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New Faculty Member, 2023–24

Leixin Ma

Assistant Professor, mechanical and aerospace engineering

Leixin Ma sees Arizona State University as a large institution with plenty of opportunities to meet and collaborate with others. In the fall of 2023, Ma joins the faculty of the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU, following her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Her research focuses on fluid-structure interaction, a field that combines fluid dynamics and structural mechanics to understand fluids flowing around solid or deformable objects. This concept can be found in a variety of scenarios like fish swimming in the ocean and offshore renewable energy systems. 

Ma seeks to understand and utilize the interactions between increasingly complex structures and fluids, which requires techniques beyond traditional analysis tools.

“Fortunately, the recent fast developments in artificial intelligence have revolutionized the way we analyze and predict nonlinear phenomena, and this has shown opportunities to accelerate the physics discovery and structure design process,” Ma says. “I am excited to explore this interdisciplinary area.”

During her time as a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ma worked in Professor J. Kim Vandiver’s Vortex-Induced Vibration group, researching fluid-structure interactions and developing machine learning techniques to help protect large offshore structures. 

Ma has studied the interaction of fluids and offshore structures since her undergraduate days. At Shanghai Jiao Tong University, she completed a bachelor’s degree in naval architecture and marine engineering and then earned the Ho-Ching and Han-Ching Fund Award to continue her education at MIT.

Ma has also been a dedicated educator since she was a graduate student. At MIT, she became part of the university’s Teaching Development Fellows Network to hone her teaching skills with other passionate student educators.

“I like to interact with students in my class and research group and mentor students to become future engineering leaders,” Ma says.

Students will learn from Ma’s expertise in MAE 318 System Dynamics and Control I, an undergraduate-level class for mechanical and aerospace engineering students. In this course, students will use physics and MATLAB programming knowledge to learn how to use mathematical models to characterize and improve dynamical systems, which are physical ensembles that change over time.

“I am also interested in designing courses about the synergic integration of machine learning techniques into traditionally expensive simulations and experiments,” Ma says.

When she’s not researching or teaching, Ma enjoys cooking, traveling and dance yoga.

Meet the newest faculty members of the Fulton Schools of Engineering here.

Written by Monique Clement

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