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Research Highlight: Xueping Li

Xueping LiXueping Li, an associate professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), believes that the primary role of industrial engineers is to make things better.

Born in Sichuan, a southwest province of China, Li lived there until he moved with his family at the age of twelve to the Liaoning province in northern China. He received his BS in automatic control and computer science in 1996 and his MS in computer science in 1999 from Nankai University. After joining the faculty of the Department of Industrial Engineering (IE) at the University of Tennessee (UT), Li co-founded the Ideation Laboratory (iLab: with IE research assistant professor Dr. Lee Martin.

The iLab is a collection of hardware, software, and relationships that can rapidly convert intangible ideas into tangible representations. The facility provides students and faculty with tools for rapid transformation of ideas into first prototype products for plastic, wood, metal, and software mobile applications. Located in 301 Stadium Hall, the iLab’s first educational use was by the Governor’s School in the summer of 2011.

The iLab, which has also hosted students from the Engineering Fundamentals program and Kids’ U, helps our retention and fosters interests among youngsters to go into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs.

Li is also the co-director, with Dr. Tami Wyatt from the College of Nursing, of the Health Information Technology and Simulation Laboratory (HITS Lab:, an organized research unit (ORU) at UT. This interdisciplinary initiative brings together the expertise of engineers and nurses to test technology and human computer interaction and to facilitate knowledge in health information technology. Drs. Li and Wyatt have a long-term goal to develop eventual federal funding for the center.

Li is the PI of a Y-12 PDRD project, “Advanced Modeling and Simulation for System Optimization” ( He is a co-PI of a HRSA funded project, “Bringing Interprofessional Teams Together Through Technology to Create Solutions for Healthcare.” The purpose is to integrate clinical simulation, distance education, and delivery of care using telehealth into interprofessional education (IPE) opportunities for graduate advanced practice nursing students along with graduate medical, pharmacy, and industrial engineering students.

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