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Learn more about Mentors, Participants, and Research at NETL


The Research Associate Spotlights and Mentor Profiles will be published quarterly to showcase what our research associates are learning and their valuable contributions to energy research at NETL. In addition, we will highlight the important role the Lab’s researchers play in guiding them toward success. Click on the links below to learn more! 

Click to explore current and past participants.

Meet a Participant

NETL’s research associates are selected from an elite pool of candidates and represent the best and brightest in their fields. Our program participants are eager to learn and excited to make an impact in the energy industry. The research associates represent a diverse set of individuals from the United States and over 25 countries. These participants are the key to securing our nation’s energy future and advancing energy technology.

Fai Xue

Name: Preom Sarkar

Hometown: Hatfield, Pennsylvania

Education: Bachelor’s degree in bioengineering from Lehigh University (2018) and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (2019). Currently pursuing a doctorate in environmental engineering at CMU.

Research Project: Water Management of Power Systems Task 6.0 – Biological Treatment of FGD Effluent Streams

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Youhai Wen

Name: Djuna Gulliver

Position: Research scientist – Geomicrobiology

How long have you been at NETL? 12 years

How long have you been a mentor to research associates? 8 years

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Fai Xue

Name: Fei Xue

Hometown: Hebei Province, China

Education: PhD degree in Materials Science and Engineering (minor in Computational Science) from the Pennsylvania State University, and bachelor degree in Physics from Nanjing University

Research Project: Mechanical degradation modeling of materials used in energy application

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Youhai Wen

Name: Youhai Wen

Position: General Engineer

How long have you been at NETL? 11 years

How long have you been a Mentor to Research Associates? 10 years

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Nageswara Lalam

Name: Dr Nageswara Lalam

Hometown: Visakhapatnam, India


  • PhD\Electrical Engineering, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK.
  • Masters\Wireless Communications Systems Engineering, University of Greenwich, London, UK.
  • B.Tech\Electronics and Communications Engineering, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Kakinada, India.

Research Project: I am developing novel fiber-optic sensor systems for natural gas infrastructure monitoring.

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Michael Buric, Ph.D

Name: Michael Buric     

Position: Staff Scientist, Functional Materials Team, Research and Innovation Center

How long have you been at NETL? 10 years

How long have you been a Mentor to Research Associates? More than 6 years

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Kristyn Johnson

Name: Kristyn Johnson

Hometown: Williamson, West Virginia


  • West Virginia University: BS Mechanical Engineering (2018)
  • West Virginia University: BS Aerospace Engineering (2018)
  • West Virginia University: PhD Mechanical Engineering (In Progress 2021)

Research Project: Combustion feature characterization using real-time computer vision diagnostics within a rotating detonation engine (RDE)

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Don Ferguson

Name: Don Ferguson

Position: Research mechanical engineer, principal investigator for Pressure Gain Combustion Project

How long have you been at NETL? 19 years

How long have you served as a mentor for research associates? Since 2008

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