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Former students, Associates and Visitors 

Hyrum D. LeflerHyrum D. Lefler

Hyrum was raised in southern Utah, where he earned his first bachelor’s degree (BA Statesmanship), and worked as a construction foreman on residential and commercial projects before becoming a manager at an internet marketing company, and also serving as Mayor of the Town of Leeds, UT. After these experiences, Hyrum decided to return to school to pursue a career in engineering. During his time as an undergraduate at the University of Utah, he worked as an intern for Rio Tinto (May 2012 – March 2014) on their Chalcopyrite Heap Leach Project at the Bingham Canyon. He graduated, with Honors, in May of 2015.

During his senior year Hyrum worked for Dr. Fang as an Undergraduate Research assistant on the HAMR project (Hydrogen Assisted Magnesium Reduction), which is funded by ARPA-E of the Department of Energy, and after graduation he was accepted to graduate school at the University of Utah, where he continues to work on the HAMR project. His focus is on removal of impurities from Ti-slag, the mechanisms and kinetics (including modeling) of direct reduction in the HAMR process, and techno-economic analysis of the HAMR process for optimization and comparison purposes as it moves towards scale-up to commercialization.

In his spare time, Hyrum enjoys writing fiction, reading, hiking, camping, and playing the piano. He and his wife Tessa have six children, and love spending time together as a family.

Matt DunstanDr. Matt Dunstan

Matt Dunstan was born and raised in Ypsilanti, Michigan and came to the University of Utah in 2011 to study Metallurgical Engineering. During his undergraduate studies Matt joined Dr. Fang’s research team working on the titanium hydrogen sintering phase transformation (HSPT) project and was immediately attracted to the researching scene. As an undergraduate researcher Matt was able to present his work on the compaction characteristics of TiH2 powders at the 2014 Powder Metallurgy World Conference in Orlando, Florida. Matt was as an intern for the small turbine engine company Williams International in Walled Lake, Michigan during the summer of 2013. During this internship Matt gained valuable experience in industry that has changed the course of his career pursuits.

After graduating in 2014 Matt stayed with Dr. Fang’s research group in pursuit of a PhD. Specifically Matt is studying the microstructural and mechanical characteristics of the HSPT process.

Outside of research Matt loves to spend time with his wife and three children.

Dr. Ying ZhangDr. Ying Zhang

Ying Zhang comes from Beijing, China. She got her Bachelor’s degree in Central South University (2006), then continued her successive postgraduate and doctoral program under the supervision of Prof. Yi Zhang and Prof. Shili Zheng in Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IPE-CAS, Beijing), and graduated in 2011. Since then, she started her work career in Prof. Zheng’s group as an assistant professor. Her main research interests are hydrometallurgy and cleaner production. In February of 2014, she joined Dr. Z. Zak Fang's group as a post-doc researcher, focusing on the research of novel titanium metal production technology. She left the group in November 2016, after providing indespensible contributions to the project.

Omar KergayeOmar Kergaye

Omar Kergaye was born and raised in Utah. He did his undergraduate degree in metallurgy and studied iron powder flash processes. Upon graduation Omar joined the Fang research group in the summer of 2016, studying high temperature titanium powder metallurgy. After two years he finished his work and received his masters. Till this day, Omar is an avid gamer and enjoys outdoor recreational activities such as fishing and hiking.

Zhe HuangZhe Huang

Zhe was born in Maanshan city, Anhui province in China. He graduated from Kunming University of Science and Technology in China in 2013 and started his graduate study in the Department of Metallurgical Enigeering in the University of Utah in Spring of 2014. His research area is on the new extraction process of Titanium.

Huan ZhangHuan Zhang

Huan was born in QianJiang, China. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Design and Manufacture in 2014 from the College of Technology and Engineering at Yangtze University. Areas of her study have included advanced mathematics, college physics, metal processing technology, principles of mechanics, technology of exchangeability measurement, mechanics of materials, mechanical designing, mechanical engineering materials, digit control techniques, mechanic engineering control, and CAD/CAM/CAE.

She is currently pursuing a master’s degree here at the University of Utah, and looks forward to graduating and moving into a position offering challenge and responsibility in the realm of mechanical design, manufacturing, and/or working with advanced materials. In her spare time, Huan enjoys traveling and reading.

Dr. Chengshang ZhouDr. Chengshang Zhou

Chengshang (Shawn) Zhou is from Changsha, China. He received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Wuhan University of Technology, and M. E. in Materials Science from Central South University in China. He spent five years researching in microwave sintering/heating technique and powder metallurgy. Then he joined Prof. Fang’s group in 2011 and received his Ph.D in 2015. His research project was advanced magnesium based hydrides and development of metal hydride thermal battery system.

Taylor SmithTaylor Smith

Taylor began working as an undergraduate on one of the titanium projects. He assisted  graduate students with tasks such as operating the furnaces, leaching, diluting acids and bases, etc. He currently works as the Quality Assurance Metallurgist at the Cold Finish and Wire Products for Nuccor Steel. He enjoys learning and playing with his dog. 

Lu YangLu Yang

Lu Yang was born in Jiangxi province, China. She received her B.S. in materials science and engineering from Beijing university of Technology in 2012, and then she joined Dr. Fang’s group as a graduate research assistant in Fall, 2012. Currently she is working on studying of powder metallurgy processing steps aiming to reduce oxygen content in titanium hydride.

Lin GuLin Gu

Lin Gu (Raymond.G) comes from Wuhan, China. He received his B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from both China University of Petroleum Beijing, and University of Alaska Fairbanks. As a graduate research assistant, he works on tungsten and tungsten carbide. Currently he is involved in Kingdream Public Limited Company’s diamond-tungsten metal project.

Xiangyi LuoXiangyi Luo

Xiangyi Luo was born and raised in several riverside cities in the south of China. She received her B.S. from Peking University in 2008, before coming to the University of Utah for a graduate degree. She joined Dr. Fang's group in 2011, and began the graduate work in electrode materials of rechargeable Li-air battery, in cooperation with Argonne National Laboratory.

In her spare time, she likes travelling, reading, swimming, and volleyball.

Bo LiuBo Liu

Bo Liu graduated from Xi’an Jiaotong University in China. He received M.S. of thermal physics engineering in HUAXZHONG UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. He began studying at University of Utah for PH.D degree in 2009. In 2011, he was engaged in developing new anode material for Li-ion batteries in Argonne National Laboratory.

Jingzhu Li (April)Jingzhu Li (April)

Jingzhu Li (April) is from Yichun, a city plenty of gorgeous scenery as well as lithium resources in west Jiangxi, China. In 2011, she got her Bachelor’s degree in Materials Science & Engineering, Central South University. Then she came to Utah to pursue her Master’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering, University of Utah. She was involved in the Metal Hydrides Thermal Battery project and focused mainly on the kinetics of metal hydrides. She now works in the Oil and Gas Industry.

She loves music, photography, camping and skiing.

Scott MiddlemasScott Middlemas

Scott was born and raised in Sandy, Utah. He joined Dr. Fang's group in 2008 as an undergraduate research assistant working on functionally-graded WC-Co and hydrogen storage alloys. He received his B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Utah in 2009 and began his graduate studies with Dr. Fang that same year. He graduated with his Ph. D in Metallurgical Engineering in 2013. His dissertation was titled “Energy-Conscious Production of Titania and Titanium Powders from Slag,” and involved developing and modeling the environmental impact of two new hydrometallurgical methods for upgrading titanium slag to commercially pure titanium dioxide and titanium metal powders. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Army Research Laboratories. Scott enjoys biking, hiking, running, and spending time with his wife and 3 children.

Dr. Xu WangDr. Xu Wang

Xu Wang was born in Beipiao, Liaoning, China. He received his B.S./M.S. in materials science at the University of Science and Technology Beijing China and Ph.D. degree in Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Utah.

In our group researched nano tungsten materials for future fusion reactors to make the ultimate energy for humans. His research interests included Nano Powder Metallurgy, Functional designed microstructure, Hard & Superhard Materials, and Surface Engineering. He currently works at Federal Carbide Company in PA.

He likes reading, playing tennis, and doing new things.

Dr. Jun GuoDr. Jun Guo

Jun (Jane) Guo was born in Ganzhou City (China), known as the "Tungsten Capital of the World". She received her bachelor’s degree from Central South University in China in 2006 and her doctoral degree in Metallurgical Engineering from University of Utah in 2010.

In our group she also did early research on a low cost process for producing TiH2/Ti powder by the direct reduction of Ti slag with MgH2. Her research interests included powder metallurgy, functionally graded cemented tungsten carbide, thermal energy storage, porous Ti foam, etc. She currently works at Federal Carbide Company in PA.

Brady ButlerBrady Butler

Brady currently works as a Materials Engineer at Army Research Lab in Baltimore, MD.

Hongtao WangHongtao Wang

Hongtao Wang was born in Liaoning, China. He is researching Sintering and Grain Growth of Nanosized Powders. He enjoys basketball, watching movies, travelling and hiking.

Gabriel Almeida de OliveiraGabriel Almeida de Oliveira

Gabriel was born and raised in Fortaleza, the capital city of Ceara, Brazil. He is an undergraduate in Metallurgical Engineering at the Federal University of Ceara (UFC). He has worked as a part-time teacher for freshman students and as a laboratory assistant at the UFC.

Currently, Gabriel is on an exchange program at the University of Utah for the 2014-15 academic year. He is working as an undergraduate research assistant on the Direct Reduction of Titanium Slag (DRTS) project, where his main task is to help the graduate students on the execution of leaching, roasting, reduction and chemical analysis procedures.

In his spare time, he likes reading, hiking and travelling.

David HardingDavid Harding

Dr. Olapado EsoDr. Oladapo Eso

Jun LuDr. Jun Lu

Habio ZhangDr. Haibo Zhang

Vineet KumarVineet Kumar, MS

Peng Fang



Dr. Mao WuDr. Mao Wu, Visiting Scholar

Mao Wu was born in Sichuan, China. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in materials science at the University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB), China. After that, he worked as a post doctor in USTB in Prof. Hongming Zhu’s group for 2 years. Since 2012, he became a young teacher in Prof. Xuanhui Qu’s group in Institute for Advanced Materials and Technology, USTB. His main research fields include: microelectronic packaging, material joining, metal-based composites.

In 2013, He joined Prof. Fang’s group in University of Utah as a visiting scholar, and currently focus on the research of nano tungsten materials.

Weiping Tian

Hai Li


Last Updated: 5/14/21