Hongjoo Rhee (Faculty)

Hongjoo Rhee

Hongjoo Rhee enjoys the quest that’s inherent in his work. Like working out a puzzle or perfecting a recipe in a test kitchen, the materials scientist is searching for solutions to make better products.

Associate director and associate research professor at MSU’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, Rhee also leads the materials science and mechanics division. He’s using MSU’s High Performance Computing Collaboratory’s supercomputing capabilities to better understand process-structure-property-performance relationships in various materials.

Of particular interest is the area of developing next-generation advanced high strength steels. MSU researchers like Rhee are pioneering innovative solutions for practical applications, such as materials for vehicles that are strong for safety, but also lightweight for efficiency.

With an extensive background in the steel industry, where he spent several years working in his native South Korea, Rhee now works with a myriad of materials, including steel alloys, bio-inspired structures, foams and composites, among others. His research group employs Integrated Computational Materials Engineering paradigm, known as ICME, in their scientific investigations to accelerate materials development.

“I like the hands-on experiments,” Rhee said. He explained that theoretical modeling, experiments and large scale parallel computational simulations are essential research components for ICME.

The Michigan State doctoral graduate who came to Mississippi State a decade ago said he’s found a place where opportunity abounds.

“I didn’t expect that we would have these kinds of facilities here. The supercomputers here are very rare,” he said.

“At CAVS, we have very smart people with state-of-the-art equipment and experimental apparatus. Our students also have easy access for research.”

While Rhee expressed that MSU offers a plethora of professional fulfillment, he said that wasn’t the initial reason he sought out the university. At Michigan State, he had met a fellow graduate student named Hyeona Lim. An applied math doctoral graduate of Michigan State, Lim had one class with Rhee. When she joined MSU’s faculty, Rhee later followed. The couple married and are the parents of two children, Claire and Aiden.

“That is my best accomplishment,” Rhee said.