Jeff Loats

Jeff Loats, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design. at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He joined MSU Denver in 2008 as an assistant professor of Physics. He has taught courses from across the physics curriculum, including a senior-level course on nuclear and particle physics, as well as general studies courses such as the Physics of Nature and Physics of Music.

Loats became the director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design in 2018. In this role, his areas of expertise include the impact of generative AI in higher education, scholarly teaching, research-based instructional strategies, and active engagement.

Loats has won multiple teaching awards and has presented on teaching and technology to a wide variety of audiences. He was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Teacher-Scholar Forum at MSU Denver and was a featured speaker at the Lilly West Conference on College and University Teaching in March 2012.

Loats earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from Oregon State University and his bachelor’s degree in Physics from Fort Lewis College.

Azure Avery

Azure Avery, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Physics at Metropolitan State University of Denver and joint appointee at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Her areas of expertise encompass experimental condensed-matter physics. Avery is studying how heat and electricity move through thin carbon films, with a specific emphasis on materials with thermoelectric properties. Her work focuses on advancing sustainable technologies through the development and enhancement of thermoelectric technology.

Avery’s joint NREL and MSU Denver research focuses on thermal and electrical transport properties of carbon nanotube films. She is the co-author of, “Tailoring semiconducting carbon nanotube networks with enhanced thermoelectric properties,” published in Nature Energy as well as “Size- and Temperature-Dependent Suppression of Phonon Thermal Conductivity in Carbon Nanotube Thermoelectric Films,” published in Advanced Electronic Materials. She also holds a patent as a co-inventor for methods of preparing single-walled carbon nanotube networks (Patent 11796488).

She holds affiliations with several professional organizations such as the Advanced Laboratory Physics Association, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Physical Society.

Azure earned her Doctorate in Physics from the University of Denver. Her Bachelor’s of Science in Physics from Metropolitan State University of Denver, as well as a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Clinical Psychology from Mississippi State University.

Kamran Sahami

Kamran Sahami, Ph.D., is a full professor in the Department of Physics at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He is also an affiliate research associate at University of Colorado, Boulder.

Sahami joined the Physics Department at MSU Denver in 2004 after 3 years as a research scientist at CU Boulder working primarily on research projects funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation. In 2005, he received a three-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, along with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, to explore astronomy education in virtual immersive environments. The research and subsequent NSF grants in 2008 and 2009 lead to several publications, most notably the identification of gender-specific learning modalities in classrooms immersive environments.

His research interests include non-linear systems, electro-optics and physics and astronomy education. He is the co-author of the published research titled “Learning about the scale of the solar system using digital planetarium visualizations” in the American Journal of Physics in 2017 and “Using a Digital Planetarium for Teaching Seasons to Undergraduates” in the Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education in 015.

Sahami received his doctorate in astrophysical, planetary and atmospheric sciences in 2001 and a master’s in astrophysics in 1993 from University of Colorado Boulder and a master’s in physics and two bachelor’s in physics and mathematics from San Diego State University in 1993 and 1990 respectively.

James Dove

James Dove, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Physics at Metropolitan State University of Denver. His research interests include solar physics and high-energy astrophysics.

Dove received his doctorate in astrophysics from University of Colorado, Boulder in 1997 and a bachelor’s in physics from University of California, San Diego in 1991.

Grant Denn

Grant Denn, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Physics at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

He was trained as an astrophysicist but has been teaching full time at MSU Denver since 2004, while also teaching some undergraduate physics classes at University of Colorado Denver. He also worked as a teaching and research fellow at Sweet Briar College. Additionally, Denn has conducted research on active galactic nuclei, astronomy education, asteroid detection through radar astronomy, hydrogen content in galaxies. His most recent project is Astronomy Learning in Immersive Virtual Environments.

Denn received his doctorate in astrophysics from University of Iowa and a bachelor’s from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.