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ITER 3D plasma equilibrium
This figure shows the ITER plasma surface and toroidal magnetic field coils.
An atomistic model of cellulose (blue) surrounded by lignin molecules (green) comprising of a total of 3.3 million atoms.
Global water vapor
The proper simulation of the distribution of water vapor in the climate system is essential to the accurate treatment of the hydrological cycle and the planetary radiation budget.

Bredesen Center News

  • 10/31/14 - Tennessee Today - Grow Bioplastics Wins Vol Court Pitch Competition

    Grow Bioplastics and its lignin-based plastic and rubber products took first place at the fall 2014 Vol Court Pitch Competition this week, beating out four other potential startups for the top prize. The company uses lignin, a waste stream from the pulp and paper industry, as opposed to petroleum, which is typically used in the manufacturing of plastics and rubber. Jeff Beegle and Tony Bova, both UT energy science and engineering doctoral students and graduate research fellows of the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, pitched their idea before a panel of local judges. Other Grow Bioplastics team members are Missy Showers and Robert Brese, also UT energy science and engineering doctoral students and Bredesen Center fellows.

  • 09/28/14 - Knoxville News Sentinel - Initiative Partners Students with Companies Licensing Technologies

    Tony Bova said he hopes one day to start his own company bringing biobased technologies to market. "We're getting all this invaluable experience on the business side of things that we normally wouldn't get in a regular graduate program," said Bova, a second-year Ph.D. student at the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, a joint doctoral program between the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "We're getting the startup experience as students."

  • 07/11/14 - QUEST - Experimental Education

    Finding solutions to complex energy problems such as storage, sustainability, and the impacts of climate change is vital to the survival of our planet. But because these challenges are affected by so many different factors, a multifaceted approach is required to facilitate new discoveries. This is why the unique doctorate in energy science and engineering degree administered by UT’s Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education was established.

  • 06/24/14 - ORNL News - Bredesen Center Assistant Director Michael L. Simpson named ORNL Corporate Fellow

    Bredesen Center Assistant Director Michael L. Simpson has been named a Corporate Fellow of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Among the lab’s highest honors, the corporate fellow designation recognizes the researchers’ significant accomplishments and continuing leadership in their scientific, engineering and technological fields. Since 2001, Simpson has been a group leader for the Nanofabrication Research Laboratory and theme leader in the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences. His research focus includes noise biology, nano-enabled synthetic biology and controlled synthesis and directed assembly of carbon nanostructures. In 2011, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science following his induction into the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering in 2010 and election as a Fellow of the IEEE in 2008. Simpson has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, garnering nearly 7,500 citations and has been awarded 34 U.S. patents. He is on an external advisory board for the BATOCOM consortium led by Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom, and holds a joint faculty position in the material sciences and engineering department at the University of Tennessee, where he received his doctorate in electrical engineering. He is the assistant director for the Joint ORNL/UTK Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education.

  • 06/10/14 - QUEST - Bredesen Center Student Meng Li is Quest Scholar of the Week

    Meng Li is a senior graduate student in the laboratory of Barry Bruce in the Department of Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology. His research involves the investigation of the structural organization and evolutionary origins of the photosynthetic photosystem I complex (PSI). PSI is one of the largest membrane proteins in nature and a key component for oxygenic photosynthesis. Specifically, Meng has been investigating the structural complexes of this critical photosynthetic center in higher plants and ancestral cyanobacterial bluegreen algal species which are evolutionary progenitors of higher plant chloroplasts.

  • 05/12/14 - Tennessee Today - Five Students Win NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

    Mallory Ladd came to UT from the University of Toledo (Ohio), where she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and played NCAA Division I volleyball. Her dissertation research focuses on how nitrogen affects biogeochemical processes associated with greenhouse gas emissions from warming permafrost soils in the Arctic. She is part of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

  • 05/09/14 - WATE (ABC) - ORNL Scientists Participate in National Study on Climate Change

    The purpose of the research is to inform local governments and communities about the climate effects expected in each region so they can prepare infrastructure systems to be sustainable. “We chose to look at the electrical infrastructure because once that is affected, it can be cascaded throughout the rest of the infrastructure," PhD Candidate in Energy Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Melissa Allen said.

  • 05/06/14 - Tennessee Today - Bredesen Center Graduates First Class, Sees Phenomenal Growth

    Two students will be the first to earn a new doctoral degree Thursday from the Energy Science and Engineering program founded by former governor Phil Bredesen in partnership with the university and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Scott Curran and Vincent Kandagor (pictured standing, from left) will earn their doctorates in energy science and engineering at the university's graduate hooding ceremony tomorrow.

  • 05/02/14 - Tennessee Today - Student at Bredesen Center Wins $50,000 ORNL Prize

    Andrew Lepore, working out of the Materials Science and Technology Division through the center, recently won a prestigious ORNL-related prize at the Next Big Idea competition. Lepore is on track to receive his doctorate in 2016.

  • 04/06/14 - Knoxville News Sentinel - Lee Riedinger: UT part of conversation about country's energy options

    More than 40 of the University of Tennessee’s energy science and engineering graduate students had the honor recently of meeting former U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk. They engaged in a dialogue with him about U.S. energy options, especially the viability of our nation’s most untapped resource, nuclear energy. He was visiting East Tennessee in his role as Co-Chair of The Clean and Safe Energy (CASEnergy) Coalition.

  • 02/24/14 - - Beth Papanek hopes to earn PhD, exit her first start-up in 2016

    By the middle of 2016, Beth Papanek hopes to achieve two major milestones – earn her doctorate from the University of Tennessee (UT) and exit her first start-up. The Illinois native is one of the 80 students who are part of the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, a joint initiative of UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) focused on attracting the nation’s brightest doctoral students in energy science and engineering.

  • 02/12/14 - UT College of Engineering - UT Engineering Professor George Pharr Named to National Academy of Engineering

    George Pharr, Chancellor's Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Joint Faculty Scientist in the Materials Science and Technology Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been named to the National Academy of Engineering. He becomes the fifth NAE member in the College of Engineering.

  • 06/22/13 - Knoxville News Sentinel - Lee Riedinger: Let's keep highly educated workers here

    The funds raised from the increased H-1B visas would create a $500 million annual fund to educate students at home. Revenue would go to the states, which in turn would decide how best to increase and improve STEM education. We can attract the best STEM workers in the world today, while training the best STEM workers of tomorrow right here at home. It is extremely important that Congress retain this H-1B visa language as it debates the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act. I urge those interested in the immigration issue to look past attention-grabbing headlines and focus on the real issues at stake. If we get this right, America will remain the best place in the world to invent and innovate.

  • 06/09/13 - Knoxville News Sentinel - 3 ORNL staffers cited for vehicle technologies

    Bredesen Center Student Scott Curran, along with Ron Graves and Janet Hopson, who work in Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Energy and Transportation Science Division, were cited for their accomplishments during a annual review by the Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Office.

  • 04/29/13 - Knoxville News Sentinel - Former governors give practical advice during UT visit

    University of Tennessee graduate students got some practical advice for their national energy policy ideas that might be politically unpopular from two former public figures who have governed in the real world. The occasion was Thursday when presentations by a policy studies class in the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education were made to the center’s namesake, former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, acting the role of “president.” Then walked in his friend and “vice president,” former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who’s also been a U.S. secretary of energy and a diplomat. Richardson was in Knoxville as a guest of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. Ideas were far-ranging. One group of students proposed having two centralized interim spent nuclear fuel storage installations and funds for research and educating the public on benefits of the nuclear industry. Other groups proposed an increase in the federal tax on gasoline and income tax reductions to mitigate political concerns or tax rebates to mitigate inflation because of transportation cost increases.

  • 04/28/13 - ORNL Sustainable Campus Initiative - Bredesen Center Student Scott Curran wins Earth Day Award

    ORNL’s Sustainable Campus Initiative emphasizes sustainability at work, home, and in the community. In celebration of Earth Day, we are pleased to present the fourth annual ORNL Community Sustainability Award. This award honors an ORNL-based individual or team who is making significant contributions to community sustainability at the local, regional, national, or global level. This year’s winner was selected because of his personal commitment and valuable contributions to ensuring the promotion of efficient technologies and biofuel use in the community, at home, and in his research. Scott Curran, who is a member of the Energy and Transportation Science Division, leads by example. He supports the education of students of all ages, spanning primary school through college, on the benefits of alternative fuels and hybrid vehicle technology. Scott works with ORAU/ORISE to host a middle school science camp field trip every summer to the National Transportation Research Center (NTRC) to excite students about the science and engineering behind transportation research. Scott also volunteers as the Outreach Advisor to the University of Tennessee EcoCAR2 Team which is a DOE sponsored hybrid vehicle design competition. Because of Scott’s commitment, East Tennessee is aware of ORNL’s lead-by-example approach to sustainability through the use of alternative fuels and the adoption of fuel efficient advanced vehicle technologies such as hybrid electric vehicles and advanced clean diesel vehicles. For the past five years Scott has participated in every City of Oak Ridge, Knoxville, and ORNL Earth Day events. This includes volunteering his own time to bring alternative fuel vehicles to the events and spending time explaining to attendees the benefits of using alternative fuel vehicles. Scott also works with the local DOE Clean Cities Program year round to make sure the public has access to current and accurate information on the benefits and challenges of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles technologies.

  • 04/20/13 - Knoxville News Sentinel - Bill Richardson to lecture in Knoxville

    Arrangements are being made for Richardson to meet with former Gov. Phil Bredesen after the luncheon. Bredesen, a Democrat who served 2003-11, will be in Knoxville Thursday for presentations by Ph.D. students in a program at UT’s Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education. Lee Riedinger, a physicist who directs the Bredesen Center, said the students are in a program on energy science and engineering that is in its second year. A class, which Riedinger teaches, focuses on energy technology solutions as the world faces problems of expanding population and increasing need for energy. As an end-of-semester project, the class has been divided into six teams to look at energy pricing and policy relative to various energy sources. One person from each group will present a one-page briefing paper and make a seven-minute presentation to Bredesen, who will act the role of U.S. president, Riedinger said.

  • 04/09/13 - Office of the Chancellor - Bredesen Center Director and Students Recieve Chancellor's Honors Awards

    Bredesen Center Director Lee Riedinger was awarded the the L. R. Hesler award in recognition of his outstanding teaching abilities and service to the university community. Also, three Bredesen Center graduate students, Melissa Allen, Kyle Sander, and Stephen Wood, were awarded the Extraordinary Professional Promise award by the Chancellor's office.

  • 03/01/13 - Tennessee Today - Bredesen Center Student Kemper Talley Selected for Computational Physics Workshop

    Graduate Student Kemper Talley is well aware that the nucleus is not merely a fascinating subatomic model with no connection to the larger world. He works with UT Physics Professor Witek Nazarewicz and Mark Williams of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and his interest lies in building on fundamental science to solve real-world problems, particularly in the field of energy. He'll have the opportunity to expand his computational physics portfolio this summer when he attends the 10-week Computational Physics Student Summer Workshop at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), beginning in June. Among this year's workshop topics are turbulence modeling, algorithms for shock hydrodynamics, and energy minimization for nuclear fission. Talley will receive a generous fellowship from LANL to attend and is one of 24 students accepted to the program following a competitive selection process.

  • 02/07/13 - ORNL - Bredesen Center faculty member Steven Brown helps solve mercury mystery

    For some 40 years scientists have known that when mercury is released into the environment certain bacteria can transform it into highly toxic methylmercury. Exactly how bacteria make this happen has eluded scientists. The challenge was to find proteins that can transfer a certain type of methyl group and to identify the genes responsible for their production. Ultimately, by combining chemical principles and genome sequences, the team identified two genes, which they named hgcA and hgcB. Researchers experimentally deleted these genes one at a time from two strains of bacteria, which caused the resulting mutants to lose the ability to produce methylmercury. Reinserting these genes restored that capability, thus verifying the discovery.

  • 11/29/12 - Tennessee Today - Bredesen Center Faculty Members Howard Hall and Gary Sayler Named AAAS Fellows

    Seven professors have been named by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to their 2012 class of fellows. This year, 702 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The new fellows will be presented with an official certificate February 16 at the AAAS annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

  • 10/09/12 - Tennessee Today - Dr. Witold Nazarewicz Named ORNL's Distinguished Scientist for 2012

    Physics Professor and Bredesen Center faculty member Witold (Witek) Nazarewicz will need to add another line to his CV this fall, this time to make room for the 2012 Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Distinguished Scientist Award. He will accept the honor at the annual Awards Night celebration on November 16. A nuclear theorist, Nazarewicz is being recognized "for his foundational work in developing and applying nuclear density functional theory, resulting in a comprehensive theoretical framework for the physics of exotic nuclei and tremendous advances in our understanding of them, and for his pivotal role in the promotion of radioactive beam physics in the United States."

  • 08/02/12 - Tennessee Today - UT Continually Tweaking Programs to Better Meet State Workforce Needs

    The university takes seriously its mission of preparing students to transition successfully into the job market, Cheek said, highlighting UT’s relationship with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, student internships with companies, and the mission of the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education. “We’re doing big things with our interdisciplinary programs,” he said.

  • 07/24/12 - TN-SCORE - UTK Students Helping Teach Teachers

    Tennessee Solar Conversion and Storage Using Outreach, Research, and Education (TN-SCORE) played a major role in the Tennessee STEM Leadership Academy (TSLA). University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN-SCORE funded Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research graduate students Stephen Wood, Jason Clement, and Ryan Ginder as well as UTK REU student Evan Ornouski and post-doc Doug Aaron led over 70 middle school science teachers from 53 school districts in three separate energy engineering challenges over the three day event at Oak Ridge Associated University. The students helped develop educational hands-on modules that taught the teachers about microbial fuel cells, wind energy, and solar energy.

  • 03/14/12 - - Bredesen Center student Charles Chin wins the University of Tennessee Vol Court “Pitch Competition.”

    Charles Chin, an Energy Science and Engineering Fellow in the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, competed against eight other teams on Tuesday for the top prize of $1000, free space in the UT Business Incubator and legal advice from the Terry Adams Law Firm. Chin’s “pitch” focused on elevating awareness about energy issues among K-12 students through a novel energy video game.

  • 12/09/11 - Tennessee Today - Two UT–ORNL Scientists, Bredesen Center Leaders Elected AAAS Fellows

    Lee Riedinger and Michael Simpson, joint faculty members of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

  • 11/01/11 - ORNL Review - ORNL and UT launch graduate program in energy sciences and engineering

    ORNL speaks with Bredesen Center graduate student Kemper Talley about his research and the purpose of Bredesen Center.

  • 10/28/11 - Tennessee Today - UT Names New Interdisciplinary Center After Former Governor Bredesen

    The UT Board of Trustees voted Friday to rename the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education to the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education.

  • 10/19/11 - Office of the Chancellor - Interview with Bredesen Center graduate students

    Chancellor Jimmy Cheek gives praise to Bredesen Center and several Bredesen Center graduate students talk about their exciting research.

  • 08/21/11 - Knoxville News Sentinel - CEO of UT-Battelle gives praise to the Bredesen Center

    CEO of UT-Battelle, the organization that manages ORNL, mentions the Bredesen Center as an example of the region's commitment to creating leaders and innovation in science and engineering.

  • 08/17/11 - Tennessee Today - Two Bredesen Center faculty recieve grant for work on smart grids

    Bredesen Center faculty members Kevin Tomsovic and Yilu Liu are in the spotlight for recieving an $18 million award from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy to establish CURENT, the Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks.

  • 06/15/11 - Tennessee Today - UT Chancellor to Address International Audience of University CEOs about the Bredesen Center

    This weekend, UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek will join the likes of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in addressing the largest gathering of chief executive officers from universities around the world. The chancellor will be speaking at the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) Triennial conference, held every three years.

  • 04/12/11 - Tennessee Today - Three UT Students Win Prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

    Three graduate students at UT Knoxville are recipients of the 2011 National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees.

  • 03/01/11 - Tennessee Today - Prospective Students for the Bredesen Center's Inaugural Class Visit Campus

    This week, prospective students of the inaugural class of the UT-ORNL Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education visited campus. The Bredesen Center will offer one of the country's first interdisciplinary doctoral degrees in energy science and engineering and will train scientists to take on the world's most challenging energy problems by working with teams of researchers making scientific breakthroughs that could become thriving business enterprises.

  • 02/22/11 - Tennessee Today - Conference Honors Lee Riedinger

    UT Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory's new science and energy center has received program approval and named its first set of faculty members. The process for selecting its inaugural class of graduate students is now underway.

  • 02/17/11 - Tennessee Today - New Center Now Choosing Inaugural Class of Graduate Students

    UT Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory's new science and energy center has received program approval and named its first set of faculty members. The process for selecting its inaugural class of graduate students is now underway.

  • 02/17/11 - Tennessee Today - New UT/ORNL Center: Taking on the World’s Energy Problems and Translating Intellectual Capital into Economic Investment

    The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is launching the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, an academic unit that seeks to transform the energy industry in our country and the world, as well as the state and local economies.

  • 08/26/10 - Tennessee Today - UT Knoxville and ORNL Name Director for Interdisciplinary Research Center

    UT Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have named physics professor Lee Riedinger as director of the UTK/ORNL Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education.



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Contact Information

Lee Riedinger
Professor of Physics

Mike Simpson
Professor of Material Sciences and Engineering
Assistant Director

Wanda Davis
Administrative Coordinator
Assistant to the Director
443 Greve Hall
821 Volunteer Blvd. University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996

Jessica Garner
418 Greve Hall
821 Volunteer Blvd.
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996

Fax: 865-974-9482