Thomas Gillis

I have joined the van Rees lab in November 2019 as a BAEF fellow ( My contributions to the lab research concern vorticity-based methods, fluid-structure interaction solvers and high-performance computing frameworks.

As one of the main author of the FLUPS library (, I contribute to the development of a pre-exascale implementation of a vortex method. This tool is the key ingredient in the study of the energy harvesting through collaboration among multiple agents (birds, fish or wind-turbines) and its underlying phenomena: the interactions between wakes and flow devices.

I have received my PhD in engineering at Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), under the supervision of Profs. Grégoire Winckelmans and Philippe Chatelain. My work focused on accurate and efficient treatment of solid boundaries for the Vortex Particle-Mesh method.

David Fernández Gutiérrez

During the past months I have been a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, working in the van Rees Lab with Prof. Wim M. van Rees. There, I’m leading one numerical research project focused on modeling the fluid dynamics around flexible fins, and collaborating in a second, interdisciplinary one developing an autonomous boat for the Amsterdam’s canals. Ultimately, I am interested in developing advanced numerical schemes to analyze the fluid-structure interaction of complex moving geometries.

I received my PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California (UC) Berkeley, under the supervision of Prof. Tarek I. Zohdi in the Computational Manufacturing and Materials Lab. My PhD work focused on establishing the basis for a new coupled method that combines smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) with Voronoi diagrams. In addition, I earned a PhD in Naval and Oceanic Sciences and Technologies as a result of my long term collaboration with Prof. Antonio Souto-Iglesias at the CEHINAV, studying the impact of the interference resistance in catamarans. Before coming to Berkeley, I worked for an Offshore Engineering firm, Seaplace. I was fully involved in a series of projects linked with the conceptual design and experimental tests of innovative ocean energy technologies for offshore power generation.