Zhao Pan

Assistant Professor
Zhao Pan

Contact information

Phone: 519-888-4567 x48631
Location: E3 3149


Interdisciplinary Fluid Physics Lab - Pan Lab

Biography summary

Zhao Pan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo and the Principal Investigator of the Interdisciplinary Fluid Physics Lab - Pan Lab. Prior to joining Waterloo, he worked at Utah State University and Florida Center for Advanced Aero-propulsion (FCAAP, FSU) as a postdoctoral fellow.

His research interests span from fundamental fluid physics (e.g., jets, bubbles, droplets, and cavitation), micro/bio-fluids, to advanced fluid flow diagnostics. Most of his studies are driven by curiosity and serve both academia and the community with creative ideas and broader social impact.

Working with scientists and engineers from different fields, his multi-disciplinary fluid dynamics studies have been published in journals such as PNAS, Nature Plants, J. Fluid Mech, Phys. Rev. Fluids, Phys. Fluids, and Soft Matter, etc.

His works have been featured on journal covers (Nature, Plants, Soft Matter), editor’s picks, and in 40+ leading media outlets (e.g., Science, Nature, The Washington Post, EurekAlert!, etc.).

Research interests

  • Fluid dynamics
  • Bio-mechanics
  • Micro-fluids
  • Flow diagnostics
  • Uncertainty quantification
  • Velocimetry-based pressure measurement
  • Cavitation
  • Droplets and bubbles
  • Jets
  • Dynamics and controls


  • 2016, Doctorate, Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University


  • ME 303 - Advanced Engineering Mathematics
    • Taught in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
  • ME 765 - Special Topics in Fluid Mechanics
    • Taught in 2022, 2023

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/recent publications

  • Pan, Zhao and Zhang, Yang and Gustavsson, Jonas and Hickey, Jean-Pierre and Cattafesta, Louis, Unscented Kalman filter (UKF) based nonlinear parameter estimation for a turbulent boundary layer: a data assimilation framework, Measurement Science and Technology, 31(094011), 2020
  • Speirs, Nathan B and Belden, Jesse and Pan, Zhao and Holekamp, Sean and Badlissi, George and Jones, Matthew and Truscott, Tadd T, The water entry of a sphere in a jet, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 863, 2019, 956 - 968
  • Speirs, Nathan B and Pan, Zhao and Belden, Jesse and Truscott, Tadd T, The water entry of multi-droplet streams and jets, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 844, 2018, 1084 - 1111
  • Pan, Zhao and Weyer, Floriane and Pitt, Williams G and Vandewalle, Nicolas and Truscott, Tadd T, Drop on a Bent Fibre, Soft Matter, 2018
  • Pan, Zhao and Kiyama, Akihito and Tagawa, Yoshiyuki and Daily, David J and Thomson, Scott L and Hurd, Randy and Truscott, Tadd T, Cavitation onset caused by acceleration, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(32), 2017, 8470 - 8474
  • Hurd, RC and Speirs, NB and Belden, J and Pan, Z and Lovett, B and Robinson, W and Zamora, MA and Sharker, SI and Mansoor, MM and Merritt, A and others, Shear joy of watching paint dry, Phys. Rev. Fluids, 2, 2017
  • Pan, Zhao and Pitt, William G and Zhang, Yuanming and Wu, Nan and Tao, Ye and Truscott, Tadd T, The upside-down water collection system of Syntrichia caninervis, Nature plants, 2(7), 2016
  • Pan, Zhao and Whitehead, Jared and Thomson, Scott and Truscott, Tadd, Error propagation dynamics of PIV-based pressure field calculations: How well does the pressure Poisson solver perform inherently?, Measurement Science and Technology, 27(8), 2016
  • Hurd, R and Fanning, T and Pan, Z and Mabey, C and Bodily, K and Hacking, K and Speirs, N and Truscott, T, Matryoshka cavity, Physics of Fluids, 27(9), 2015

In the news

Graduate studies