Pitt | Swanson Engineering

The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) is the largest in the school in terms of students and faculty. The department has core strengths in the traditional areas of bioengineering, manufacturing, microsystems technology, smart structures and materials, computational fluid and solid dynamics, and energy systems research. Key focus is reflective of national trends, which are vying toward the microscale and nanoscale systems level.


The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science houses ABET -accredited mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering programs that provide the solid fundamentals, critical thinking, and inventive spark that fire up our graduates as they design the future. The department graduates approximately 90 mechanical and materials science engineers each year, with virtually 100% of being placed in excellent careers with industry and research facilities around the globe.

The department houses faculty who are world-renowned academicians and accessible teachers, individuals of substance who seek to inspire and encourage their students to succeed. The department also has access to more than 20 laboratory facilities that enhance the learning process through first-rate technology and hands-on experience.

That experience is integrated into every aspect of the department. Events such as the SAE Formula Car Program add to students' real-world knowledge; each year, students construct their own vehicle and compete with students from other universities nationwide and internationally on the strength of their design and racing. The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science also is involved in the Cooperative Education (Co-Op) Program, bringing students together with industry for three terms of professional work.

Nov
22
2016

MEMS student Mr. Timothy S. Ryan awarded 2016 Carl Zeiss Student Scholarship

MEMS

Mr. Timothy S. Ryan, a doctoral candidate advised by Prof. Jeffrey Vipperman, was recently awarded the 2016 Carl Zeiss Student Scholarship at the annual meeting of the American Society for Precision Engineering. This award was made in recognition of his research erfforts, "Toward a Modeling Framework for Linear Stages," and included full conference registration and travel expenses for a trip the annual meeting in Portland, OR, as well as travel expenses for a trip to the Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology facility in Maple Grove, MN.

Nov
21
2016

MEMS' Prof. Wiezorek receives the Birks Award from the Microbeam Analysis Society

MEMS

Prof. Wiezorek has been awarded for the Birks Award from the Microbeam Analysis Society (MAS, http://www.microbeamanalysis.org/awards-1/mas-outstanding-paper-awards). The award was presented during the Microscopy and Microanalysis meeting (M&M 2016, held in Columbus, OH, July 24-29, 2016) by Dr. Thomas F. Kelly, President of MAS and Vice President of Innovation and New Technologies at CAMECA.  The Birks Award is given annually for the Best Contributed Paper presented at the Microscopy and Microanalysis meeting of the previous year.  The award winning presentation and paper was entitled, “Quantitative Phase Analysis of Rapid Solidification Products in Al-Cu Alloys by Automated Crystal Orientation Mapping in the TEM”.

Nov
16
2016

Non-Tenure Stream Faculty Position in Mechanical Engineering

MEMS, Open Positions

The Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh is seeking an outstanding candidate to fill a non-tenure stream faculty position in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) with the principal duty of teaching. The successful candidate is expected to teach up to 12 credit hours per semester. Applicants must possess a PhD in Mechanical Engineering or a related field. Applicants with prior teaching experience in an engineering program are particularly encouraged to apply. In addition, research experience in such areas as engineering education or the development of outreach programs to pre-college students, and relevant industrial/practical experience is desired. The successful candidate should be able to teach a variety of the core courses in the MEMS Department, including statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, mechanical design, and mechanical measurements. The ability to develop and teach upper level electives and graduate courses is an added benefit. Other responsibilities may include student advising and other administrative duties. The position is for the academic year, with the potential of some summer teaching, and will be eligible for renewal on an annual basis. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, a detailed resume, statements describing teaching and research interests and plans, and the names and contact information for at least three references in a single PDF file, to pitt-mems-search@engr.pitt.edu for the Mechanical Engineering position. Applications will be considered until the position is filled. The University of Pittsburgh is an EEO/AA/M/F/Vets/Disabled Employer.

Oct
25
2016

Pitt-led international team of engineers and neurosurgeons receives $2.95 million NIH grant to predict at-risk cerebral aneurysms

Bioengineering, MEMS

PITTSBURGH (October 25, 2016) … Although cerebral aneurysms affect a substantial portion of the adult population, the risk of treatment including open brain surgery often outweighs the risks associated with rupture. With increasing numbers of unruptured aneurysms detected using noninvasive imaging techniques, there is an urgent need for a reliable method to distinguish aneurysms vulnerable to impending rupture from those that are presently robust and can be safely monitored. An international research team led by the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering recently received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve risk assessment and treatment of this devastating disease. Principal investigator of the five-year, $2,950,622 grant, “Improving cerebral aneurysm risk assessment through understanding wall vulnerability and failure modes,” is Anne M. Robertson, PhD, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Engineering at the Swanson School. The R01 grant is funded through the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “The cells in our blood vessels have a remarkable capacity for rebuilding and maintaining the collagen fibers that give the artery walls their strength. Unfortunately, this natural process can be derailed by the abnormal fluid flow in brain aneurysms, leading to vulnerable walls and rupture,” explained Dr. Robertson. “Understanding the factors that discriminate between robust aneurysm walls with well-organized collagen fibers, and fragile aneurysm walls with diverse changes to the collagen architecture, is essential for improving risk assessment and developing new treatments to prevent rupture.” To support their work, Dr. Robertson and a multi-disciplinary team of world leaders in aneurysm research from Pitt, Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, George Mason University in Virginia, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Helsinki University Central Hospital and Kuopio University Hospital in Finland, will analyze brain tissue donated from patients with cerebral aneurysms. Using state of the art facilities for biomechanical analysis and bioimaging, the investigators will specifically look at how and why some patients are naturally able to maintain a healthy aneurysm wall while the walls in other patients weaken, leaving the vulnerable to rupture. They will use computational mechanics to explore the possible multiple mechanisms by which hemodynamics alters the wall and study the mechanisms of structural failure. “The diverse expertise in our team and our access to an unprecedented number of aneurysm tissue samples enables us to study this disease in an entirely new way,” Dr. Robertson said. “We are also able to leverage computational and experimental tools developed during our prior NIH supported program.” Co-investigators on the international team include: University of Pittsburgh: Spandan Maiti, PhD, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering; and Simon C. Watkins, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology and Director of Pitt’s Center for Biological Imaging Allegheny General Hospital: Khaled Aziz, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery George Mason University: Juan Cebral, PhD, Professor of Bioengineering, Volgenau School of Engineering University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago: Fady Charbel, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery and Chief of Neurovascular Section; and Sepi Amin-Hanjani, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery Kuopio University Hospital (Finland): Juhana Frösen, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery Helsinki University Central Hospital (Finland): Riikka Tulamo, MD, PhD, Department of Vascular Surgery “Because of the critical importance and delicate nature of the brain, surgical treatment of cerebral aneurysms is avoided unless absolutely necessary. That’s why doctors and surgeons need a more effective way to determine whether a patient with a cerebral aneurysm is at risk for rupture,” Dr. Robertson said. “We expect that by understanding the differences in the vulnerable and robust aneurysm wall, we will be able to improve risk assessment, identify biomarkers of wall fragility, and provide essential knowledge for developing pharmacological treatments to harness and augment the natural repair process of the aneurysm wall.” ### Image, top: 3D rendering of human aneurysm and surrounding brain vessels shown on left with red and blue markings by neurosurgeon that are used to map the human aneurysm tissue back to the 3D model (right). Image, middle: Cast of human brain vessels showing cerebral aneurysm in center,  taken by Charles Kerber, MD.

Oct
18
2016

"Hacking for Defense" Comes to the University of Pittsburgh

Electrical & Computer, MEMS

PITTSBURGH (October 18, 2016) … Starting next spring, students at the University of Pittsburgh will have the extraordinary opportunity to help the United States Department of Defense and Intelligence Community (DoD/IC) find new ways to solve problems that threaten national security and endanger military lives.“Hacking for Defense,” a new graduate course offered by the Swanson School of Engineering, will teach students how to apply lean business strategies popularized by Silicon Valley and the tech startup community to real problems faced by DoD/IC. Not to be confused with people who hack into vulnerable computer systems for nefarious purposes, this type of hacking focuses on solving or “hacking” difficult problems and quickly finding novel solutions that result in more efficient and/or affordable results.“Defense problems are popping up faster than traditional methods can identify them, dissect them and solve them. Rapid innovation can bring a solution into action, even with limited resources. By using the lean startup methods employed by Silicon Valley, startups and small businesses, students can have a critical impact on the way the Department of Defense keeps our nation safe,” said William Clark, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Pitt.At the beginning of the course, students will form four person teams and select a DoD/IC problem to solve. The first set of problems will come from Hacking for Defense Incorporated (H4Di), which works with the National Defense University to develop problems students can attempt to solve. These problems range from preventing DoD systems from cyber-attacks to finding novel capabilities for the rich data collected by the sensors on laptops, smartphones and tablets. The course—which is open to graduate students studying engineering, computer science, information science and business as well as students in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)—takes advantage of a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving. The students will focus on finding solutions to problems with limited resources and a very limited amount of time. Students will also have the potential to continue to develop their products and businesses after the class ends. They will design a business model and a Minimum Viable Product, or a streamlined product with just enough features to learn about customer feedback and demand. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the course is that some of the solutions will actually improve national security and save military lives.“A key point in this class is that students have the opportunity to interact directly with the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community. The students are solving real DoD problems and will work and communicate directly with DoD/IC people during customer discovery to gain a better understanding of how to create products that solve real problems,” said Daniel Cole, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Pitt and Director of Stephen R. Tritch Nuclear Engineering Program.Clark and Cole will be the course instructors at Pitt. The original course creators established H4Di as a non-profit organization to help spread the program to other schools. Twelve new schools, including the University of Pittsburgh, will adopt the course beginning next year following the model provided by Stanford University.“The University of Pittsburgh is the ideal candidate for adopting this course because it represents a nexus of talent in business and industry, leadership, education and innovation. With companies like Google and Uber now operating in Pittsburgh, the entrepreneurial spirit is growing alongside well-established corporations. This means we have the agility to rapidly solve problems and the resources to see these solutions through to commercialization. Building on the Hacking for Defense model, initial plans are forming for Hacking courses in other domains of creativity and excellence at Pitt including Health, Sustainability and Energy,” added Cole. ###
Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

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