Professor Accepts UW School of Energy Resources Appointment

A professor who built his faculty career at the University of Wyoming has accepted a joint appointment to the UW School of Energy Resources (SER) and the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS).

Mohammad Piri, who has earned global acclaim for his work in petroleum engineering, begins his new appointment July 1.

"I am pleased and honored to accept this position," says Piri, who is currently an associate professor of petroleum engineering. "And I'm very happy to be part of the University of Wyoming."

The joint appointment means  Piri will continue his work in petroleum and chemical engineering while giving him a chance to lead an effort to build linkages among the College of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Energy Resources, other colleges at UW that have active energy programs, and the private sector.

Piri heads up the Piri Research Group at UW, which studies interfacial and pore-scale transport in porous media. This work is critical to understanding how fluids, such as natural gas, flow through pores in geologic formations. He also co-directs (with Felipe Pereira, SER professor of mathematics) the Center for the Fundamentals of Subsurface Flow, a multidisciplinary team of UW faculty who conduct broad research leading to computer simulation of fluid flow in porous media.

Earlier this year, Piri oversaw the installation of the most advanced high-resolution 3-D X-ray microscope available, making UW the first university to put the state-of-the-art tool in the hands of faculty and researchers to increase their understanding of underground reservoirs of oil and natural gas. The installation was the second in a three-phase program. The third phase calls for installing nano-level imaging capabilities to map the smallest of media and equip the facility, as a whole, to gather images from meter to nanometer resolution.

"Mohammad has a track record of research that shows innovation, creativity and scholarship at the highest level," SER Director Mark Northam says. "SER is extremely fortunate to have an engineer of his caliber as one of our distinguished faculty."

Northam says Piri's interaction with private-sector partners has enabled him to advance his contribution to reservoir characterization and simulation rapidly.

"We see this as an opportunity to extend the reach of our work in the College of Engineering and at UW," says David Bagley, department head of chemical and petroleum engineering. "It also allows us to leverage our resources to keep pace with demands of building knowledge in this field."