processing, and data-driven modeling

  • Prior experience working with weather/climate simulation tools - WRF or MPAS

  • Prior experience in wind power forecasting

  • Prior experience in wind turbine modeling tools, such as OpenFAST
  • Prior experience working with field measurement - LiDAR, drone imaging

  • Prior experience in machine learning tools, such as Meta-learning

Before you apply

Read this: 10 reasons Ph.D. students fail

Consider three questions first:

  • Whether a Ph.D. training can help you achieve your life goal?

  • Whether you are passionate about research and willing to devote enormous amounts of time and effort to it?

  • Whether you have the following qualities to be a successful Ph.D. student: perseverance, tenacity, and cogency?

Prospective students interested in pursuing research send the following information to Dr. Gao with the subject of “Ph.D. opening” to discuss the potential research projects and their interests before applying in a single email. 

  • One-page cover letter demonstrating: why you’d like to do scientific research, why you are a good fit for our lab, what your long-term career goals and aspirations are, and what your expectations are. 

  • CV / Resume (with research experience and products)

  • Unofficial copies of university transcript

  • Publications, slides, posters, etc. (if any) to show your research or project experience and skills


Submit a complete official application for the Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) Ph.D. program by February 15 for Fall admissions and September 15 for Spring admissions. More detailed information can be found here

Postdoc Applicants

Prospective postdoc interested in pursuing research send the following information to Dr. Gao with the subject of “Postdoc opening” to discuss the potential research projects and their interests in a single email. 

  • Two-page cover letter demonstrating

    • ​Your major achievements/contributions during Ph.D. with a background in experimental thermal fluid: experimental fluid dynamics, multiphase flows, flow control, aerodynamics, and heat transfer, etc. 

    • Your career plan after postdoc training, and your research plan in our lab

    • Communication and writing skills, as evidenced by publications

    • Hands-on experience in utilizing optics-based flow diagnostic techniques such as PIV, PTV, LIF, etc, as evidenced by publications

  • CV/Resume with the minimum following information 

    • Education background, degree dates, GPA with scale, name and contact information of your PhD advisor

    • Relevant work experience in experimental fluid dynamics

    • A list of journal and conference publications

    • Contact information of at least three references

Undergraduate/Master Students

Undergraduate and master's students who are interested in our group, please send the following information to Dr. Gao in a single email. 

  • CV / Resume 

  • Unofficial copies of university transcript (Minimum GPA: 3.25)

  • One paragraph demonstrating: why you'd like to do research 

Lab Director Prof. Gao is committed to providing mentorship to undergraduate students who possess a passion for research. Prof. Gao serves as EURēCA! Faculty Mentor at CU Denver. 

K-12 Students

K-12 students are welcome to visit our lab during the summer and get hands-on research experience

Visiting Scholars

Please send the following information to Dr. Gao in a single email. 

  • CV / Resume

  • The period during which you’d like to visit

  • How you will fund the visit

  • J-1 Visa is required (for international visiting students/scholars) 

  • Unofficial copies of university transcript (only for students)

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