Research Team


Christopher Combs

Dr. Combs is the Dee Howard Endowed Assistant Professor in Aerodynamics in the UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering. Prior to starting at UTSA, Dr. Combs worked as a Research Assistant Professor at The University of Tennessee Space Institute. His primary area of research interest is in the development and application of non-intrusive diagnostic techniques for compressible flows and he also has extensive experience in investigations of hypersonic boundary layer and SWBLI flow physics. Dr. Combs is active with AIAA, ASME, and APS and is a current member of the AIAA Aerodynamic Measurement Technology Technical Committee.


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Graduate Students

Angelina Andrade

Angelina was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She attended the University of North Texas from Fall 2016 to Fall 2019 and graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical and Energy Engineering. Angelina is now a graduate student at UTSA pursuing an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a thermal and fluid system concentration. Through her graduate school experience Angelina aspires to gain more knowledge and skills in aerodynamics and propulsion systems. In her spare time she volunteers as a tutor to help middle and high school students understand math concepts.

Mark Anguiano

Mark received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from UTSA in 2019 and is now pursuing a Master’s degree with a concentration in thermal and fluid systems. Mark will be part of the team developing a power-generation loop that uses supercritical CO2 as the working fluid. His work in the Rotating Machinery Dynamics section at SwRI also gives him the opportunity to apply his studies directly to the engineering field.

Valeria Delgado

Valeria was born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. She came to UTSA to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. While studying as an undergrad, she was involved in the Society of Automotive Engineers and served as aerodynamics lead her senior year. Upon graduating in the Spring of 2020, she transitioned into becoming a Graduate Research Assistant in the Combs Hypersonics Laboratory, contributing to the first diaphragm rupture tests and the wind tunnel virtual interface. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering concentrating in Fluids and Thermal Systems under the mentorship of Dr. Combs.

Matt Garcia

Matt Garcia recently graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in May 2020. He will further his education and pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering while conducting research in the Combs Hypersonics Lab. Matt aspires to become a pilot to apply his knowledge in the aviation sector. He plans to merge his engineering and aviation background to better flight systems and develop flight learning programs that are easily accessible to the general public

Emilio Hernandez

Emilio completed his bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin in 2014. He went on to develop drone solutions for an aerial imaging company and worked as a data engineer specializing in image processing for terrain model creation. His current research interest is in studying supercritical carbon dioxide flows using advanced visualization techniques to better understand the fluid dynamics of supercritical systems and ultimately aid the research effort aimed at designing more efficient thermodynamic cycles for energy production. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering while providing assistance in the UTSA Hypersonic Laboratory.


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Eugene Hoffman

Eugene Hoffman was born in Accra, Ghana and received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Evansville in 2016. His past research experience involves the proof of concept and practical applications of a two loop thermosiphon system. His current research interests include experimental supersonic and hypersonic aerodynamics as well as combustion and laser diagnostics.

Elijah LaLonde

Elijah LaLonde was born in Alvin, Texas and earned his B.S. in physics, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2018 from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He conducted undergraduate research in photovoltaics at Texas State University from the summer of 2018 until graduating at the end of 2018. After finishing his undergraduate studies, he took a year to continue his research in photovoltaics and explore his interests in Electromagnetic Field Theory and Fluid Dynamics. In the fall of 2020, he began his Ph.D. studies in Mechanical Engineering at UTSA as a part of the Combs research group.

Kenneth Perez

Kenneth Perez received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at San Antonio in May 2016. He will further his education and pursue a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering with a concentration in Thermal & Fluid Systems.  As a member of the Hypersonic Wind Tunnel Lab he hopes his background in HVAC can be used to bring a unique perspective to ongoing research activities. Kenneth aspires to become a propulsion engineer for a major aerospace company upon graduation. Outside of work he enjoys exercising, hiking, biking, hanging out with friends, and learning anything dealing with air-breathing engines and rockets.

Undergraduate Students

Ivana Chen

Ivana Chen is a third year undergraduate student at UTSA majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She joined Dr. Combs’ research lab in Summer 2020 and is currently working on a project designing a Pitot probe for the UTSA hypersonic wind tunnel. After graduation, Ivana hopes to continue learning and to work in the field of propulsion systems. Aside from engineering, she enjoys spending her free time swimming, reading, and surfing.

Hayden Bilbo

Hayden is currently pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a certificate in Aerospace Engineering at UTSA with a projected graduation date of Spring 2022. After graduation he plans on pursuing a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. His interests in engineering and aerospace applications have led to internships linked to aviation and spacecraft for the last three years. This includes being accepted into Purdue’s 2020 SURF program (now 2021), where he will help develop methodologies for 3D printing thermodynamically optimized solid propellants. Working as a member of the Combs research group, Hayden will use his knowledge and interests to assist in pushing the frontier of aerospace research at UTSA.

Christopher Tremblay

Christopher was born in Stamford, CT and raised in Naples, FL. He attended Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL before transferring to UTSA in 2019.  He is a senior Mechanical Engineering major with an expected graduation date of December 2021. Christopher joined Dr. Combs’ research lab in the fall of 2020 to help work on the sCO2 power generation project. He plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Mechanical or Aerospace engineering upon graduation.

Senior Design Team

J.A.C.L. Engineering Solutions 

Christopher Tomasi
Ashley Foster
Justin Bustillo
Luis Rivas


Graduate: Stephanie Cottier (MS, ’19); Prince Dukuze (MS, ’20); Raj Patel (MS, ’21); Diego Bass (MS, ’21); Dean Kaialau (MS, ’21)

Undergraduate: George Gonzalez (BS ’19, Boeing), DJ Bell (BS ’19, Boeing), Christopher Kunz (BS ’19, Boeing), Anmar Jabbar (BS ’19, Pike Corp.), Jordan Foster (BS ’20, L3 Harris), Dean Kaialau (BS ’20), Tomas Bello (BS ’20, HEB), Diana Magana (BS ’20, HEB), Raj Patel (BS ’20), Matt Garcia (BS ’20), Michael Rittenberry (BS ’20), Natasia Upadhaya (BS ’20)