Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Onur Bilgen, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D. (2010) in Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech (advisors: Daniel J. Inman, Kevin B. Kochersberger)
  • M.S. (2007) in ME, Virginia Tech (advisors: Andrew J. Kurdilla, D. J. Inman, K. B. Kochersberger)
  • B.S. (2005) in ME, Virginia Tech (magna cum laude in honors – Commonwealth Scholar)


Assistant Professor (August 2017 – current)

Rutgers University, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, New Jersey, USA

  • Conducting fundamental research on multi-physics modeling, optimization, experimental characterization, and validation of smart-material-embedded systems and structures.
  • Serving as PI and co-PI on federally funded research grants.
  • Successfully completed federally funded and internal research projects. Authoring and co-authoring research proposals.
  • Currently advising five Ph.D. students, and one M.S. student.
  • Currently supervising three postdoctoral researchers.
  • Teaching undergraduate courses: Design of Mechanisms (MAE 455) and Aerospace Structures (MAE 458).
  • Teaching a new graduate-level hybrid (in-class and online) course: Drones: Fundamentals and Application (MAE 606).
  • Developed and presented the Drone Port Big Idea at the Rutgers 2019 Big Ideas Symposium.
  • Established the Drone Playground, and various related activities.
  • Frequent drone demonstrations to potential donors, prospective students, including a drone demonstration to Mr. Weeks and President Barchi at the opening ceremony for the Weeks Hall.
  • Regularly advising two interdisciplinary capstone senior design projects every year.
  • Regularly advising undergraduate students and research (J.J. Slade and other) projects every year.
  • Smart Systems Summer Internship (S3I): Hosting high-school students for summer research.
  • Organized/chaired multiple international symposia. Chaired and co-chaired many technical sessions.
  • Member of departmental committees and actively involved in service to the community.
  • Director of the Smart Systems Laboratory.

Assistant Professor (July 2012 – July 2017)

  • Old Dominion University, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Virginia, USA

Research Officer (Post-Doctoral) (September 2010 – July 2012)

  • Swansea University, College of Engineering, Swansea, United Kingdom

Graduate Research Assistant (January 2006 – August 2010)

  • Virginia Tech, Mechanical Engineering, Virginia, USA

Graduate Teaching Assistant (August 2005 – December 2005)

  • Virginia Tech, Mechanical Engineering, Virginia, USA


  • Rutgers University 2020 Virtual Commencement Video (Spring 2020):
    • I had the sole responsibility of piloting a DJI Mavic Pro drone and capturing all of the aerial footage that was used in the primary short story entitled “What If?” that was produced by Rutgers iTV Studios.
  • Rutgers Big Ideas Competition and Symposium for the next Rutgers Capital Campaign:
    • The Big Ideas are multidisciplinary, innovative, large-scale projects valued at $25 million or more that have the potential to create lasting, transformational impact by leveraging areas where Rutgers—New Brunswick is already uniquely positioned to lead. I have championed the Rutgers Drone Port Big Idea. Since its initial proposal, the Drone Port Big Idea was the only one related to drones and was selected directly without merging with other proposals. This Big Idea went through two rounds of evaluations and was selected as one of the 40 Big Ideas for the 2019 Big Ideas Symposium. At the Symposium, the attendance was very high, and received 48 written surveys. The final down selection of the eight Big Ideas to proceed to the Capital Campaign have been delayed due to the transition of the President of the University.
  • Rutgers Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Capstone Design Project, Fabrication Award to AE B2-BC Group:
    • Award to Aerospace Engineering Senior Design Project “Solid State Rotor Novel Quadcopter” advised by Onur Bilgen. Students: Calvin Dobrin, Kasey Shneiderovsky, Shah Bano, Dhaval Shah, Sharouqe Ozari, Akshat Patki, Bharg Shah, Ravi Mevawala, Youstina Tawadrous, and William Schwab. Award received on May 17, 2019.
  • SIEMENS 2018 FutureMakers Challenge: Autonomous Agricultural Production using Robotics and AI:
    • Held on May 15-16, 2018 at Rutgers University. Organized by Siemens Corporate Technology. Third place for team Denali: Cody Wright, Team Lead and Ph.D. student in M.E., Manasi Date, M.S. Student in Food Science, Emily McCue, B.S. Student in Environmental Science, and Dante Torello, B.S. Student in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Advisors: Dr. Onur Bilgen, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Dr. Serpil Guran, Director of Rutgers EcoComplex,
  • NSF Fellowship (Travel Support), for the Digital Concrete Conference, Zurich, Switzerland, September 10-12, 2018. (I could not attend this conference due to a conflict in my schedule.)
  • NSF Fellowship (Travel Support), for the NSF Workshop on Additive Manufacturing for Civil Infrastructure Design and Construction, Arlington, Virginia, July 13 – 14, 2017.
  • Excellence in Promoting Undergraduate Research:
    • Certificate in appreciation of dedication to mentoring and promoting undergraduate research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium hosted by the Honors College of Old Dominion University.
  • Shining Star Recognition, ODU Division of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services, Fall 2015.
  • Most Inspirational Faculty Member of Batten College of Engineering and Technology, Old Dominion University, Fall 2013:
    • Selected as the “most inspirational faculty” by the Mechanical Engineering student graduating in Fall 2013 with the highest GPA in the College.
  • BOEING Engineering Student of the Year 2010 Award: 3rd place in the BOEING Flightglobal Achievement Awards 2010.
  • NSF Fellowship (Travel Support), for the ASME 1st Global Congress on NanoEngineering for Medicine and Biology, Houston, Texas, February 7-10, 2010.
  • ASME / BOEING 2008 Structures & Materials Award:
    • Best Paper Award for the paper “Morphing Wing Micro-Air-Vehicles via Macro-Fiber-Composite Actuators” presented at the AIAA SDM 2007 Conference, Honolulu, HI, April 23-26, 2007.
  • Virginia Tech College of Engineering Fellowship, 2005-2006.
  • Virginia Tech University Honors Student, Commonwealth Scholar with Magna cum Laude.
  • Virginia Tech Eleanor Davenport Leadership Scholarship, 2004-2005.
  • Virginia Tech Edward H. Cahill Memorial Scholarship, 2003-2004.
  • Virginia Tech Dean’s List, Fall 2002 – Spring 2005.
  • George Washington University Dean’s Honor List, Spring 2002.
  • George Washington University Presidential Achievement Scholarship, Fall 2002 and Spring 2003.


Graduated Ph.D. Students:

  • Ph.D., 2016 August, Masoud Zarepoor, Dissertation Title: Constrained-Energy Cross-Well Actuation of Bistable Structures. Dr. Zarepoor is currently employed as an Assistant Professor at the Lake Superior State University in Michigan.

Graduated M.S. Students:

  • M.S., 2018 May, Patrick Heaney, NASA 2016-2018 AS&ASTAR Fellowship Recipient, Thesis Title: Distributed Sensing and System Identification of Cantilever Beams and Plates in the Presence of Weak Nonlinearities.
  • M.S., 2016 September, Cody Wright, Thesis Title: Thermo-Mechanical System Identification of a Shape Memory Alloy Actuated Mechanism.
  • M.S., 2016 May, Mehmet Simsek, Thesis Title: A Hybrid Position Feedback Controller for Bistable Structures.
  • M.S., 2015 December, Francis Hauris, Thesis Title: Achieving Wing-Like Structural Response with Piezocomposite Unimorph Thin Plates.
  • M.S., 2015 December, Rebecca Hattery, Thesis Title: Lumped Parameter Modeling and Experimental Evaluation of Piezocomposite Energy Harvesters.
  • M.S., 2013 August, Andrew Kreshock, Thesis Title: Active−Twist Rotor Blades: Design, Analysis, and Testing.

Graduated M.Eng. Students:

  • M.Eng., 2018 May, Jonathan Degroff, Project Title: Hysteresis and Fatigue Characterization of Solid-State, Piezoactive Hinges.
  • M.Eng., 2013 December, Mohammed Taqiuddin, Project Title: Finite Element Analysis of a Piezocomposite Morphing Wing.

Current Ph.D. Students:

  • Cody Wright
  • Mehmet Simsek
  • Hesam Sharghi
  • Xin Shan
  • Mohammad Katibeh

Current M.S. and M.Eng. Students:

  • Bharg Shah


AY 2019-2020:

  • J.J. Slade undergraduate research with Muhammad Khan on computer vision based object recognition and tracking.

Summer 2019:

  • Conducted research with 14 students on various projects: Jonathan Snyder, Bharg Shah, Indrasish Moitra, George Soto, Jacob Kurlantzick, Muhammed Nazim Erol, Jacques Scheire, Andrew Petersen, Johny Khalaf, Anu Daniel, Taylor Reck, Uras Oral (NJIT), Aadil Mahmood, Michael Philip.

AY 2018-2019:

  • Undergraduate research with Jonathan Snyder on photogrammetry and drones.

Summer 2018:

  • Conducted research with four undergraduate students: Forest Song, Akshat Patki, Jonathan Snyder, Dante Torello. (These students also collaborated with high school students for Smart-Systems Summer Camp, and the MAE SLAAM Program.)

AY 2017-2018:

  • Undergraduate research with Forest Song on aerodynamic modeling.


AY 2019-2020: Total of two projects, 12 students.

  • Multi-Mode Hybrid Unmanned Delivery System: Muhammad Khan, Ibrahim Khalifa, Johny Khalaf, Andrew Petersen, Nazim Erol
  • Design and Testing of a Drone to Conduct Zero-G Experiments: Anu Daniel, Taylor Reck, Lauren Malara, Eva Zawazki, Steve Hermida, Rich Cavanaugh, Ciera Fedell

AY 2018-2019: Total of two projects, 19 students.

  • Multi-Mode Hybrid Unmanned Delivery System: Xiaolin Zhong, Shuohuang Yang, Lovjoat Singh, Syed Hyder, Morgan Taylor, Nicholas Bonini, Nathan Yang, Shivani Topiwala, Jessica Tuazon
  • A Novel Quad-Copter “Drone” with Solid-State Rotors: Calvin Dobrin, Kasey Shneiderovsky, Shah Bano, Dhaval Shah, Sharouqe Ozari, Akshat Patki, Bharg Shah, Ravi Mevawala, Youstina Tawadrous, William Schwab

AY 2017-2018: Total of one project, 9 students.

  • Multi-Mode Hybrid Unmanned Delivery System: Yitzhak Roth, Davinder Singh, Devin Basanoo, Imran Samin, Nicholas Bilis, Zhenxu Yang, Kevin Kxu, Zixuan He, Brian Morales


  • ASME SMASIS Conference, Emerging Technologies Symposium – Symposium Chair 2018 and 2019
  • ASME SMASIS Conference, Integrated System Design and Implementation Symposium (ISDIS) – Symposium Chair 2015 and 2016, Symposium Co-Chair 2013 and 2014, Session Chair since 2013
  • ASME ASMS Active Material Technologies and Integrated Systems Technical Committee – Committee Chair 2018 and 2019, Co-Chair 2016 and 2017
  • ASME ASMS Branch – Member and Webmaster since 2012
  • ASME SMASIS 2013, Bio-Inspired Smart Materials and Systems Symposium – Session Chair
  • AIAA Adaptive Structures Technical Committee - Member
  • ASME ASMS Mechanics & Behavior of Active Materials Technical Committee - Member
  • ASME ASMS Bio-Inspired Smart Materials and Systems Technical Committee – Member


  • Rutgers University 2020 Virtual Commencement Video (Spring 2020): Responsible piloting a drone and capturing all of the aerial footage that was used in the primary short story entitled “What If?” that was produced by Rutgers iTV Studios.
  • Remote / Online Instruction Development (Spring 2020: March – April): Co-developed the MAE Guide for Remote Instruction for transition to remote teaching due to the closure of the University due to COVID-19.
  • Remote / Online Assessment Development (Spring 2020: April): Developed the MAE Guide for Remote Assessment for the transition to remote assessment due to the closure of the University due to COVID-19.
  • Engineering Students Project Studio (Fall 2019 – Spring 2020): Member of the SOE Design Proposal Evaluation Committee, participating in the Design Development Process, representing the Rutgers Formula Racing Team.
  • ASME EFx Event (Summer-Fall 2019): Co-advised students, helped with the organization, and held two “Introduction to Drones” sessions at the event.
  • Drone Port Big Idea (Spring-Fall 2019): Development and presentation of the Rutgers Drone Port Big Idea. Presented the Big Idea at the 2019 Rutgers Big Ideas Symposium.
  • Buehler Aerospace (Drone) Lab Instrumentation (Spring-Summer 2019): Design, purchase and installation of the VICON motion capture system for the laboratory.
  • Rutgers Drone Playground (Fall 2017 – Summer 2018): Designed and established the Rutgers Drone Playground, and continuing to work on various related projects, and on unique collaborations.
  • Women Engineers Day (Spring 2019): Drone demonstration.
  • E-WEEK (since Fall 2017): Participating in various events in Engineers Week. Competed in the Cardboard Canoe Race since Fall 2017.
  • MAE Meet and Greet (Fall 2018): Drone demonstrations for the MAE Alumni attend the meet and greet event.
  • MAE Orientation (Fall 2018): Presentation for Dr. Asimina Pelegri.
  • Admitted Students Day (since Fall 2017): Participation by Drone and Smart-Systems Demonstrations in all of the Admitted Student Day events.
  • Coffee and Tea Social for MAE Faculty and Students: Proposed and established the event with Haym Benaroya. Since Summer 2018.
  • SOE/MAE Open House (since Fall 2017): Participation by Drone and Smart-Systems Demonstrations.
  • Commencement Marshal (May 2018 and 2019: Served as commencement marshal.
  • Rutgers Day (since Fall 2017): Participation by Senior Design, Drone and Smart-Systems Demonstrations.
  • Honors College Luncheon (Spring 2018)
  • Table Talk with the Deans (Fall 2017 and Fall 2018): Participated in the event organized by Jean Patrick Antoine.
  • Occasionally standing in for the MAE Secretary for recording MAE Faculty Meeting minutes. Helping the MAE Secretary with meeting minutes when unavailable. AY 2018-2019.
  • Many drone demonstrations for the College and the Department, and other service activities.
  • Rutgers Formula Racing (since Fall 2017): Advisor.


  • Drone and Smart Systems (Research) Demonstrations: Approximately two demonstrations per semester to visiting K-12 students who are potential Rutgers students.
  • Young Engineers Day (Spring 2019): Drone building exercise.
  • Rutgers Campus Walking Tours (Fall 2018): Drone demonstrations.
  • MAE SLAAM Program (Summer 2018): Participated in the SLAAM program organized by Dr. Kimberly Cook-Chennault.
  • Smart Systems Summer Camp (S3C), Summer 2018, 2019: Mentoring high school students from various STEM academies in the central NJ region. Also mentoring undergraduate students for undergraduate research. The summer camp is an intensive 4-6 week research program – this program has been voluntarily initiated and is executed by Onur Bilgen.
  • Smart Systems Summer Camp (S3C), Summer 2014 - 2017: Mentoring high school students from two STEM academies from Virginia Beach, VA, and Chesapeake, VA. The summer camp is an intensive 4-6 week research program – this program has been voluntarily initiated by Onur Bilgen.
  • STEM Robotics Technical Advisor, Fall 2012 – Spring 2014: Mentored elementary school students to learn about STEM opportunities through robotics. Worked with Ms. Emily Rathbone and Ms. Christina Troxell at the Shelton Park Elementary School, in cooperation with Virginia Beach City Public Schools, to help students prepare for the STEM Robotics Challenge on May 31, 2013. At the 2013 competition, The Lions team advanced to semi-finals and achieved 29th position with a total of 53 points.
  • DC STEM Fair – ASME Washington DC Section Special Award Judge, March 23, 2013: Participated in the fair, held at the Wilson High School of DC Public Schools, for selecting a special award recipient with the special award coordinator Paul Biztop and two other judges.
  • STEM Presentation for 7th Grade Students, 2009: Taught a lecture and gave a presentation/demonstration at a 7th grade science class at the James Madison Middle School in Roanoke, Virginia.
  • STEM Presentation for 6th Grade Students, 2007: Taught a lecture and gave a presentation/demonstration at a 6th grade science class at the West Wood Middle School in Danville, Virginia.

SERVICE – JOURNAL REVIEWS (31 Different Journals)

  • Actuators, MDPI (open access)
  • Advances in Aircraft and Aerospace Science, Techno Press (open access)
  • Aerospace, MDPI (open access)
  • Aerospace Science and Technology, Elsevier
  • AIAA Journal, AIAA
  • Applied Mathematical Modelling, Elsevier
  • Canadian Aeronautics and Space Journal, CASI
  • Composite Structures, Elsevier
  • European Physical Journal, EDP Sciences - Springer
  • Experimental Mechanics, Springer
  • International Journal of Structural Stability and Dynamics, World Scientific
  • Journal of Aeronautics & Aerospace Engineering, OMICS (open access)
  • Journal of Aircraft, AIAA
  • Journal of Composite Materials, SAGE
  • Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, AIAA
  • Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, SAGE
  • Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, IOPscience
  • Journal of Sound and Vibration, Elsevier
  • Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems, NRC Research Press
  • Journal of Vibration and Acoustics, ASME
  • Journal of Vibration and Control, SAGE
  • Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, Elsevier
  • Nonlinear Dynamics, Springer
  • Sensors Journal, IEEE
  • Sensors, MDPI (open access)
  • Shock and Vibration, Hindawi (open access)
  • Smart Materials and Structures, IOP
  • Smart Materials Research, Hindawi (open access)
  • Smart Structures and Systems, Techno Press (open access)
  • Transactions on Industrial Electronics, IEEE
  • Transactions on Mechatronics, IEEE / ASME


  • ASME SMASIS Conference, regular reviewer since 2013
  • AIAA SciTech - Adaptive Structures Conference, regular reviewer since 2013
  • SPIE Smart Structures/NDE Conference, SPIE/ASME Best Student Paper Presentation Contest, regular judge since 2013
  • 2015 AIAA SciTech Conference – Unmanned Systems, reviewer
  • 2013 & 2014 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition, reviewer
  • 2014 DOD/ASEE NDSEG Fellowship Panel, reviewer