Pitt | Swanson Engineering


Industrial engineering (IE) is about choices - it is the engineering discipline that offers the most wide-ranging array of opportunities in terms of employment, and it is distinguished by its flexibility. While other engineering disciplines tend to apply skills to very specific areas, Industrial Engineers may be found working everywhere: from traditional manufacturing companies to airlines, from distribution companies to financial institutions, from major medical establishments to consulting companies, from high-tech corporations to companies in the food industry.  

See our Spring 2016 Course Schedules for graduate and undergraduate students. (last updated 1/6/16)

The BS in industrial engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (http://www.abet.org). To learn more about Industrial Engineering’s Undergraduate Program ABET Accreditation, click here

Our department is now the proud home of Pitt's Center for Industry Studies, which supports multidisciplinary research that links scholars to some of the most important and challenging problems faced by modern industry.


Pitt engineering students capture 2nd place at national Ergonomics Design Competition

Industrial, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (February 8, 2016) … Three teams of Industrial Engineering students from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering received honorable mention recognitions and one team placed second at the annual Ergonomics Design Competition hosted by Auburn Engineers, Inc. The second place team, which consisted of students Ashley John, Kimberly Dickenson, Kelly Rose and Victoria Portier, collected points in a variety of categories, including procedures and documentation, use of ergonomic design software, creativity, justification and the final report. The judges announced their final decision in December 2015. “Everything they did throughout the semester was right on and very thorough,” said Joel Haight, Pitt associate professor of industrial engineering and faculty advisor for the four competing teams. “This is the first year Pitt entered, and in the nine-year competition, no first time team had ever even made it into the top five.” The competition required teams to collect data, analyze the information, and design solutions for both a Preliminary Design problem and Final problem. This year’s Preliminary Design problem focused on the daily actions of workers at an animal shelter, such as lifting heavy animals on and off examination tables. For the Final problem, teams investigated the ergonomics of the food service industry. In addition to recognition for their work, the Pitt second place team members each received a $200 award. They will also serve as an alternate for first place winner, Concordia University, at the eTools Users Group Meeting hosted by Auburn Engineers at a National Safety Conference in the spring. The top five teams also presented their projects to a panel of judges live via WebEx. Judges evaluated their presentation skills in addition to the merit of their projects. A total of 41 teams participated in the national Ergonomics Design Competition, comprising more than 200 students. Other universities included Texas A&M University, Ohio State University, University of Michigan, University of Wichita, SUNY Buffalo, University of Puerto Rico, Montana State University and Mississippi State University. Auburn Engineers, Inc., sponsor of the competition, is an international ergonomics consulting company. Past competitions required students to analyze the workplace ergonomics of wedding photographers, retail grocers and the field crew at an Auburn University football game.   ### Pictured above from left: Kelly Larson, Kimberley Dickinson, Ashley John, Victoria Portier, Dr. Haight.


Pitt’s Center for Medical Innovation awards four novel biomedical devices with $85,000 total Round-2 2015 Pilot Funding

Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Industrial

PITTSBURGH (February 1, 2016) … The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $85,000 to four research groups through its 2015 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals include a nanowire glaucoma drainage implant; an emergency lung intubation device; a timed-release microsphere drug for middle-ear infections; and bioactive hydrogels for bone regeneration. CMI, a University Center housed in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE), supports applied technology projects in the early stages of development with “kickstart” funding toward the goal of transitioning the research to clinical adoption. Proposals are evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, technical and clinical relevance, potential health care impact and significance, experience of the investigators, and potential in obtaining further financial investment to translate the particular solution to healthcare. “This is our fourth year of pilot funding, and our leadership team could not be more excited with the breadth and depth of this round’s awardees,” said Alan D. Hirschman, PhD, CMI Executive Director. “This early-stage interdisciplinary research helps to develop highly specific biomedical technologies through a proven strategy of linking UPMC’s clinicians and surgeons with the Swanson School’s engineering faculty.” AWARD 1: Self-Cleaning Smart Antibacterial SurfacesAward to design, build and test a glaucoma drainage implants with antimicrobial properties based on nanowire technologyPaul W. Leu, PhD Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering Graham Hatfull, PhD Professor, Department of Biological Sciences Robert M.Q. Shanks, PhDAssociate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology Nils Loewen, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology AWARD 2: Esophocclude (Temporary Occlusion of the Esophagus in Patients Requiring Emergent Intubation)Award to develop a new lung intubation device which minimizes the risk of gastric aspiration in emergency care and in surgical applicationsPhilip Carullo, MDResident, Department of Anesthesiology Youngjae Chun, PhD Assistant Professor, Industrial Engineering AWARD 3: Controlled release, gel-based ear drops for treatment of otitis mediaAward to develop a novel timed release microsphere drug delivery system for treatment of middle ear infectionsMorgan Fedorchak, PhD Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering Cuneyt Alper, MD Professor, Department of Ophthalmology AWARD 4: RegenMatrix (Collagen-mimetic Bioactive Hydrogels for Bone Regeneration)Award to apply develop a bioactive hydrogels to guide bone mineralization in osteoporosis and in healing of fracturesShilpa Sant, PhD Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences Yadong Wang, PhD Professor, Bioengineering Sachin Velankar, PhD Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering Charles Sfeir, DDS, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Oral Biology About the Center for Medical InnovationThe Center for Medical Innovation at the Swanson School of Engineering is a collaboration among the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the Office of Technology Management (OTM), and the Coulter Translational Research Partnership II (CTRP). CMI was established in 2011 to promote the application and development of innovative biomedical technologies to clinical problems; to educate the next generation of innovators in cooperation with the schools of Engineering, Health Sciences, Business, and Law; and to facilitate the translation of innovative biomedical technologies into marketable products and services in cooperation with OTM and in partnership with CTRP. ###


Pitt Professor Dr. Paul Leu receives prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award for flexible metals


PITTSBURGH (January 26, 2016) … Paul W. Leu, PhD, assistant professor of industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, received the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award for his work on flexible metals.  The CAREER program is the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award for junior faculty who exemplify outstanding research, teaching, and their integration.   The five-year, $500,000 award will support research into the manipulation of metals at the micro- and nanoscale to develop thin yet flexible crystalline silicon for high efficiency, low cost solar cells. “Although solar cell technology continues to improve, it still relies upon rigid and bulky silicon that limits its range of use,” Dr. Leu explained. “Our research is focused on designing new hierarchical metal structures that allow for a thinner, more flexible structures that can adapt to different shapes.” Some of the research will be performed in the Swanson School’s Nanoscale Fabrication and Characterization Facility (NFCF), part of the Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering. The grant will help develop a Google Streetview-like virtual tour of the limited access cleanroom, so web visitors from around the world can see and learn about the facility.  Additionally, the grant will enable the development of a new graduate course in Statistical Design of Materials and undergraduate research opportunities through Pitt’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. “As we investigate multiple length scales within materials and develop new structural models, we see the potential for new metals to pave the way toward to lightweight and adaptive transparent conductors and solar cells,” Dr. Leu said. “These structures may also be utilized for flexible sensors, photodetectors, and smart surfaces.” Additional support is provided by the Swanson School’s Office of Diversity; Jeremy Levy, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Director of the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute at Pitt; the Pitt Mobile Science Lab; and the Penn State Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education.  About Dr. Leu Paul W. Leu joined the Department of Industrial Engineering in August 2010. He received his BS in mechanical engineering at Rice University and his master of science in mechanics of materials and PhD in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. He subsequently worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the U.C. Berkeley Electrical Engineering Department as a member of the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center and with a joint-appointment in the Materials Division Center of Lawrence Berkeley. Dr. Leu’s primary research interests include first principle simulations of material properties, combining physical simulations with optimization methods, and nanomaterial synthesis and characterization. His areas of expertise include nanomaterials, semiconductor processing, computer aided design, multiscale modeling, and semiconductor devices. For more information about Dr. Leu’s research visit lamp.pitt.edu . ### Image: Paul Leu, PhD, "Hierarchical metal nanomesh/microgrid structures for high performance transparent electrodes." (RSC Adv., 2015,5, 70713-70717 DOI: 10.1039/C5RA14851K)
Paul Kovach

If the Shoe Fits

Bioengineering, Industrial

PITTSBURGH (December 10, 2015) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, workplace slips, trips and falls cost the U.S. economy $180 billion each year* and represent the majority of nonfatal injury costs. While injury prevention strategies can save lives and reduce costs, one factor rarely taken into consideration is footwear. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering are exploring new techniques to better predict the wear rate of shoes in order to improve shoe design and replacement policies to reduce slip and fall accidents. The proposal, “Impact of Worn Shoes on Slipping,” was the recipient of a four-year, $1,519,208 R01 grant from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Principle investigator is Kurt E. Beschorner, Research Assistant Professor in the Swanson School’s Department of Bioengineering. Co-Investigators are Joel M. Haight, Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Director of Pitt’s Safety Engineering Program; and Mark S. Redfern, William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering. “Our primary mode of transportation is walking, and every time you move your feet you risk a slip or a trip that can lead to a fall,” Dr. Beschorner said. “What we want to address is the preventative side to falling. We have preventative screenings for many health issues such as cancer. Yet relatively few studies have been done to reduce fall prevention by improving the slip resistance of shoes.” Dr. Beschorner compared the research to advances in tire technology and tread wear. Like the grip between a car’s tires and the road, the friction between the sole of the shoe and a walking surface maintains a person’s grip to the floor. Shoes that are heavily worn have a reduced coefficient of friction (COF) and are associated with increased risk of slipping. When worn, treads can no longer channel fluids from beneath the shoe. The fluid then becomes pressurized and the COF decreases, thereby increasing the chance of a fall. The researchers note that knowledge gaps exist regarding the factors that contribute to shoe wear rate and the wear thresholds at which the COF begins to decrease. This gap inhibits design and selection of more effective wear-resistant shoes and preventative programs that replace shoes before they become too worn. To identify the underlying causes of shoe wear and the tread thresholds where shoes become unsafe, new technology developed by the research team will simulate wear using a robotic slip-tester and measure shoe tread hydroplaning using a fluid pressure measurement system. The research will also develop new computational models that can be used to predict shoe wear for new shoe sole designs. “What makes this study unique is the systematic way in which shoe tread wear will be studied,” Dr. Beschorner said. “We’ve developed novel technology to test shoe tread drainage to more precisely measure how shoe wear is impacting slipperiness. We will examine shoe wear and determine specific limits to wear, so that people know when to replace worn shoes. Then we will determine the critical factors that impact how quickly shoes wear, which can help manufacturers build a more durable shoe.” ###   *Sum of fatal [1] and non-fatal [2] injury costs.   [1] Florence, C., Simon, T., Haegerich, T., Luo, F., & Zhou, C. (2015). Estimated lifetime medical and work-loss costs of fatal injuries-United States, 2013.MMWR: Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 64(38), 1074-1077.   [2] Florence, C., Haegerich, T., Simon, T., Zhou, C., & Luo, F. (2015). Estimated lifetime medical and work-loss costs of emergency department-treated nonfatal injuries-United States, 2013. MMWR: Morbidity and mortality weekly report,64(38), 1078-1082.    
Paul Kovach

Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering - Open Tenure Track Positions

Industrial, Open Positions

The Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh (http://www.ie.pitt.edu) anticipates openings for tenure-track faculty positions at the Assistant Professor level. Candidates for senior positions with exceptional qualifications will also be considered. Research and leadership potential in Advanced Manufacturing and Materials (including Additive Manufacturing, Biomanufacturing and Nanomanufacturing) is desired. We are also interested in candidates at the interfaces of these disciplines with Manufacturing Systems, Big Data or Sustainability. Candidates should possess a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Bioengineering or a related field by Fall 2016. Our primary search criterion is research potential.   The Department offers an undergraduate program with 150-180 students, a professional masters program, and a doctoral program with approximately 40 Ph.D. students. The successful candidate for this position will have the opportunity to harness a multidisciplinary research environment fostered by the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Simulation and Modeling (http://www.sam.pitt.edu), the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (http://www.mascarocenter.pitt.edu), the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (www.upmc.com), the Center for Energy (http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/cfe/)and the Peterson Institute of NanoScience and Engineering (www.nano.pitt.edu).   Review of applications will begin on receipt. Please email a resume, copies of up to five research papers, research and teaching statements and a list of four references to facultysearch2016@ie.pitt.edu with a reference to position number 20162 in the subject line. The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. We especially encourage applications from under-represented groups.


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