Professor Jesse Little begins tenure as director of the Aerospace Research Center

Posted: August 29, 2023
Jesse Little

The Ohio State University Aerospace Research Center announces Professor Jesse Little, PhD, as its new director, effective August 15, 2023.

Little will provide leadership to the interdisciplinary center’s world-renowned research activities focused on aerospace technology. He will also oversee initiatives aimed at fostering ARC’s graduate and undergraduate student education, as well as expansion of its role as a resource for industry, academia, government labs and other organizations to collaborate on complex research challenges. His faculty appointment is through the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

“An increased demand for innovation in the aerospace field has resulted in new and varied initiatives, both in research and student education in our department,” said Professor Rob Siston, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “Professor Little’s strategic appointment as Aerospace Research Center director aims to enhance Ohio State’s impact across each of these areas.”

Joining Ohio State from the University of Arizona, Little most recently served as associate department head for graduate studies in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. In addition, he directed the Turbulence and Flow Control Laboratory and co-directed the Arizona Research Center for Hypersonics while further participating as a professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering. His record of success includes authoring or co-authoring over 100 scientific papers and bringing in over $15 million in research funding and a combined $31 million in collaborative efforts.

Little is recognized for his research in flow physics and control applied to aerodynamic systems, including both low- and high-speed flows. His work in the field of experimental hypersonics – flight at five times the speed of sound and higher – will add a significant pillar to the center’s activities, which span topics in drones (uncrewed aircraft systems), aerodynamic flow control and gas turbine engines, among others.

With a history of building nationally recognized facilities, Little’s expertise will complement ARC’s existing robust research portfolio.

Little is confident about the center’s potential for growth. “ARC already has a strong reputation,” he said. “The creation of an experimental program in hypersonics will enhance this and make a big impact in an area of critical national need. ARC’s unique facilities are ready to be adapted for these efforts.”

As the third director of the Aerospace Research Center, Little aims to build on its legacy of advancing knowledge and technology to address current and future air transportation challenges developed since its establishment in 2013.

“ARC faculty have been very successful in both basic and applied research,” he said. “By building larger, more interdisciplinary efforts, leveraging our combined expertise and engaging a variety of partners, we will enhance our impact globally.”

A three-time Ohio State alumnus, Little earned his mechanical engineering doctoral degree in 2010. He joined the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Arizona as an assistant professor that same year. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in August 2016 and full professor in August 2022. Little is an Associate Fellow of AIAA (2020) and winner of Young Investigator Awards from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (2012) and the Army Research Office (2014).

Media contact: Holly Henley, communications specialist,

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