MSU's wind research is focused on making wind power as efficient and affordable as possible. MSU research will help reduce the cost of owning and operating wind turbines, increase turbines' life-cycles, and serve as a model for working with local manufacturers to get wind sites up and running smoothly.

Right now, MSU engineers are studying the strength and durability of wind turbine blades, which can account for up to 30 percent of a wind system's initial cost. Other work focuses on turbine generator and power control systems. MSU-spurred advances in turbine design and materials will help reduce the cost of owning and operating wind turbines.

Other work at MSU has been focused on the manufacturing side of wind power. MSU works with local manufacturers to commercialize its research, making it possible for companies to build turbine components locally. This new manufacturing will produce technical jobs for the state for years to come.

Wind turbine installed at MSU.Engineering students and faculty working on wind turbine. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

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Maryam Bahramipanah

Maryam Bahramipanah is an Assistant Professor at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA. She got her Ph.D. degree in power system engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland. She received the M.Sc. degrees in electrical power system engineering from the University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. Maryam is a specialist on power and energy systems with the focus on optimal dynamic control of active distribution power system. Her main expertise is related to develop dynamic and state-of-charge models of different Energy Storage Systems and optimal control of active distribution network.

Prof. Bahramipanah can be reached at 406-994-7603 or [email protected].


Douglas Cairns

Doug Cairns is a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and studies composite materials used in primary structures. This research includes developing materials and manufacturing processes, as well as design, analysis and testing. He is currently working on manufacturing and testing new materials for wind turbine blade structures.

Dr. Cairns can be reached at 406-994-6050 or [email protected].


James Crawford

James Crawford is an Assistant Professor in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at MSU. He is interested in the catalytic transformation of gaseous molecules (CO₂, CO, CH₄, H₂O, H₂, N₂, O₂) into high value fuels, chemicals, and building materials. He is especially interested in studying the similarity between metal-zeolite catalysts and metalloenzymes. Through bioinspired synthesis, in operando characterization, and reaction testing our group hopes to unlock new catalytic possibilities.

Dr. Crawford can be reached at 406-994-7378 or [email protected].


Erick Johnson

Erick Johnson is an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and co-directs the Fluids & Computations Lab with Dr. Mark Owkes. His research focuses on using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and numerical methods to investigate the design of energy systems and to understand the environmental changes to sediment transport, sound propagation, and fish navigation that are caused by water energy systems. This work spans projects in efficiency gains for building energy systems, heat storage in packed beds, analysis of fish passageways, and wind and water turbine design.

Dr. Johnson can be reached at 406-994-6163 or [email protected].


Robb Larson

Robb Larson is an associate professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. He is the director of the Wind Applications Center.

Prof. Larson can be reached at 406-994-6420 or [email protected].


Andrew Laskowski

Andrew Laskowski is an assistant professor in the Earth Sciences Department and is a structural geologist with expertise in continental tectonics, deformation of the Earth’s crust, and relationships between geologic structure and economic resources. Dr. Laskowski is interested in the tectonic processes that create and destroy mountain belts. His research integrates geologic mapping and structural analysis with detrital and igneous U-Pb geochronology, (U-Th)/He thermochronology, and metamorphic petrology to test and/or create tectonic models. He is involved in field-based research focused on extension dynamics, continental subduction, and the suturing process in the western United States and southern Tibet (Xizang), China. Dr. Laswoski is also involved in research that applies detrital zircon geochronology to test provenance, determine maximum depositional ages, and track changes in the geochemistry of magmatism throughout the orogenic cycle.

David Miller

David Miller is a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. Dr. Miller’s energy research focus is on researching composite materials for the wind and marine hydrokinetic industries. His teaching emphasis is on solid mechanics and the senior Capstone course. Before joining MSU, Dr. Miller was a Team Leader and Technical Staff Member at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he performed mechanical testing of special nuclear materials in support of multiple programs.

Prof. Miller can be reached at 406-994-6285 or [email protected].


Zagros Shahooei

Zagros Shahooei is a Teaching Assistant Professor at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. He received his Ph.D. and M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University with a focus in power and energy systems. Zagros also has a M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. With almost 3 years experience in power and energy industry, Zagros has an strong background in power system protection and control. His research interests focus on power system resiliency, modeling and integration of renewable energy sources into the electric grid, power system reliability and stability analysis and power system protection and control.

Dr. Shahooei can be reached at 406-994-5965 or [email protected].


Dr. Ying Zhang

Dr. Ying Zhang received a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University (SMU), Dallas, TX, U.S., in 2020. Her research interests focus on power system situational awareness with high-level renewable integration via optimization and artificial intelligence (AI). She received the Frederick E. Terman Award for Graduate Students in SMU. She authors a dozen publications in flagship journals of electrical engineering, e.g., IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, and IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, etc, including one Global ESI top 1% highly cited paper. She is a member of IEEE, the IEEE Task Force on Performance Evaluation of Distribution System State Estimation, and IEEE Power & Energy Society Women in Power Committee.

Dr. Zhang can be reached at 406-994-4835 or [email protected].