Mechanical and nuclear engineering professor receives U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Early Career Award

Lane Carasik, Ph.D., is one of 93 researchers chosen nationwide and the first of VCU faculty to receive this prestigious award.

Lane Carasik, Ph.D.
Lane Carasik, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

Mechanical and nuclear engineering assistant professor Lane Carasik, Ph.D., has been chosen to receive the 2023 Early Career Award from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

The grant will provide $875,000 over five years to fund thermal hydraulics focused research involving liquid immersion blanket systems and supporting future fusion energy pilot plants.

"I’m extremely excited about this award and project. It will fund foundational work needed for fusion energy systems utilizing molten salt blanket systems for heat removal and power production,” said Carasik.

With the help of his 2022-23 senior design team, which consisted of three undergraduate student researchers, Carasik developed the preliminary data necessary for securing this grant. In addition, Carasik attributes his success to the mentorship of Elizabeth Sooby, Ph.D., University of Texas San Antonio, Leigh Winfrey, Ph.D., SUNY Maritime College and the expertise of VCU Engineering’s grants team.

“This project will support at least one Ph.D. student and multiple undergraduate student researchers to receive education, training, and development opportunities in the fusion energy sciences field. Further, this project will engage VCU's McNair scholar program intended to mentor undergraduate students from underrepresented, underserved, and first generation populations.”

Carasik’s research at VCU is focused on the development of technology for fusion energy systems, intersecting into other clean energy technologies, such as solar and nuclear power.

“My research focus includes both computational and experimental studies to understand the engineering impacts and underlying physics that govern those impacts,” said Carasik.

“Supporting America’s scientists and researchers early in their careers will ensure the U.S. remains at the forefront of scientific discovery and develops the solutions to our most pressing challenges, said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “This funding will allow the recipients the freedom to find the answers to some of the most complex questions as they establish themselves as experts in their fields.”