Ricardo Mejia

Ricardo Mejia

Ricardo Mejia

Assistant Professor


Dr. Ricardo Mejia-Alvarez obtained his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from The National University of Colombia in 2000 (Summa Cum Laude), and a MSc degree in Thermal Engineering in 2004 from the Universidad de Antioquia - Colombia. He obtained a MSc and a PhD degree in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Mejia-Alvarez joined the Physics Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2010, where he conducted research in shock-driven instabilities for the experimental campaign on nuclear fusion of the DOE-National Nuclear Security Administration. In 2016, Dr. Mejia-Alvarez joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University, where he is currently the director of the Laboratory for the Physics of Living Tissue Under Severe Interactions. At MSU, he studies the mechanics of blast and blunt Traumatic Brain Injury.

Dr. Mejia-Alvarez was the recipient of the 2011 Francois Frenkiel Award for Fluid Dynamics from the American Physical Society.

Specific Research Area:

Laboratory for the Physics of Living Tissue Under Severe Interactions (PLUTSI) uses high-resolution three-dimensional ultrahigh-speed imaging techniques and complex dynamic loading of brain tissue, cell cultures, and surrogate models of the brain to unveil the mechanics of blast-induced and blunt Traumatic Brain Injury, both at the macro- and microscopic levels. The laboratory also uses patient-specific surrogate models of diseased arteries to study the hemodynamics of human aneurysms.

Dr.Mejia-Alvarez's research requires developing challenging, non-conventional, facilities and experimental diagnostics. He is interested in helping enthusiastic students to reach their full potential through solving problems that are relevant to the advancement of science, technology, and society.  

Research Area
2016 Pollution Prevention Award. Los Alamos National Laboratory, April 2016.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2015.
LANL Campaign 4 Saturn Award. Los Alamos National Laboratory, June 2013.
Excellence in Laboratory Standards. Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2012.
Francois Frenkiel Award for Fluid Mechanics. Division of Fluid Dynamics of the American Physical Society, 2011.
James O. Smith Memorial Award for teaching excellence. Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007.
List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent. Fall 2005, Spring 2006, Summer 2006, Fall 2006. Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
National Contest for Academic Excellence – Universidad de Antioquia’s 200th anniversary. Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, 2002.
Best Theses National Contest. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2001.
Summa Cum Laude. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2001.
Honor Mention. Colombian National Army, 1993.
Ph.D. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010
M.S. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006
M.S. Thermal Engineering, Universidad de Antioquia – Colombia, 2004
B.S. Mechanical Engineering (Summa Cum Laude), Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2000
S.T. Miller, C.F. Cooper, P. Elsbernd, J. Kerwin, R. Mejia-Alvarez and A.M. Willis. Localizing Clinical Patterns of Blast Traumatic Brain Injury Through Computational Modeling and Simulation. Frontiers in Neurology. 12:459 (2021). doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.547655.
S. Vidhate, A. Willis, and R. Mejia-Alvarez. Experimental Technique to Generate Complex Pressure Cycles in TBI-related In-vitro or Ex-vivo Samples. Experimental Techniques (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40799-021-00453-5.
M. Tartis, A. Wermer, J. Kerwin, R. Mejia-Alvarez, and A. Willis. Materials Characterization of Cranial Simulants for Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury. Military Medicine. 185(S1):205-213 (2020). doi: 10.1093/milmed/usz228.
B. Wilson, R. Mejia-Alvarez, and K. Prestridge. Single-interface Richtmyer-Meshkov turbulent mixing at the Los Alamos Vertical Shock Tube. ASME Journal of Fluids Engineering. 138(7): 070901 (2016).
R. Mejia-Alvarez, B. Wilson, M. Leftwich, A. Martinez and K. Prestridge. Design of a Fast Diaphragmless Shock Tube Driver. Shock Waves. 25(6):635-650 (2015).
R. Mejia-Alvarez, Y. Wu, and K.T. Christensen. Observations of Meandering Superstructures in the Roughness Sublayer of a Rough-Wall Turbulent Boundary Layer. International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow. 48:43-51 (2014).
R. Mejia-Alvarez and K.T. Christensen. Wall-parallel stereo PIV measurements in the roughness sublayer of turbulent flow overlying highly-irregular roughness. Physics of Fluids. 25(11):115109 (2013).
R. Mejia-Alvarez and K.T. Christensen. Polymer-Induced Turbulence Modifications in an Impinging Jet. Experiments in Fluids. 52(5):1237-1260 (2012)
J.A. Palmer, R. Mejia-Alvarez, J.L. Best and K.T. Christensen. Particle-Image Velocimetry Measurements of Flow Over Interacting Barchan Dunes. Experiments in Fluids. 52(3):809-829 (2012).
G. Friedman, K.P. Prestridge, R. Mejia-Alvarez and M. Leftwich. Shock-driven mixing: experimental design and initial conditions. In: Proceedings of the 17th Biennial Conference of the American Physical Society Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter (APS-SCCM). Chicago, IL. USA, June 26th - July 1st, 2011. AIP Conf. Proc. 1426, pp. 1647-1650.
R. Mejia-Alvarez and K.T. Christensen. Low-Order Representations of Irregular Surface Roughness and Their Impact on a Turbulent Boundary Layer. Physics of Fluids. 22(1):015106 (2010).
Primary Department