Pitt | Swanson Engineering
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Jul

Jul
26
2017

Pitt’s Center for Medical Innovation awards three novel biomedical devices with $65,000 total Round-1 2017 Pilot Funding

Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Industrial

PITTSBURGH (July 26, 2017) … The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $65,000 to three research groups through its 2017 Round-1 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals include a new technology for reducing risk of post-partum uterine hemorrhage, a thermal device for inducing nerve block in pain control, and a system to improve transplanted organ viability.CMI, a University Center housed in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, 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 sixth year of pilot funding,” said Alan D. Hirschman, PhD, CMI Executive Director. “Since our inception, more than $1 million from external funding sources and from the Swanson School of Engineering has been invested in early stage medical technologies. Many of these technologies have the potential to significantly improve the delivery of health care and several new companies have resulted from the program, which has successfully partnered UPMC’s clinicians and surgeons with the Swanson School’s engineering faculty.”AWARD 1: Objective Postpartum Uterine Tone MonitoringFunds development of a new prototype uterine tone measurement device for eventual testing in the clinical setting. The device would evaluate intra-uterine muscle tone for detection of and control of postpartum bleeding.Gerhardt Konig, MDDepartment of Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Jason Shoemaker, PhDAssistant Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of EngineeringAWARD 2: Novel Thermal Block Technology to Block Nerve ConductionFor development and preclinical testing of a thermal nerve block device for anesthesia and pain control. Early research in mice shows that the effect can be useful in controlling production and communication of nerve impulses. The award will demonstrate proof of concept to attract additional funding from external competitive grants. Development of a small implantable, wireless controlled, wireless chargeable device to control the electrodes will be a primary goal. The prototype device will then test the pudendal nerve to confirm the nerve block effects. Changfeng Tai, PhD Associate Professor of Urology, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineAssociate Professor of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering Christopher Chermansky, MDAssistant Professor of Urology, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineAssistant Professor of Industrial Engineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering Bo Zeng, PhD Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering, University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering AWARD 3: OrganEvac/Whole Organ Sonothrombolysis DeviceThis award is an equal participation between the Center for Medical Innovation and the Coulter Translational Research Partners II Program at Pitt. The early stage seed grant will demonstrate proof of concept that sonothrombolysis technology can greatly enhance viability of transplanted liver tissue through evaluation of thromboemboli in excised, non-transplantable human liver tissue. Paulo Fontes, MDAssociate Professor of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineDirector of the Machine Perfusion Program, University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterJohn Pacella, MD, MSAssistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical Center Heart and Vascular InstituteFlordeliza Villaneuva, MDVice Chair for Pre-Clinical Research, Department of Medicine and Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineDirector, Center for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics, University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterAbout 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 Innovation Institute, and the Coulter Translational Research Partnership II (CTRP). Established in 2011, CMI promotes the application and development of innovative biomedical technologies to clinical problems; educates the next generation of innovators in cooperation with the schools of Engineering, Health Sciences, Business, and Law; and facilitates the translation of innovative biomedical technologies into marketable products and services. CMI has supported more than 50 early-stage projects through more than $1 million in funding since inception. ###

Jul
25
2017

We Have a Quorum

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH (July 25, 2017) … From the smallest cell to humans, most organisms can sense their local population density and change behavior in crowded environments. For bacteria and social insects, this behavior is referred to as “quorum sensing.” Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering have utilized computational modeling to mimic such quorum sensing behavior in synthetic materials, which could lead to devices with the ability for self-recognition and self-regulation. The findings are based on research into biomimetic synthetic materials by Anna C. Balazs, Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and post-doctoral associate Henry Shum, who is now an assistant professor of applied mathematics at the University of Waterloo. The article, “Synthetic quorum sensing in model microcapsule colonies,” is published this week in the journal PNAS (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1702288114).“Quorum sensing (QS) is a distinctive behavior of living organisms that allows them to initiate a specific behavior only when a critical threshold in population size and density are exceeded,” Dr. Balazs explained. “This tunable self-awareness is apparent in macro systems such as bees selecting a site for a new hive, but is vital to cellular systems like bacteria, which produce and secrete signaling molecules that act as “autoinducers” once a specific population is reached. Creating a biomimetic response can allow synthetic materials to effectively “count”; this is, to sense and adapt to their environment once a preprogrammed threshold is reached.”  In a biological system, autoinducers in low concentrations diffuse away and therefore do not trigger response. Hence, the system is in a type of “off” state. However, when the cells reach a specific number or quorum, the production of autoinducers leads to a detection and response. This “on” state increases the production of the signaling molecule and activates further metabolic pathways that are triggered by QS, coordinating the colony behavior. “However, autoinducers tend to maintain the “on” state once activated so the system is less sensitive to subsequent decreases in the population,” Dr. Shum said. “For self-regulating materials to unambiguously determine their present density, we modeled a colony of immobile microcapsules that release signaling chemicals in a “repressilator” network, which does not exhibit the same “memory” effect. Instead, we found that chemical oscillations emerge in the microcapsule colony under conditions that are analogous to achieving a quorum in biological systems.”The researchers note that their findings could inspire new mechano-responsive materials, such as polymer gels with embedded QS elements that would activate a certain chemical behavior when compressed, and then switch off when stretched, or when a specific temperature is reached. “For example, you could have a robotic skin that solidifies to protect itself at a certain temperature, and then becomes “squishy” again when the temperature drops to a nominal level,” Dr. Balazs adds. “Although our work is computational, the results show that the creation of self-recognizing and self-regulating synthetic materials is possible.”This research was supported as part of the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences under Award DE-SC0000989. ### Image (above) and animated gif (below): Modeled microcapsules (image: grey spheres/gif: small circles) demonstrate “quorum sensing” behavior. A small collection of microcapsules remains dormant (left) whereas a large, crowded population exhibits oscillations in chemical activity (right), represented by circular waves of color (image)/cyclic color changes (gif).

Jul
16
2017

How secure is the nation's power grid?

Electrical & Computer

Gregory Reed, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of Pitt's Center for Energy, joined PJM President and CEO Andy Ott with KDKA's Jon Delano on the Sunday Business Page to discuss the security of the nation's power grid. (Original airdate: July 16, 2017) View the Sunday Business Page at KDKA TV.

Jul
12
2017

From Schenley Place to Outer Space

Electrical & Computer

Reposted with permission of PittWire. Space is not a welcoming environment for computers. Cosmic radiation, solar winds and the vacuum of space itself all threaten the reliability of space computers and can even kill their processes entirely.Yet computing is deeply intertwined with space technology. Vast distances, perpetual orbits and conditions unsuitable for humans all suggest the future of space technology lies in computing. The question that remains is how to make a better space computer.In January 2017, the National Science Foundation Center for High-Performance Reconfigurable Computing — CHREC, pronounced “shreck” — and its founder Alan George found a new home at the University of Pittsburgh. The lab researches reconfigurable, high-performance space computing. Picture these processors like Legos — super durable and able to break apart and reassemble into many different shapes. The lab's aim is to develop advanced computers that can remain reliable even amidst a harsh, extraterrestrial environment.“Computers are the future astronauts and at the heart and soul of anything you do in space,” said George, who also became the Mickle Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering when he came to Pitt. “At CHREC, we develop and test ways to increase performance, reduce power consumption and meet the demands of space computing.” Operational since 2007, CHREC comprises more than 30 industrial, governmental and academic partners, including Lockheed Martin SSC, BAE Systems and Harris Corporation; the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research and NASA; and a four-university collaboration of Brigham Young University, Virginia Tech and the University of Florida — with Pitt serving as the lead institution. George said he hopes CHREC can partner with more local and national organizations as well.“We realize that we need a broad group of people to succeed,” he said. “We can really take the initiative in a place like Pittsburgh and stick our neck out to help the community, particularly those interested in new, esoteric space technology.”This past March, the U.S. Department of Defense deployed a payload to the International Space Station with two experimental CHREC space processors and a high-resolution camera. The CHREC processors are the basis for a variety of studies in resilient, reconfigurable computing in orbit. They are remotely operated from the new facility at Pitt located in Schenley Place, an office building less than a half of a mile from the Cathedral of Learning.Christopher Wilson, a PhD student and visiting scholar in the CHREC lab, operates the ground station controlling the processors from Schenley Place when the space station schedule permits. He and the other members of his team are reconfiguring the computers, which means they are using a technology called switching fabric to actually restructure the computer’s hardware.Wilson specializes in space systems research and balances his own dissertation research with his responsibilities as a CHREC group leader. Organizing his schedule based on NASA’s timetable can be demanding, he said, but the opportunity is well worth the hassle.“Our research at CHREC never needs to be some intangible, theoretical project that will never have any practical use because we have the opportunities to put our research to use in space,” said Wilson. “I can wake up in the morning and send commands to space computers on the International Space Station that we developed in our lab.”Wilson is one of four doctoral students who came to Pitt to finish their studies under George. They will graduate with degrees from the University of Florida, CHREC’s first home. Ten other graduate students came as well, and they will graduate with degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. One of these students, Bradley Shea, is pursuing his master's degree in electrical and computer engineering and is the hardware lead at CHREC. Shea works on high-speed, printed-circuit-board design for space flight, particularly for missions involving a small box-shaped satellite called CubeSat. Universities, companies and governments use the standardized CubeSat design to explore new applications for space technology.“Our lab is defining the future of scientific and payload processing for CubeSat missions with lower cost and power,” Shea said. “With our scalable designs, we can potentially save millions of dollars by doing real science processing with a small CubeSat rather than with a much larger satellite payload.”CHREC’s move to Pitt also has introduced space computing to undergraduate students curious about applying their education to topics in space. The inaugural class of the Summer Space Group launched on May 12, 2017. The group includes 17 students majoring in a variety of engineering fields as well as computer science, physics and economics.“Space technology applies to most of the engineering disciplines, so we are looking to be accessible to anyone interested in learning more about the field, from our own undergraduate students to the broader Pittsburgh community,” said George.The Summer Space Group will spend all summer working with Pitt faculty and CHREC graduate student mentors to explore topics in space technology firsthand. Their work will have a significant impact on the next International Space Station processor project, called STP-H6, which CHREC will deliver to the station in 2018. The Spacecraft Supercomputing for Image and Video Processing mission on STP-H6 will increase the number of space computer processors commanded from Pitt on the space station from two to eight and explore more advanced processes in the hybrid computing system. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jul
10
2017

Pitt ASCE Student Chapter Wins Back-to-Back Distinguished Chapter Awards

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (July 10, 2017) … For the second consecutive year, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has chosen the University of Pittsburgh student chapter as recipient of the Distinguished Chapter Award for Region 2. The Pitt chapter was also a returning finalist for the Robert Ridgway Student Chapter Award, which is awarded annually to the single most outstanding student chapter nationwide.“They’re a spirited group and very inclusive of anyone who wants to get involved,” said Anthony Iannacchione, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and faculty advisor to ASCE. “We’ve had a great string of presidents and active leadership from the board members. They’re always trying to bring along the younger students for the next year, and I think that’s why our success continues to build.”The ASCE Distinguished Chapter awards are based on information from the chapters’ 2016 annual reports. The Pitt chapter’s annual report outlined strategies for growing the chapter, events and activities, and plans for 2017.In 2016, the chapter increased first-year membership by 40 percent compared to the previous year. Fundraising increased around 200 percent, and 24 companies attended the Civil Engineering-specific Fall Career Fair at Pitt. The chapter also invited members of other professional chapters to give presentations at the October ASCE meeting. Attendees included Associated General Contractors, Institute of Transportation Engineers, American Society of Highway Engineers, and the American Institute of Architecture Students.One particular highlight from the Pitt chapter’s past year was the Ohio Valley Student Conference. This meeting of more than 350 civil engineering students and professionals representing 15 schools from Ohio, Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania challenged students with competitions such as building a steel bridge, writing and presenting a technical paper, and constructing a concrete canoe and racing it.Pitt ASCE came in 3rd Place Overall out of 14 universities at the 2016 Ohio Valley Student Conference. They took first place overall in the environmental category, the surveying category, and the most sustainable apparatus category of the environmental competition. Other awards included third place in four categories: most creative apparatus (environmental), best poster/display (environmental), civil site design, and best technical review paper.“We had a very successful year last year, and I think earning the Distinguished Chapter Award is a testament to the members and faculty of ASCE,” noted Chaz Donnelly, 2017-18 ASCE Pitt Student Chapter President and upcoming senior in civil engineering. “Our chapter takes pride in every event we are involved with, because our members genuinely enjoy Civil Engineering. This is reflected in the way our school is represented at career fairs, professional events, and OVSC.”Throughout 2016, 60 percent of the Pitt chapter’s members participated in at least one volunteer day, with events including: Pitt ASCE joined 3,500 Pitt students during the university-wide Pitt Make a Difference Day, helping with service projects around the city Pittsburgh. Presenting the fundamentals of civil engineering to younger students during the Middle School Engineering Day. Ten ASCE members brought samples of concrete and steel for the students to examine and used balsa wood bridges to demonstrate how forces work. Looking ahead to 2017, the Pitt ASCE chapter will host the annual Region 2 assembly, which will bring members of ASCE to Pittsburgh from Washington, DC, parts of northern Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. The assembly will provide professional development opportunities through presentations on current engineering design practices as well as chances for students, professors, and practitioners to meet and interact. ### Image above (from left to right): Pitt ASCE chapter members Chaz Donnelly, Pete Eyre, Anna Thomas, Cameron Schmidt, and Connor Bassett.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jul
10
2017

Working the [Immune] System

Bioengineering

PITTSBURGH (July 10, 2017) … As a rule, implants and the immune system don’t get along. The human body recognizes these materials as foreign substances and tries to fight them like a virus or bacteria. Although this response can cause trouble for doctors and patients, new research at the University of Pittsburgh suggests the immune system can actually assist the body in accepting implanted biomaterials. The National Institute on Aging, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded Bryan Brown, assistant professor of bioengineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, a five-year, $1.57 million R01 grant to examine how aging affects implantable medical devices. This is the second R01 grant from the NIH Dr. Brown has received this year to support his research of implantable materials. His study, “Assessing the Impacts of Aging upon the Macrophage Response to Implantable Materials,” will specifically address reactions to implantable medical devices by the aged body, including immunosenescence (a deterioration of the immune system brought on by aging), dysregulation of white blood cell function and polarization, and delayed resolution of acute immune responses.“The impacts of aging on individuals with implants have never been investigated,” said Dr. Brown. “As Baby Boomers in particular age, the number of people over 65 will grow, and more than 75 percent of these individuals have at least one chronic condition, usually associated with inflammation. We need therefore a better understanding of how aging affects the immune system’s responses to implants.”Dr. Brown will build upon earlier research in which he demonstrated that the host inflammatory response is critical to the success and function of implants. His study found that the first week of macrophage activity (a type of white blood cell) at the implant site could predict immune system response as far as 90 days down the road. By controlling the immune system response, Dr. Brown and his team are looking for the best way to lengthen the lifespan of implants and minimize the negative effects of implanting a foreign object into the body.“Really, the challenges are not fully known,” explained Dr. Brown. “Many implants are used primarily in older individuals, so there is not always a point of comparison. However, in our previous work, we have demonstrated that the host inflammatory response is critical to success and function of implants. Therefore, we are trying to define changes in aged individuals to develop informed approaches to improving implant function in this population. With a projected two billion individuals over the age of 65 by 2050, optimizing the success of implants that can treat a wide range of illnesses could result in significant benefits for patients in their golden years.” ### Image above: Dr. Brown (middle) in the lab with Pitt BioE graduate students Alexis Nolfi (left) and Samuel LoPresti (right).
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jul
10
2017

How do you build a metal nanoparticle?

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH (July 10, 2017) … Although scientists have for decades been able to synthesize nanoparticles in the lab, the process is mostly trial and error, and how the formation actually takes place is obscure. However, a study recently published in Nature Communications by chemical engineers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering explains how metal nanoparticles form. “Thermodynamic Stability of Ligand-Protected Metal Nanoclusters” (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15988) was co-authored by Giannis Mpourmpakis, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, and PhD candidate Michael G. Taylor. The research, completed in Mpourmpakis’ Computer-Aided Nano and Energy Lab (C.A.N.E.LA.), is funded through a National Science Foundation CAREER award and bridges previous research focused on designing nanoparticles for catalytic applications.“Even though there is extensive research into metal nanoparticle synthesis, there really isn’t a rational explanation why a nanoparticle is formed,” Dr. Mpourmpakis said. “We wanted to investigate not just the catalytic applications of nanoparticles, but to make a step further and understand nanoparticle stability and formation. This new thermodynamic stability theory explains why ligand-protected metal nanoclusters are stabilized at specific sizes.”A ligand is a molecule that binds to metal atoms to form metal cores that are stabilized by a shell of ligands, and so understanding how they contribute to nanoparticle stabilization is essential to any process of nanoparticle application. Dr. Mpourmpakis explained that previous theories describing why nanoclusters stabilized at specific sizes were based on empirical electron counting rules – the number of electrons that form a closed shell electronic structure, but show limitations since there have been metal nanoclusters experimentally synthesized that do not necessarily follow these rules. “The novelty of our contribution is that we revealed that for experimentally synthesizable nanoclusters there has to be a fine balance between the average bond strength of the nanocluster’s metal core, and the binding strength of the ligands to the metal core,” he said. “We could then relate this to the structural and compositional characteristic of the nanoclusters, like size, number of metal atoms, and number of ligands.“Now that we have a more complete understanding of this stability, we can better tailor the nanoparticle morphologies and in turn properties, to applications from biolabeling of individual cells and targeted drug delivery to catalytic reactions, thereby creating more efficient and sustainable production processes.” ### Image above: Structure of a ligand-protected Au25 nanocluster (credit: C.A.N.E.LA.)

Jul
6
2017

Keeping the Beat: NIH continues Pitt’s Cardiovascular Bioengineering Training Program with Five-Year, $1.9 Million Award

Bioengineering

PITTSBURGH (July 6, 2017) … The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has renewed funding for the University of Pittsburgh Department of Bioengineering’s Cardiovascular Bioengineering Training Program (CBTP). The program - which educates students who are interested in cardiovascular research and pursuing a PhD in bioengineering - will receive nearly $1.9 million over the next five years.Sanjeev Shroff, the Distinguished Professor of and Gerald McGinnis Chair in Bioengineering at Pitt, established the CBTP in 2005 to train bioengineering doctoral students for careers in basic and/or translational cardiovascular research. By renewing the grant, the NIH has guaranteed funding until 2022.“A unique feature of the program is that students are exposed first-hand to real-world clinical problems requiring bioengineering input for their solution,” said Dr. Shroff, who serves as principal investigator for the program. “The program is designed to provide students both breadth and depth in engineering and biological sciences and also includes a formal exposure to biostatistics, bioethics, and professional and career development issues. Upon completion, students are well-versed in both basic and clinical aspects of cardiovascular engineering and are well prepared for rewarding careers in a growing field.”Student research within Pitt’s CBTP has focused on a variety of problems, ranging from basic science to novel biomedical technologies for the diagnosis and/or treatment of critical cardiovascular health issues. Examples of these research projects include: Regulation of cardiac muscle contraction by cardiac troponin-I phosphorylation Mechanical processes and pathways that underlie heart morphogenesis Molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying vaso-occlusion in Sickle Cell Disease Role of Profilin-1 in angiogenesis Externally regulated synthetic capillary system for promoting angiogenesis Rapidly degrading synthetic materials for tissue-engineered vascular grafts Extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds for heart tissue regeneration Adipose stem cell-based treatments for abdominal aortic aneurysms Improved biocompatibility of implanted cardiovascular devices to reduce rejection Coacervate-based controlled delivery of growth factors for cardiac repair Thermal strain imaging for non-invasive identification of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques The NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides funding for the program and has designated the grant a National Research Service Award. These awards are granted to training programs in disciplines that address the nation’s biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs with an emphasis on producing diverse pool of highly trained scientists. Each student in the CBTP receives a monthly stipend, tuition scholarship, health insurance, and a travel budget.About the Cardiovascular Bioengineering Training ProgramThe goal of the Cardiovascular Bioengineering Training Program (CBTP) is to provide a solid foundation upon which to build a productive independent career in cardiovascular bioengineering. This is accomplished via a highly coordinated and mentored interdisciplinary training program with a combination of core and elective courses, clinical internships, research activities, and specialized training opportunities to enhance professional and career development. There are three focus areas of this program: (1) Basic understanding and quantitative characterization of native (normal and pathological conditions) and perturbed (i.e., with deployment of man-made devices or constructs) cardiovascular function at various levels of organization (cell, tissue, whole organ), (2) Imaging for functional assessment at various levels of organization (cell, tissue, whole organ), and (3) Design and optimization of artificial devices and constructs (mechanical, tissue-engineered, and hybrid).About Dr. ShroffDr. Sanjeev Shroff is the Distinguished Professor of and Gerald E. McGinnis Chair in Bioengineering and Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering. Prior to joining the faculty at Pitt, Dr. Shroff was a faculty member at the University of Chicago for 17 years in the Department of Medicine (Cardiology Section). Trained as an electrical engineer (Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, and Master of Engineering from McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada), Dr. Shroff obtained his doctoral degree in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his Postdoctoral Fellowship within the Cardiovascular-Pulmonary Division of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Medicine. Dr. Shroff is widely recognized as a distinguished scholar in the cardiovascular arena. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Jun

Jun
28
2017

Improving Nuclear Sensor Tech

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH (June 28, 2017) … The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering will receive $1.275 million for collaborative research that includes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Reactor Laboratory, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory. The award is part of $66 million awarded by DOE to advance innovative nuclear technologies.Kevin Chen, the Paul E. Lego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Pitt, will lead the collaborative study to develop radiation-hard, multi-functional, distributed fiber sensors, and sensor-fused components that can be placed in a nuclear reactor core to improve safety and efficiency. The grant is from the Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET) program, part of the DOE’s Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP).“This NEET grant will allow our lab to continue its partnerships with leading technological companies and national laboratories to develop solutions to some of the most pressing issues affecting nuclear energy production,” said Dr. Chen. “Advances in sensor technology can greatly enhance the sensitivity and resolution of data in harsh environments like a nuclear reaction, thereby improving safety operations.”The research will focus on the fabrication of the optic sensors using additive manufacturing and advanced laser fabrication techniques. The group will develop both high-temperature stable point sensors and distributed fiber sensors for high spatial resolution measurements in radiation-hardened silica and sapphire fibers, according to the funding report by the DOE.In 2014, Dr. Chen received a $987,000 grant from the NEET program to study high sensitivity, high accuracy sensor networks. These fiber optical sensor networks allow nuclear engineers to be much more responsive to problems in the nuclear power reactors and fuel cycle systems, increasing safety and reducing operating cost.“The networks we developed contain up to 100 sensors per meter and can be placed in critical locations to quickly relay information to the plant operators and isolate problems before they spread to other areas,” Dr. Chen explained.In addition to the NEET grants, the University of Pittsburgh has received $2.8 million in funding from the DOE NEUP program between 2009 and 2016:• General Scientific Infrastructure funding: $300,000• Two research and development projects: $1,676,422• Five fellowships: $770,000• 11 scholarships: $70,000Dr. Chen’s research into fiber optical sensing technology also earned him a 2017 Carnegie Science Award. The “Innovation in Energy Award” recognized Dr. Chen’s contributions to improving efficiency of energy production and safety of transportation infrastructures in the energy industry. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
27
2017

US DOD selects Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate researcher Lisa Stabryla for competitive NDSEG Fellowship

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (June 27, 2017) … Lisa Stabryla, graduate researcher and teaching assistant in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has received a 2017 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship from the United States Department of Defense equal to full tuition and $153,000 in stipend funds.Stabryla is the third student from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering to receive the NDSEG Fellowship in 2017 along with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science’s Emily Cimino and Erica Stevens.“The NDSEG Fellowship offers the freedom and opportunity for me to engage in interdisciplinary collaborative research on a topic that I find fascinating and that aims to improve global public health,” said Stabryla. “The fellowship not only provides me with the financial stability to pursue my research endeavors but is also an honor to become a member of a distinguished network, and it inspires confidence as I launch my research career.”Stabryla earned a B.S. in engineering science from Pitt and is currently pursuing a PhD in environmental engineering under the advisory of Dr. Leanne Gilbertson, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering. Stabryla joined Dr. Gilbertson’s lab in 2016 as a graduate researcher and teaching assistant. Previously she worked as an undergraduate student researcher in the Bibby Lab and the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI).As a PhD student in Dr. Gilbertson’s lab, Stabryla is pursuing research questions related to the sustainable design of nanomaterials. In particular, she focuses on design of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) aimed at combatting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) - the ability of bacteria to resist toxic effects of chemical agents. AMR has become one of the biggest threats to global public health and poses a problem to numerous industries including health care, agriculture, water treatment, and drinking water distribution. The relevance to NDSEG stakeholders includes the potential future need to defend against intentional use of resistant organisms to cause harm. ENMs offer the potential to serve as a next-generation solution to combat AMR because of the ability to tailor high efficacy and their multiple modes of inactivation. The goal of Stabryla’s research is to discover the underlying mechanisms of inactivation and the evolution of these mechanisms with changes in ENM physicochemical properties. Emerging evidence that demonstrates the potential for bacteria to resist certain ENMs (e.g., silver nanoparticles) further motivates her work to inform design of effective antimicrobial agents that preclude (or at least prolong) emergence of resistance.The NDSEG Fellowship is sponsored and funded by the United States Department of Defense (DoD). NDSEG selections are made by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Army Research Office (ARO). The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) administers the NDSEG Fellowship. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
22
2017

Christopher Wilmer Wins AIChE Young Investigator Award for Modeling and Simulation

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH (June 22, 2017) … The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) selected Christopher Wilmer , assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, as its 2017 recipient of the Young Investigator Award for Modeling and Simulation. The AIChE Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum (CoMSEF) presents the award annually to one individual who received his/her highest degree within the past seven years. “In the three years since Chris came to Pitt, I have watched him pursue research topics with the potential to have a profound impact on energy, the environment, and society as a whole,” said Steven Little , the William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt. “By reaching so high, he has been able to accomplish so much during the very early stages of what promises to be an extraordinary career. The CoMSEF Young Investigator Award is one of the most prestigious honors in chemical engineering simulation and modeling, and truly reflects the breadth and depth of Chris’ career over such a short period.” The AIChE CoMSEF Young Investigator Award for Modeling and Simulation accepts applicants throughout academia, industry, or government laboratories. According to AIChE, the award recognizes “outstanding research in computational molecular science and engineering, encompassing both methods and applications." In addition to the award, Dr. Wilmer will receive a plaque, honorarium, and invitation to give a talk within the CoMSEF Plenary session at the AIChE Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., this October. Dr. Wilmer is the fifth recipient of this award since its establishment in 2013. About Dr. Wilmer Dr. Wilmer’s research focuses on the use of large-scale molecular simulations to help find promising materials for energy and environmental applications. He is the principal investigator of the Hypothetical Materials Lab at Pitt and leads his team in solving energy and environmental challenges with complex, hypothetical nanostructures called “molecular machines.” He earned his bachelor’s degree in applied science from the University of Toronto’s Engineering Science—Nanoengineering program, and his PhD in Chemical Engineering at Northwestern under the mentorship of Prof. Randall Q. Snurr. While at Northwestern, Dr. Wilmer took an interest in developing new technologies through entrepreneurship and co-founded NuMat Technologies, which designs porous materials that could be used to make better natural gas fuel tanks for vehicles. In 2012, the company won the Department of Energy’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition, while Dr. Wilmer was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30 in Energy.” He has authored more than 20 publications and holds more than 500 article citations. For more information visit Dr. Wilmer’s website at www.wilmerlab.com . ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
20
2017

ECE Department Names 2017 Outstanding Seniors

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH, PA (June 20, 2017) … The Swanson School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering chose recent University of Pittsburgh graduates Brandon Contino and Daniel Bednarczyk as its Outstanding Seniors for 2017. Contino represents the electrical engineering (EE) discipline, and Bednarczyk represents computer engineering (COE).“Brandon and Daniel excelled at balancing their engineering interests outside of the classroom with truly exceptional academic performances,” said Alan George, the Mickle Chair Professor and Department Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Pitt. “As the department continues to grow and explore new ways to provide our students with a comprehensive academic experience, these two outstanding seniors set the tone for student performance.” Assistant Professor and EE Undergraduate Program Director Irvin R. Jones Jr. and other faculty members are responsible for electing the Outstanding Senior in Electrical Engineering. Selection criteria are based on students’ academic standing; demonstration of character and leadership; and service to the EE discipline, ECE department, School of Engineering, and the community.A small committee consisting of undergraduate program leaders and chairs selects the Outstanding Senior in Computer Engineering. The committee evaluates students on the basis of their technical and professional accomplishments as well as their contributions to the discipline of computer engineering.About Brandon ContinoContino graduated this spring with a BS in Electrical Engineering and a minor in economics. He was president of the Robotics and Automation Society, the Engineering Student Council, and the Panther Amateur Radio Club. He also represented Pitt, Carnegie Mellon University, Point Park University, and West Virginia University students as Student Representative Chair of the Pittsburgh Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.While pursuing his degree, Contino had several positions at Pitt as an Undergraduate Researcher working alongside Electrical and Computer Engineering Associate Professor Guangyong Li; Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor David Sanchez; and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) Department’s Professor William Clark and Professor and Vice Chair Jeffrey Viperman. He also took a position as Power Systems Automation Engineering Intern at Eaton Corporation during the summer of 2015.For his senior design project, Contino worked with three mechanical engineering students to design an autonomous laundry folding robot. “Foldie” won first place at the MEMS Symposium and both second in MEMS and second in ECE at the Pitt Design Expo in Fall 2016. Along with classmate and friend Dan Chi, Contino is now pursuing a venture applying technological innovation to greenhouse farming, beginning with the development of a tomato harvesting robot for greenhouse tomato production.“The ECE Department has assisted me as a student immensely through not only providing the courses to learn the required knowledge to function as an electrical engineer, but it has also provided numerous opportunities and outside the classroom learning,” said Contino. “The faculty and staff have been incredibly helpful in assisting in projects. A lot of the work and hands on learning I acquired would not have been possible without Jim Lyle and Bill McGahey in SERC (Student Electronics Resource Center).”About Daniel BednarczykBednarczyk graduated this spring with a BS in Computer Engineering. He interned with The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation and Bentley Systems, where he now works full-time as a Software Engineer. He recently received second place in his department at the Pitt Design Expo for his senior project ‘Augmented Reality Dashboard,’ an Android application sponsored by Eaton. He also received the Best Computer Engineering Paper award at the Freshmen Engineering Conference. Bednarczyk received the Buick Engineering Achievers Scholarship and the Pittsburgh Italian Scholarship in 2013.During his time as a student, Bednarczyk joined many clubs, including Engineers for a Sustainable World Hydroponics Team, Engineering Student Council, and the Music Engineering Laboratory. He was also involved in non-engineering clubs such as WPTS Radio, the Pitt Program Council, and Residence Life.Bednarczyk is a first-generation college student, which he was able to afford through a combination of scholarships, paid internships, and service as a Resident Assistant in the First-Year Engineering Living Learning Community. An avid singer/songwriter, Bednarczyk frequented the Swanson School’s new Music Engineering Laboratory and recording studio. He has also done graphic design work for both the university and Swanson School.“The ECE Department has dedicated, personable staff who worked with me closely in many courses. I was encouraged to develop challenging projects and experiment with new technologies,” said Bednarczyk. “It allowed me to have a flexible curriculum built around my particular interests in both hardware and software, and the department continues to offer new courses on exciting topics.” ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
19
2017

Minking Chyu Appointed Distinguished Service Professor

MEMS

PITTSBURGH, PA (June 19, 2017) … In honor of significant contributions to the University of Pittsburgh, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher has appointed Minking Chyu as Distinguished Service Professor, effective September 1, 2017. Dr. Chyu is currently the Leighton and Mary Orr Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Associate Dean of International Initiatives, and the inaugural Dean of the Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute (SCUPI) in China. After officially opening its doors in fall 2015, SCUPI has already grown freshman enrollment from 100 to 160 students this past year. There are currently 22 faculty and staff members and a new 300,000 square-foot building is currently under construction.“Dr. Chyu conceived the idea of creating a joint institute that would offer three University of Pittsburgh engineering degrees in China, led a team from the Swanson School to find a suitable partner, convinced the leadership of Sichuan University—a top 10 Chinese institution—to partner with Pitt, and persuaded the Pitt administration and the Chinese Ministry of Education of the merits of the joint venture. Dr. Chyu’s vision will have an immeasurable impact on future engineers for generations to come,” said Gerald Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering.Dr. Chyu received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Before joining the University of Pittsburgh in 2000, he was a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University for 13 years. His primary research interests are in thermal and material issues relating to energy, power, and aero propulsion systems. Dr. Chyu is a recipient of four NASA Certificates of Recognition for his contributions on the US space shuttle main engineer program. He has served as an Air Force Summer Research Fellow, Department of Energy Oak Ridge Research Fellow, and DOE Advanced-Turbine-System Faculty Fellow. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Associate Fellow of American Institute of Aerospace and Aeronautics (AIAA), and a member of the Scientific Council of the International Center of Heat and Mass Transfer (ISHMT). Dr. Chyu has published more than 300 technical papers in archived journals, books, and conference proceedings. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
16
2017

ChemE Department Appoints Two New Vice Chairs

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH, PA (June 16, 2017) … In response to increasing enrollment and curricular evolution, two Vice Chair positions for faculty have been established in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering. Taryn Bayles will become the Vice Chair for Undergraduate Education, and Robert Parker will become the Vice Chair for Graduate Education.“Taryn’s and Bob’s shared commitment to our students is very moving to me, and I am quite impressed with the visions that they set forth,” said Steven Little, William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “They have the Department’s full support in achieving those visions, and I could not be more excited to serve alongside them.”Joseph McCarthy, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department, will leave his current role in the Department as Vice Chair for Education to become the University of Pittsburgh Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies on August 1, 2017.As Vice Chair for Undergraduate Education, Dr. Bayles will be responsible for the academic experience of students through the Pillars program, a National Science Foundation-funded grant designed to reform the undergraduate Chemical Engineering curriculum at Pitt. Her focus will be on increasing diversity, inclusion, and student satisfaction.Dr. Parker served as the Department’s graduate program coordinator from 2006 – 2012. He will be responsible for building the graduate program quality and diversity, with a focus on engaging the post-graduate community.About Dr. BaylesPrior to joining Pitt, Dr. Bayles was the Undergraduate Program Director in Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Under her leadership, the program enrollment more than quadrupled and the percentage of female and underrepresented minority students increased. She has served as the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on $6.6 million in NSF awards that focus on support and mentoring for undergraduate students, outreach, and hands-on design experiences. She has developed and led more than 100 workshops with more than 5,000 participants for K-12 students, K-12 teachers, college students, and faculty members.   Dr. Bayles was awarded the University System of Maryland Regents Award for Collaboration in Public Service and the University System of Maryland Regents Award for Excellence in Mentoring. These are the highest awards given for faculty achievement in the University of Maryland system. To increase diversity at Pitt, she will draw upon her experience with the Meyerhoff program, in which she developed and led engineering workshops for the summer bridge program and received the Mentor of the Year Award. Since joining Pitt, Dr. Bayles has incorporated a hands-on design project in the CHE 0100 course, which was to design, build, test, and analyze a hemodialysis system. She serves as the faculty advisor of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) student chapter and the ChemE Car team. Dr. Bayles also serves as Chair of the Education Division of AIChE and the Publications Board of Chemical Engineering Education.About Dr. ParkerDr. Parker joined the University of Pittsburgh faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2000 and was promoted to Professor in 2014. His research program focuses on systems medicine and the use of mathematical models in the design of clinical decision support systems. He has been recognized for excellence in education through awards such as the Carnegie Science Center Excellence in Higher Education Award, the David L. Himmelblau Award from the Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) Division of AIChE, and most recently the 2017 Swanson School of Engineering Outstanding Educator Award. His commitment to a collaborative future in graduate education formed the basis of two funded Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) training programs, as well as the Systems Medicine Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. In addition to developing graduate-level training programs to support PhD students, Dr. Parker will lead graduate admissions, manage PhD timelines including qualifying examinations, support graduate recruiting, work with the Swanson School Office of Diversity to continue building a diverse graduate program, serve as the faculty advisor of the Department's Graduate Student Association, and manage faculty teaching assignments. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
16
2017

Pitt to recognize engineering alumna Elayne Arrington at 2017 AAAC Distinguished Alumnus Awards

MEMS, Diversity

University of Pittsburgh News Release PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh African American Alumni Council (AAAC) will honor five Pitt alumni at a ceremony at 3 p.m. June 17 at the Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center, 100 Lytton Ave., Oakland. The AAAC Distinguished Alumnus Awards are given to outstanding African American Pitt alumni for their professional accomplishments as well as their community stature.Elayne Arrington (ENGR ’61) cleared many hurdles in her quest to become an aeronautical engineer. She earned the second-highest SAT score in mathematics the year she graduated from Homestead High School as class valedictorian. But that year, for the first time in school history, the valedictorian did not deliver the address. Instead, it was given by the class president. Pitt recommended that Arrington receive the Mesta Machine Co. scholarship for employees’ top performing children to study mechanical engineering. But Mesta refused to give the scholarship to a woman. Despite that, in 1961 Arrington became the first Black female to graduate from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. She worked as an aerospace engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Foreign Technology Division. She earned a PhD in math in 1974, the 17th Black woman in the country to do so, and returned to Pitt to teach mathematics for the next 40 years.Martha Richards Conley (LAW ’71) was Pitt Law's first Black female graduate and the first Black female lawyer admitted to practice in Allegheny County. She was employed by the U.S. Steel Corporation for 27 years and retired from there as senior general attorney. A longtime opponent of the death penalty, she was chair of the Pittsburgh chapter of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. She is a longtime member of the historic Aurora Reading Club in Pittsburgh. She is an official visitor with the Pennsylvania Prison Society and escorted Cape Town Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on a prison visit in 2007.Robert “Bobby” Grier (BUS ’57) broke the color barrier when the Pitt Panthers fullback became the first African American college football player to play in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 2, 1956, when Pitt faced Georgia Tech. The governor of Georgia strongly opposed Grier’s participation in the game, as did the Georgia Tech Board of Trustees, whose members said Georgia Tech would forfeit the game if Grier was not benched. But Grier had strong support of his teammates and Pitt, who vowed “No Grier, no game.” Support for Grier also came from students and football players from Georgia Tech, who strongly protested against a forfeit. Pitt lost the game, 7-0, on a controversial pass interference call on Grier. Later, evidence appeared to show it was a bad call. Pitt won a major victory off the field that year, thanks to Bobby Grier and his Pitt teammates. DAME Vivian Hewitt (SIS ’44) received her library science degree from Pitt’s School of Library and Information Sciences. She began her career as the first Black librarian for the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh. Later, she became the first Black chief librarian at the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Council on Foreign Relations. Hewitt and her husband began buying works of Haitian and African American art while still a young couple, and now the Hewitt Collection is regarded to be one of the finest collections of its type in the world. It was purchased by Bank of America and gifted to the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art + Culture in Charlotte, North Carolina. The collection is on display at Pittsburgh’s August Wilson Center through June 30.Cecile M. Springer (GSPIA ’71) holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at Pitt. She achieved professional distinction in a number of fields throughout her diverse career, which has included positions as a research chemist for Bristol Myers Laboratories in New York, a principal planner for the Southwest Regional Planning Commission, president of the Westinghouse Foundation and founder of her own firm, Springer Associates, which provided comprehensive strategic planning. She has been recognized as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, a Carlow University Woman of Spirit and a Legacy Laureate of the University of Pittsburgh — the highest honor for an alumnus. Springer is a past president of the Pitt Alumni Association. ### Pictured above: Dr. Arrington (center) is recognized by the Swanson School "for exemplary leadership and resilience as the University of Pittsburgh's first African American female engineering graduate" during Black History Month on February 28, 2017. With her are (left) Sylvanus Wosu, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity; and Gerald D. Holder, Distinguished Service Professor and U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering.
Joe Miksch, News Director, University of Pittsburgh News Services
Jun
13
2017

Man(ufacturing) of Steel

MEMS

PITTSBURGH (June 13, 2017) … The advantages of additive manufacturing (AM) – from building complex structures for specific environments to repairing damaged components – continue to be grow as the technology matures. However, there has been limited research in developing new metals and alloys that would further enhance AM processes. Thanks to a three year, $449,000 award from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering will explore next-generation metals, especially steel, for use in additive manufacturing. The research, “Integrated Computational Materials Design for Additive Manufacturing of High-Strength Steels used in Naval Environments,” is led by Wei Xiong, PhD, assistant professor in the Swanson School’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. The research team also includes Esta Abelev, PhD and Susheng Tan, PhD as the senior personnel supporting materials microstructure characterization and corrosion tests. Funding is provided by the ONR Additive Manufacturing Alloys for Naval Environments (AMANE) program to design, develop and optimize new metallic alloy compositions for AM that are resistant to the effects of the Naval/maritime environment. “There are several metals, from nickel alloys to aluminum and titanium, which are the foundation for AM production of complex parts with properties that could not be developed via traditional, or subtractive, manufacturing. However, many of these materials are not as strong or reliable in the harsh environment of the sea, and that’s a disadvantage for the Navy and other maritime agencies,” Dr. Xiong said. “Steel and its alloys are still the best, most versatile and structurally sound metals for naval construction and repair, and so our research will focus on developing new toolkits to leverage the use of new steel prototypes in AM that will benefit the U.S. Navy." In particular, the Physical Metallurgy and Materials Design Laboratory led by Dr. Xiong will design a new type of high-strength low-alloy steel, which can be widely used in naval construction. The ONR proposal’s objective is for the Pitt researchers to apply the Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) tools to design both the composition of these allows and the direct metal laser sintering process, which is used in AM to fuse the metal powders into components. The research will also focus on post-process optimization, which can further improve the mechanical properties and corrosion resistance of these specialty steels. “Additive manufacturing presents a transformative opportunity for the Navy and Department of Defense to develop complex structures that are stronger, more reliable and yet cost-effective,” Dr. Xiong said. “Through the integrated computational materials design, from metal development to production and final optimization, we believe we will design new types of steel that will greatly benefit the Navy and the women and men who serve.” ### Photo above: Dr. Xiong in the Swanson School's ANSYS Additive Manufacturing Laboratory. About Wei Xiong Dr. Wei Xiong is assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. He serves as the associate editor of the journal STAM: Science and Technology of Advanced Materials. His research interests include advanced materials and processing design based on methodologies of Materials by Design and Accelerated Insertion of Materials; predictive-science based model development for process-structure-property relation in advanced manufacturing; and additive manufacturing of high performance alloys using Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) and Selective Laser Melting (SLM) techniques. Previously a research associate in materials science at Northwestern University, Dr. Xiong earned his PhD from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, and Doctor of Engineering from the State Key Laboratory of Powder Metallurgy at the Central South University, China.

Jun
12
2017

Pitt Senior Vice Chancellor Rob A. Rutenbar to continue his computational research in Swanson School of Engineering

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH (June 12, 2017) … To continue his research in computational engineering, Rob A. Rutenbar, the University of Pittsburgh’s new senior vice chancellor for research, has accepted a research position in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. According to an announcement by Alan D. George, Department Chair and R&H Mickle Endowed Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the appointment will enable Dr. Rutenbar to expand his computational problem research while contributing to the breadth and depth of the Department’s expertise. “Rob’s research in developing solutions for challenging computational problems is a perfect fit for our computer engineering program in particular, as well as laboratories such as our NSF Center for High-Performance Reconfigurable Computing,” Dr. George said. “We’re proud to have him as a member of the Department and look forward to his contributions to our research portfolio.” Dr. Rutenbar’s research focuses on custom hardware accelerator architectures in both reconfigurable logic and directly in silicon, and his recent work targets machine learning (ML) tasks and their unique computational and memory requirements.“I am hoping to extend these efforts to problems at the intersection of ML and bioinformatics, leveraging Pitt’s unique strengths in the biomedical domain, and especially the strong partnership between its schools of Engineering and Medicine,” Dr. Rutenbar said. “I’m looking forward to recruiting new students and partnering with my colleagues on the Computer Engineering faculty to work on very tough computational problems, as well as to collaborate with Alan on the Department’s research initiatives.” Dr. Rutenbar is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, and has twice won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ coveted Donald O. Pedersen Best Paper Award. In 2002, he was named Carnegie Mellon’s Stephen J. Jatras Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering, an endowed professorship position he held until leaving that university in 2010. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Wayne State University and master’s and doctorate degrees in computer, information and control engineering at the University of Michigan, and is a Distinguished Alumnus of both institutions. ###

Jun
8
2017

Royal Society of Chemistry Journal Names ChemE’s John Keith One of Materials Chemistry’s “Rising Stars”

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH, PA (June 8, 2017) … The Journal of Materials Chemistry A, published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, included University of Pittsburgh researcher John Keith in its list of Emerging Investigators in 2017. The journal’s themed issue highlighted “rising stars” of materials chemistry research recommended by experts in the field.Dr. Keith, assistant professor and the inaugural Richard King Mellon Faculty Fellow in Energy in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, was included in the journal for his work on “Computational investigation of CO2 electroreduction on tin oxide and predictions of Ti, V, Nb and Zr dopants for improved catalysis” (DOI: 10.1039/C7TA00405B).The paper outlines the work of Dr. Keith and his team on improving the performance of tin electrocatalysts for CO2 reduction. By using computational quantum chemistry modeling, the researchers studied reaction mechanisms on partially-reduced tin oxide surfaces and which elemental dopant additives can be added to make the CO2 conversion more energy efficient.“Some of the dopants we modeled were already known to improve CO2 conversion energy efficiencies, and since our models could predict those cases we’re confident the other dopants we predicted as improving efficiencies are very promising for future work,” said Dr. Keith. “Our work demonstrates how we can modify tin-based oxide materials to make them better at converting CO2 into useful chemicals and fuels.”As Principal Investigator and Founder of the Keith Lab in Computational Chemistry at Pitt, Dr. Keith studies atomic scale reaction mechanisms to understand how to design better catalysts whether the goal is a commodity chemical made from CO2 or an anticorrosion coating for the US Navy.Joining Dr. Keith on the study were PhD students Karthikeyan Saravanan and Yasemin Basdogan as well as James Dean, a former undergraduate researcher that was supported by Pitt’s NSF-sponsored Particle-based Functional Materials Research Experience for Undergraduates program.About Dr. KeithJohn Keith is a tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Energy and affiliated with Pitt’s Center for Energy as its R. K. Mellon Faculty Fellow in Energy. After obtaining his PhD from Caltech, he was an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ulm and then an Associate Research Scholar at Princeton University. He began his appointment at Pitt in September 2013. His group uses first-principles based computational chemistry modeling to study chemical reaction mechanisms and design materials and catalysts for energy storage and conversion. Current research activities focus on atomic scale mechanisms for CO2 conversion, computer-aided design of molecular chelants, and tuning oxide materials for catalysis via doping. In 2017, Dr. Keith received a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation.About Journal of Materials Chemistry AThe Journal of Materials Chemistry A publishes research related to “high impact applications, properties, and synthesis of exciting new materials for energy and sustainability.” The journal has an impact factor of 8.262, and there are 48 issues per year in addition to its themed collections. The Royal Society of Chemistry has more than 54,000 members internationally and publishes 43 peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Materials Chemistry A and its two sister publications: Journal of Materials Chemistry B and Journal of Materials Chemistry C. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
6
2017

IE’s Joel Haight Receives ASSE 2016-17 President’s Award for Contributions to Safety Engineering

Industrial

PITTSBURGH, PA (June 6, 2017) … Thomas Cecich, the president of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), named the University of Pittsburgh’s Joel Haight one of five recipients of the 2016-2017 President’s Award. The annual award recognizes occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals for their “exceptional service and dedication to workplace safety and the OSH profession.”Dr. Haight, associate professor of industrial engineering at Pitt, received the President’s Award for his leadership and commitment to advancing OSH research. As the chair of the research committee for the ASSE Foundation, Dr. Haight developed a research program to help safety professionals stay current with new ideas and emerging technologies. The Foundation recently awarded its first grant totaling $300,000 for a three-year study to a group of researchers at the University of Buffalo. Dr. Haight also received the 2016 ASSE Safety Professional of the Year award for the Engineering Practice Specialty. In addition to his faculty position, he is the director of the safety engineering program at Pitt.About Dr. HaightJoel M. Haight joined the Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh in 2013. In the previous 33 years he served four years as Chief of the Human Factors Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at their Pittsburgh Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, where he managed a research branch of 35-40 researchers in the areas of ergonomics, cognitive engineering, human behavior, and training. Dr. Haight also served for nearly 10 years, as an Associate Professor of Energy and Mineral Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Haight worked as a manager and engineer for the Chevron Corporation for 18 years prior to joining the faculty at Penn State. His research interests include health and safety management systems intervention effectiveness measurement and optimization and human performance measurement in automated control system design.He is the editor in chief and contributing author of Handbook of Loss Prevention Engineering published by J.W. Wiley and Sons in 2013 and the Safety Professionals Handbook published by the American Society of Safety Engineers in 2012. In addition, he has published nearly 60 refereed journal articles and conference proceedings.  Dr. Haight is an active member of ASSE, HFES, IISE, and AIHA. He serves as the chair of the research committee for the American Society of Safety Engineers foundation and Board of Trustees member. He is a licensed professional engineer in Pennsylvania and Alabama and certified by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and the American Board of Industrial Hygienists.About ASSEFounded in 1911, the American Society of Safety Engineers is the world’s oldest professional safety society. ASSE promotes the expertise, leadership, and commitment of its members, while providing them with professional development, advocacy, and standards development. The organization also sets the occupational safety, health, and environmental community’s standards for excellence and ethics. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
6
2017

Swanson School’s Gilbertson and Bedewy Win ORAU Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards

Civil & Environmental, Industrial

PITTSBURGH, PA (June 6, 2017) … Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) selected University of Pittsburgh professors Mostafa Bedewy and Leanne Gilbertson as two of the 36 nationwide recipients of the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. The $5,000 awards will be matched by an equal amount from Pitt and enable both researchers to engage in research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee.ORAU is a consortium of 121-member universities whose mission is to form partnerships that enhance the national scientific research and education enterprise. The Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards serve as new funding opportunities to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty.Dr. Bedewy, assistant professor of industrial engineering, is developing processes for controlling the growth of vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes to tailor their properties for specific energy applications such as battery electrodes, thermal interfaces for high power density electronics, materials for tuned mechanical energy absorption, and electrical interconnects for 3D nanoelectronics.“When we synthesize vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes, or what we call ‘CNT forests,’ by chemical vapor deposition, billions of individual nanotubes grow simultaneously from substrate-bound catalyst nanoparticles. The size of each nanotube is one-ten-thousandth of the size of a human hair,” explained Dr. Bedewy. “Hence, controlling their interactions and population dynamics is crucial for tailoring their spatially varying properties. To advance our research on this topic, we are looking forward to using the pulsed chemical vapor deposition and in situ laser measurement capabilities at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences.”Pitt’s NanoProduct Lab, established and directed by Dr. Bedewy, conducts fundamental research combining experiments with modeling at the interface between nanoscience, biotechnology, and manufacturing engineering.  “Our research in the broad area of advanced manufacturing at multiple length scales aims at impacting our societal needs in the crucial areas of energy, healthcare, and the environment,” Dr. Bedewy added.Dr. Gilbertson, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, received an award for her research proposal titled, “Simultaneous In Situ Characterization of Multiple Carbon Nanomaterial Properties Using Liquid Cell TEM-STEM at ORNL.” Building on her previous work on the importance of surface chemistry and the potential to manipulate reactivity of carbon nanomaterials (CNMs), she will aim to characterize CNMs in an experimental aqueous phase using in situ liquid and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) as well as scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM).“Comprehensive nanomaterial characterization is essential to uncover nano-bio interactions in a way that can inform rational design. The current approach to characterization utilizes independent methods and oftentimes, the material is characterized under conditions different from the biological assay. Equipment at the ORNL facility will enable simultaneous multi-property characterization under experimental aqueous phase exposure conditions to capture the true nature of engineered nanomaterials and nano-bio interactions at high resolution,” explained Dr. Gilbertson.Dr. Gilbertson’s research group at the University of Pittsburgh aims to inform sustainable design of existing and novel materials with an emphasis on precluding unintended consequences to the environment and human health while maintaining functional performance goals.“I am honored to be recognized by ORAU for this award and am excited for the opportunity to visit ORNL. The funding will also support an invaluable experience for one of my graduate students to work with state of the art equipment at a national lab,” Gilbertson added.About Dr. BedewyDr. Bedewy became an Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering and established the NanoProduct Lab at the University of Pittsburgh in the Fall of 2016. He was a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT in the area of bionanofabrication. Before that, he was a Postdoc at the MIT Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, working on in situ environmental TEM characterization of catalytic nanostructure synthesis and interactions from 2013-2014. In 2013, Dr. Bedewy completed his PhD at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he worked on studying the population dynamics and the collective mechanochemical factors governing the growth and self-organization of nanofilaments. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Design and Production Engineering and a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, both from Cairo University. About Dr. GilbertsonDr. Gilbertson became an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. She was a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University in Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering from 2014 – 2015. In 2014, Dr. Gilbertson completed her PhD at Yale University, where she also received Master of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees in Chemical and Environmental Engineering. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Education. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
4
2017

ECE's Dr. Greg Reed discusses potential closure of Three Mile Island on KDKA's "Sunday Business Page"

Electrical & Computer

Gregory Reed, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of Pitt's Center for Energy, joined KDKA's Jon Delano on the Sunday Business Page to discuss the potential closing of Three Mile Island and the future of nuclear power in the U.S. (Original airdate: June 4, 2017) View the Sunday Business Page at KDKA TV.

Jun
2
2017

Pitt’s Industrial Engineering program recognized at IISE Conference in Pittsburgh

Industrial

PITTSBURGH, PA (June 2, 2017) …  The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) presented multiple awards and scholarships to students, faculty, and alumni of the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Industrial Engineering at its Annual Conference and Expo.The annual conference took place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh from May 20 – 23.• The IISE awarded Harvey Wolfe, professor emeritus of industrial engineering at Pitt, with the Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Award Industrial Engineering Award. The award celebrates individuals who have contributed to the welfare of humankind in the field of industrial engineering, and is the “highest and most esteemed honor bestowed by IISE.” Dr. Wolfe joined the University of Pittsburgh faculty in 1964 and served as chair of the department of industrial engineering from 1985 to 2000 before retiring in 2006. Dr. Wolfe along with Larry Shuman, the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Pitt, pioneered the field of Health Systems Engineering by applying operations research to hospitals. • Yuval Cohen, who graduated with a PhD in industrial engineering from Pitt in 1998, won the IISE/Joint Publishers Book-of-the-Year Award with co-author Avraham Shtub for Introduction to Industrial Engineering, 2nd Edition (2017, CRC Press, ISBN 9781138747852). The Book-of-the-Year award honors the author of a published book that focuses on topics in industrial engineering, improves education, or contributes to furthering the profession. Dr. Cohen is currently a Senior Lecturer at Afeka Tel-Aviv College of Engineering and The Open University of Israel.• The Captains of Industry Award was awarded to Francis Kramer, president and CEO of II-VI, a laser optics and infrared optical material manufacturing company based in Saxonburg, Pa. The award honors “leaders in business, industry, and government such as presidents, CEOs, senior vice presides, and directors of organizations with substantial sales, assets, employment, or other resources.” Kramer is a member of the board of advisors for the Swanson School of Engineering and an alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. • The University of Pittsburgh’s Lisa Maillart received a Best Paper award for “Optimal pinging frequencies in the search for an immobile beacon,” which was published in IIE Transactions (DOI: 10.1080/0740817X.2015.1110270). Dr. Maillart co-authored the paper with former Pitt faculty member Andrew Schaefer and former Pitt graduate student David Eckman. Dr. Maillart is currently visiting faculty at Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands. She will return to her position as professor at the University of Pittsburgh in January 2018.• IISE named Bopaya Bidanda, the Ernst Roth Professor and IE Department Chair at Pitt, “Outstanding Faculty Advisor” for the Northeast Region, which includes New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The award recognizes individuals who serve their IISE chapter and its members as teachers, advisors, and mentors. One of seven U.S. regions for IISE, the Northeast is home to 25 percent of the U.S. professional chapters and 16 percent of the U.S. student chapters.• Douglas Rabeneck, a director of Operations Excellence practice at West Monroe Partners, won the Fred C. Crane Distinguished Service Award for “long and arduous service” to IISE. Rabeneck is a member of the Department of Industrial Engineering Visiting Committee at Pitt. He earned his BS and MS degrees and a graduate certificate in Engineering Management and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh.• Undergraduate students Victoria Portier and Jennifer Lundahl both received $1,000 scholarships from IISE. Portier received the Henry and Elisabeth Kroeze Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to students who demonstrate an interest in metrication, engineering, and computer science. Lundahl received the Harold and Inge Marcus Scholarship, which is awarded to students who display academic excellence and contribute to the development of the industrial engineering profession.• The Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc. also awarded two scholarships to Pitt undergraduates. The Howard Bernstein Scholarship went to Julie Shields. The $5,000 award is reserved for students interested in material handling, industrial distribution, engineering, logistics, and supply chain industries. Noah Kaib received the Hanel Storage Systems Honor Scholarship worth $2,000. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jun
2
2017

Article by ECE's Kevin Chen highlighted by Nature Physics' "News and Views"

Electrical & Computer

Reprinted with permission of Pittsburgh Quantum Institute. PITTSBURGH (June 2, 2017) ... Kevin Chen's article Experimental observation of optical Weyl points and Fermi arc-like surface states (DOI: 10.1038/nphys4072), published in Nature Physics, was the subject of a "News and Views" article entitled " Topological Photonics: Come to Light." The physics idea leading to this paper originated from Penn State collaborator Mikael Rechtsman. Dr. Chen is the Paul E. Lego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering. Topological states of matter can exhibit a range of unique quantum phenomena that are of interest to various fields of classical physics, such as acoustics, mechanics or photonics. Although a number of these topological states have been successfully emulated in photonics, their application has been restricted to certain frequencies. Most topological properties have been demonstrated in two-dimensional (2D) systems; however, a variety of new topological properties have been predicted for three-dimensional (3D) systems. The study published in Nature Physics marks an important step by emulating Weyl points, which constitute the simplest possible topologically nontrivial band structure, in three dimensions. Weyl fermions are massless spin-1/2 particles that arise in the form of quasiparticle excitations. The band structure of Weyl materials exhibits conical valence and conduction bands that touch at a single Weyl point, which carries a topological charge. Weyl points are surprisingly robust with respect to perturbations, which, whether global or local, can only shift the Weyl point and not lift the degeneracy between the bands, implying that the conical dispersion will persist. Such materials also have exotic topological excitations on the surface, with a dispersion referred to as a Fermi arc due to its distinct shape. Such arcs interconnect a pair of Weyl points of opposite charges in reciprocal space. To realize the optical equivalent of Weyl points and Fermi arcs, the authors exploited a platform that has already been proven to be extremely versatile and fruitful for topological photonics in the context of Floquet topological insulators. The system comprises a periodic array of optical waveguides, fabricated by direct laser writing inside a glass slab. The hopping between different waveguides can be controlled by tuning their separation. A helical shape provides an additional modulation in the z-direction, making the structure truly three-dimensional. The Weyl dispersion thus engineered could be probed by coupling an optical field to the system and imaging lateral field distributions along the xy-cuts of the structure near the frequency of one of the Weyl points. To confirm the topological properties the authors had to look for signatures of the type-II Weyl dispersion in the 2D field profiles: type-II Weyl points significantly modifies the diffraction pattern of light, rendering it conical in shape. Even more exciting is that, in addition to this bulk signature, the Weyl dispersion is expected to give rise to the emergence of optical surface states — photonic analogues of topological excitations forming the arc-shaped dispersion connecting two Weyl points. The observation of Weyl points and the associated surface states at optical frequencies is an important advance for two reasons. First, it shows that these exotic systems can be emulated in the optical domain, which offers the opportunity to probe other complex physical systems in photonic crystals and metamaterials. Second, it brings the concept of topological photonics one step closer to practical applications in optics. The properties unique to this class of system can now be exploited to the full extent, controlling light not only classically, but also in quantum regimes. The synthetic gauge fields produced by Weyl charges open a new opportunity for engineering and controlling entangled states of photons, and may become indispensable for quantum computing. Says Dr. Chen, "For engineer researchers, it is absolutely intriguing that manufacturing technology developed in an engineering laboratory can advance our fundamental understanding of Quantum mechanics. It has been a wonderful learning experience. But our research also has inversion symmetry. Next step, we will explore how cutting-edge quantum mechanics research can benefit manufacturing technology leading to better products and services." ### Image above: Theoretical and numerical demonstration of topological phase transition associated with type-II Weyl points. a, Microscope image of the output facet of structure, representing a two-dimensional cut of the waveguide array for fixed z. b, Numerically determined phase diagram of the structure, as a function of lattice constant a and wavelength λ. Type-II Weyl points reside along the red curves, and Fermi arc-like surface states exist between these two curves (yellow region). c, Bulk band structure for the two relevant bands plotted as a function of kz (in the kx = ky = 0–plane, using the extended-zone scheme). Type-II Weyl points arise at their intersection. d–f, Isofrequency surfaces for the topologically trivial case (no Fermi arc-like states), at the Weyl point (WP), and the topological (with Fermi arc-like states) case, at a = 29,27 and 25 μm, at wavelengths 1,450 nm, 1,525 nm and 1,600 nm, respectively. The open circles in the phase diagram shown in b correspond to the band structures in d–f. All results in b–f are calculated numerically 28, using experimental parameters. (License #4120910778162)

May

May
31
2017

Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation Awards $100,000 to BioE’s Abhijit Roy

Bioengineering

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 31, 2017) … The Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF) has chosen Dr. Abhijit Roy, a Research Assistant Professor in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Bioengineering, as a recipient of its Junior Investigator Award to help fund his research into a novel bone grafts with the potential for complete bone generation in areas with defects.“The grant is aimed at providing a revolutionary concept representing a paradigm shift in the arena of degradable materials for craniomaxillofacial bone regeneration,” said Dr. Roy. “Success of this project will establish a revolutionary technology possessing unique benefits not proffered by existing synthetic bone grafts, including complete resorption, osteoconductivity, mechanical stability throughout the complete bone healing process, and biocompatibility and safety.” Beginning in July 2017, Dr. Roy will receive $100,000 over one year for his study “Novel Mg Alloy Based Biodegradable Porous Scaffolds for Bone Regeneration of Critical Sized Cranial Bone Defects.” The research will be carried out in the group of Dr. Prashant N. Kumta, the Edward R. Weidlein Chair Professor in the Swanson School of Engineering and School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Kumta will serve as coinvestigator on the study along with Dr. Vijay S. Gorantla, assistant professor of plastic surgery at Pitt, and Dr. MaCalus V. Hogan, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at Pitt.The MTF Junior Investigator Award is for researchers attempting to advance allografts, the science of transplantation, and the biological reconstruction of musculoskeletal tissues. Allografts, a type of non-synthetic graft, come from donors other than the patient. They can lead to complications from adverse immune response and the risk of disease transmission. Autografts, non-synthetic grafts taken from the patient’s own tissue, usually require a second surgical site and can increase the risk for infection, require extended operating room and recovery times, and increase healthcare expenditures. According to MTF, many doctors prefer allografts over autografts because of their availability, safety, and readiness for use. However, in both allografts and autografts, the amount of tissue that can be harvested is limited. Synthetic bone graft substitutes offer new therapy options for the treatment of bone defects without the complications associated with non-synthetic grafts. “Unfortunately, the majority of synthetic bone grafts developed to date are inert and non-degradable which lead to insufficient bone formation, poor integration to the surrounding tissue, long term complications and the need for prolonged treatment with antibiotics and immunosuppressive therapies,” explained Dr. Roy. “This project will test the use of a novel degradable magnesium metal alloy-based bone graft that will lead to complete bone regeneration in a rat calvarial [or skullcap] defect.” ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
May
31
2017

Swanson School Research Partner PITT OHIO Receives Gold LEED Certification for Cheswick Terminal

Electrical & Computer

News release reposted with permission of PITT OHIO PITTSBURGH (May 31, 2017) - A PITT OHIO Terminal, located at 1 Rich Hill Road, Cheswick PA, 15024, has received enough points to officially certify the location as LEED Gold. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Certification requires a building to meet certain sustainability standards in water, energy, and material usage efficiency, all of which the terminal has met and surpassed.The terminal received points to achieve the Gold Level Certification in six of the eight LEED categories including, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation & Design. Out of a possible 60 points needed to obtain a Gold ranking, the terminal received 63 on the LEED scale.The 55,000 square foot terminal, responsible for servicing the Pittsburgh region, utilizes a low-emitting Energy Star roof positioned to reflect the highest percentage of the sun’s rays, cooling the surrounding area and lowering air conditioning costs. 150 LED lights are used in replacement of incandescent, saving about $2,000 a year in electricity. A geothermal well was put in place to utilize the Earth’s temperature as a heat source in the winter and a heat sink in the summer. The project also uses renewable solar and wind energy with a 60kw photovoltaic array and a WindStax Turbine. The energy cost savings, when all forms of innovation are taken into account, are over 45% when compared to a conventional building. The Pittsburgh terminal is the company's second LEED Gold certified building.  The 22,000 square foot Maintenance Shop Building located on the same campus received Gold distinction in late 2016.The entire site uses sustainable landscaping including bioswales, or man-made elements placed to remove pollutants and dirt from runoff, and drought tolerant native plants to cut down on water usage and prevent flooding. Low-flow appliances and fixtures are also projected to save over 30% of the water that conventional fixtures would use in the same buildings. PITT OHIO secured help from EvolveEA; an organization dedicated to the advancement of environmentally sustainable systems and solutions through design and thought leadership. Marc Mondor, an American Institute-Architect, LEED Fellow, and a USGBC Faculty at EvolveEA, and his team assisted PITT OIHO with the application process and submittals of all necessary documentation.“We are pleased and proud to have been a part of this project, from early goal setting sessions to this milestone of multiple LEED certifications,” said Mondor. “This makes PITT OHIO the first trucking terminal in the country with two LEED Gold projects.  PITT OHIO has raised the bar, with a terminal that employs solar energy, wind energy, energy storage, stormwater retention, as well as a design that benefits all interior occupants.”     “PITT OHIO is proud to provide its customers and employees with one of the most innovative, sustainable, LEED Gold certified facilities found anywhere in this country,” stated Jim Fields, Chief Operating Officer at PITT OHIO. “This flexible facility and world class vehicle maintenance shop have state-of-the-art features which help us attract and retain some of the most talented drivers and mechanics in the region.  It clearly represents our commitment to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and to the western Pennsylvania region.  It also demonstrates how incredibly talented people from the academic and business communities can team-up to solve complex business problems.”Following consideration of the importance of environmental sustainability and a commitment to be a leader in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions, PITT OHIO is dedicated to doing its best to achieve environmental and social responsibility.  The company actively tries to reduce its carbon footprint on the road and at their facilities and their commitment to sustainability will be evident in future construction projects. ### Photo above: 180 rooftop solar panels atop the PITT OHIO Cheswick facility, along with a WindStax Turbine (background)  helped the company achieve LEED Gold. Photo below: At the LEED ceremony, from left: Michael Rooney, Bob Hurley, Jim Fields, Chuck Hammel, Rich Fitzgerald, Dr. Brandon Grainger, Dr. Gregory Reed, Dr. Katrina Kelly and Jennifer Liptak.    Rich Fitzgerald, County Executive, Allegheny County    Bob Hurley, Director, Allegheny County Economic Development    Jennifer Liptak, Chief of Staff, County Executive    Dr. Gregory Reed, Director, University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy    Dr. Brandon Grainger, Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy    Dr. Katrina Kelly, Manager of Strategy and Business Development, University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy    Michael Rooney, Manager of District Energy Initiatives, University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy    Chuck Hammel, President, PITT OHIO    Jim Fields, Chief Operating Officer, PITT OHIO    Jim Maug, Director of Building Maintenance and Property Management ABOUT PITT OHIOIn adhering to their “We’re Always There For You” signature commitment, PITT OHIO is dedicated to providing their customers with the best value in its SUPPLY CHAIN, GROUND, Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) and TRUCKLOAD services.  Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, PITT OHIO services the entire Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West regions and the remainder of the United States and Canada with North American service providers. To contact PITT OHIO, please visit their website at www.pittohio.com.ABOUT LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN (LEED)LEED certification ensures electricity cost savings, lower carbon emissions and healthier environments for the places we live, work, learn, play and worship. LEED’s global sustainability agenda is designed to achieve high performance in key areas of human and environmental health, acting on the triple bottom line - putting people, planet, and profit first. LEED projects earn points by adhering to prerequisites and credits across nine measurements for building excellence from integrative process to indoor environmental quality.ABOUT EVOLVE ENVIRONMENT AND ARCHITECTUREEvolve environment and architecture (EvolveEA) is a nimble multidisciplinary practice situated at the intersection of sustainability and the built environment. The team of designers, architects, environmental scientists and sustainable business experts look through three lenses of sustainability: People, Process, and Place.
Candi Cybator, Manager Marketing/Public Relations, PITT OHIO
May
30
2017

Carborane research by ChemE researcher Giannis Mpourmpakis lands cover of Catalysis Science & Technology

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH (May 30, 2017) … Research at the University of Pittsburgh into a more energy-efficient catalytic process to produce olefins, the building blocks for polymer production, was recently featured on the inside front cover of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal, Catalysis Science & Technology (21 May 2017, Issue 10). The team’s investigations could impact potential applications in diverse technology areas from green energy and sustainable chemistry to materials engineering and catalysis. “Carboranes: the strongest Brønsted acids in alcohol dehydration” (DOI: 10.1039/C7CY00458C) was authored by Giannis Mpourmpakis, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering. PhD candidate Pavlo Kostetskyy and undergraduate student Nicholas A. Zervoudis, part of Mpourmpakis’ Computer-Aided Nano and Energy Lab (C.A.N.E.LA.), are co-authors. Pitt’s Center for Simulation and Modeling provided computational support. “Carboranes are one of the strongest known acids, but little is known about how these molecular catalysts can dehydrate biomass-derived alcohols,” Dr. Mpourmpakis explained. “Our computational research not only detailed the mechanism under which alcohols dehydrate on these catalysts, but most importantly we developed linear relationships between the energy input needed to observe dehydration of alcohols and the alcohol characteristics.” According to the paper, “these obtained relationships are especially relevant to the field of solid acid catalysis, a widely studied area with a vast range of industrial applications, including the formation of olefins (polymer building blocks) from biomass-derived alcohols as well as fuels and chemicals from sugars and polyols.” The group’s research focused on primary, secondary and tertiary alcohols, and revealed the slope of linear relationships depending on the reaction mechanism. “This research is important because now experimentalists have a way to identify the reaction followed when different alcohols dehydrate,” Mpourmpakis said. “Because this process involves biomass-based production of polymers, we can potentially create a more sustainable and energy-efficient process.” ### Image above: Inside front cover of Catalysis Science & Technology. Catal. Sci. Technol., 2017, 7, 1974-1974 - Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.

May
22
2017

Swanson School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering appoints Amro El-Jaroudi as Associate Chair

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH (May 22, 2017) … Recognizing his significant career experience at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, Amro El-Jaroudi has been named Associate Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. An associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Pitt since 1988, Dr. El-Jaroudi’s appointment was announced by Alan George, PhD, department chair. In his role, Dr. El-Jaroudi will support the academic and research initiatives in the department, as well as help manage staff, programs, and resources. “Amro brings the knowledge, wisdom, and experience to serve in this key role for our department,” Dr. George said. “He is well respected by his peers, colleagues, and students throughout the Swanson School and will contribute significantly to the operation and growth of our department.” Dr. El-Jaroudi’s research interests include digital signal processing, and neural net algorithms, specifically with applications in speech analysis and recognition, spectral estimation, and filter design, which in all have attracted more than $3.9 million in research funding. He has authored or co-authored several dozen journal publications and book chapters. At the Swanson School, he has developed courses in modern spectral estimation and digital filter design, and established the Real-Time Signal Processing Laboratory, which is dedicated to improving the design and problem solving experience in signal processing for juniors and senior undergraduates in electrical engineering. He is a recipient of the Swanson School’s Outstanding Educator Award (previously the Beitle-Veltri Memorial Award), and was named Outstanding Teacher in Electrical Engineering. Prior to his career at Pitt, he earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD in electrical engineering from Northeastern University. ### Pictured above from left: Dr. Alan George with Dr. Amro El Jaroudi.

May
19
2017

Fueling the Future

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (May 19, 2017) … Numerous studies have raised critical concerns about the promise of corn ethanol’s ability to mitigate climate change and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Some of the studies have suggested that after a full life cycle assessment—meaning an analysis of environmental impact throughout all stages of a product’s life—biofuels like corn ethanol may not offer any greenhouse gas emissions reductions relative to petroleum fuels. The Royal Society of Chemistry journal Energy & Environmental Science recently published research by a team from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Oklahoma investigating the full life cycle impact of one promising “second-generation biofuel” produced from short-rotation oak. The study found that second-generation biofuels made from managed trees and perennial grasses may provide a sustainable fuel resource.  “Multistage torrefaction and in situ catalytic upgrading to hydrocarbon biofuels: analysis of life cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions” (DOI: 10.1039/C7EE00682A) took a novel approach to the production of second-generation biofuel while also comprehensively accounting for all of the steps involved in the full supply chain. “Corn ethanol environmental impacts weren’t really studied until after its commercialization,” explained Vikas Khanna, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh and corresponding author of the study. “The great thing about this project is it addresses full life cycle sustainability questions of new fuel sources before they come up later down the road.” In 2007, the United Nations called for a five-year moratorium on food-based (or first-generation) biofuels because of concerns that they would consume farmland and lead to worldwide food shortage. Dr. Khanna and his team’s study used wood from oak trees, as they can be harvested year-round and reduce the need for large-scale storage infrastructure. “Second-generation biofuels differ from first generation biofuels because they don’t come directly from food crops like corn and soy,” said Dr. Khanna. “They include woody crops, perennial grasses, agricultural and forest residues, and industrial wastes.” A significant metric for determining the efficacy of fuel is the Energy Return on Investment (EROI) ratio. The EROI of petroleum crude production remains high at about 11:1, meaning an investment of one unit of energy will yield 11 units of energy. However, the EROI has been steadily decreasing since 1986 and will continue to worsen as fossil fuels become more scarce and difficult to access. When researchers study potentially promising energy sources, they look for a ratio greater than 1:1. Corn derived ethanol, for example, has a EROI of 1.3:1. The study found the median EROI for multistage second-generation biofuel systems ranges from 1.32:1 to 3.76:1.  The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 states that cellulosic biofuels, like the ones used in the study, must outperform the greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuels by reducing relative emissions by 60 percent to receive economic incentives from the government. The study surpassed minimum requirements and showed an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to baseline petroleum diesel. Additionally, there was a 40 percent reduction in hydrogen consumption relative to a single-stage pyrolysis system. “Pyrolysis is the process of heating biomass to high temperatures in the absence of oxygen to and create biofuel,” said Dr. Khanna. “If it’s done quickly, in one stage, a lot of carbon will be lost. Our research showed that a multistage, lower temperature system of pyrolysis can increase the carbon chain length, create more liquid fuel and improve the energy output of the entire process.” Co-authors of the study included: George G. Zaimes, senior engineer at KeyLogic and former PhD advisee under Dr. Khanna; Andrew W. Beck, graduate research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh; Rajiv R. Janupala, research assistant at the University of Oklahoma; and University of Oklahoma faculty members Daniel E. Resasco, Steven P. Crossley and Lance L. Lobban. About E&ES Energy & Environmental Science is an international, monthly journal covering chemical, physical and biotechnological sciences relating to energy conversion and storage, alternative fuel technologies and environmental science. It has an impact factor of 25.427, and its rejection rate is more than 90 percent. ### Image above: Schematic showing the stages modeled in the biomass-to-fuel life cycle assessment. This image first appeared in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Energy & Environmental Science, Issue 5, 2017  http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2017/ee/c7ee00682a#!divAbstract
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
May
17
2017

NSF Grant Provides Research Opportunities for Undergraduates at Pitt

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 17, 2017) … According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), research experience is one of the most effective avenues for attracting students to and retaining them in science and engineering, as well as to preparing them for careers in these fields. Thanks to NSF, an engineering program at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering will once again be able to better prepare undergraduates for academia, research, and industry. The NSF awarded a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) grant to provide undergraduate students with research opportunities in the Swanson School’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. The three-year, $425,000 grant will fund a 10-week summer research program for students and provide them with a stipend and financial assistance for food, housing, and travel.Principal Investigator Joseph McCarthy, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, will lead the REU program. Dr. McCarthy co-authored the grant proposal “REU Site: Enhancing Knowledge Integration Through Undergraduate Research – Particle-based Functional Materials for Energy, Sustainability, and Biomedicine.” Co-Principal Investigator Taryn M. Bayles, also a professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, will assist with the REU program.As a Particle-based Functional Materials (PFM) REU grant, the student research will comprise computational and experimental studies of materials that fulfill a specific function either because of their particulate nature or the influence of particles on structure. The program will admit 12 students each year beginning in 2017 and take place between May and August. “The impact of this program for these young students cannot be overstated,” said Steven Little, William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “My own story goes all the way back to 1998 when I came to the University of Pittsburgh as an undergraduate student that applied to the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering through an REU program. That experience is likely a major part of why I went to graduate school in the first place.”The PFM REU program is in its third round of funding and is the second funded grant for the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering to help provide research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students focused on this topic. For more than a decade, this REU program combined with a similar program called the PFM Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellowships have provided both undergraduate and graduate students with research opportunities at Pitt. By the end of this funding cycle, these combined programs will have sponsored over 100 students to pursue their research goals.In addition to working with Pitt graduate students and faculty, undergraduate students accepted in the REU program will work in teams on a “cross-training” internship. They will complete a mini-project in a different area of particle-based functional materials. They can also attend weekly seminars on topics such as laboratory safety, research integrity and oral presentation skills. Students will have the opportunity to participate in social, recreational and cultural activities. The program will include an Ethics Forum in the middle of the ten weeks and will conclude with a Research Symposium.Dr. McCarthy is recognized for his impact on undergraduate engineering education. He is the primary architect of the Pillars curriculum in Chemical Engineering, an award winning block-scheduled curriculum for chemical engineering undergraduates that is the first fully integrated engineering curriculum. Additionally, he oversees both of Pitt’s undergraduate and graduate programs in chemical and petroleum engineering, and is the recipient of a Carnegie Science Award for Higher Education (2008), the Swanson School of Engineering Outstanding Educator award (2012), and the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award (2015). For more information visit: http://granular.che.pitt.edu/PFM/PFM-REU/ ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
May
15
2017

Pitt PhD Student Lin Cheng captures first place in poster competition at international additive manufacturing conference

MEMS, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (May 15, 2017) … With its growing research focus in additive manufacturing, the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering made an impact at RAPID + TCT, the international additive manufacturing and 3D printing event held in Pittsburgh, May 8-11. Lin Cheng, a PhD student in the Swanson School’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, won first place for at the conference poster session for his research, “Efficient Design of additive manufacturing lattice structures by integrating micromechanics modeling and topology optimization.”The RAPID + TCT Competition featured projects or research in the areas of 3D printing, additive manufacturing, and 3D imaging from Pitt, Carnegie Mellon University, York College, and The Pennsylvania State University. “This was an incredibly competitive event, and I couldn’t be more proud of Lin’s success,” said Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, CNG Faculty Fellow, and Mr. Cheng’s advisor. “Our students are making an impact in additive manufacturing research, especially related to topology optimization and process-microstructure-property relationship, and so it’s an honor for one of our students to be recognized at this international gathering.”Mr. Cheng’s research interests include AM cellular structure, artificial intelligence, computational fluid mechanics, heat transfer and topology optimization. He earned a bachelor’s in power and energy engineering from Xi'an Jiao Tong University, and master’s degree in turbomachinery engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. ### Photo above: Mr. Cheng with his poster and the EOS M290 in the Swanson School's ANSYS Additive Manufacturing Lab.

May
12
2017

Pitt IEEE Students Win Big at Student Activities Conference

Electrical & Computer

GLASSBORO, NJ (May 12, 2017) … Students from the University of Pittsburgh chapter of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) placed in three competitions at the 2017 Region 2 IEEE Student Activities Conference at Rowan University. The Pitt teams won first place in the Pico Conference Paper Competition and the Micromouse Competition and third place in the Brown Bag Circuit Design Competition. “We are very proud of how these students represented the ECE department at this conference,” said Samuel Dickerson, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and faculty advisor for Pitt IEEE. “The IEEE is not just the largest association for electrical and computer engineering professions, it is the world's largest association among all technical professions, so all of the major universities in the region participated. We are all delighted to see how our students’ performance reflects the quality of our SSOE ECE students and their ability to apply what they've learned to challenges outside of the classroom.” Kendra Farrell, a junior majoring in computer engineering at Pitt, took home first place for writing and presenting her technical paper titled “The James Webb Telescope and Its Search through Time.” For the competition, Farrell explored technical aspects of the James Webb Telescope—NASA’s next generation, infrared telescope scheduled to be launched in October 2018. A team consisting of Pitt undergraduates Ryan Matthews, Andrew Saba, Alex Glyde, and Michael Hermenault also won first place for their design of an autonomous robot mouse in the Micromouse Competition. The mouse was able to solve an eight-square-meter maze in the shortest amount of time. The four team members belong to the Robotics and Automation Society at Pitt. In the Brown Bag Circuit Competition, students completed challenges using various electrical components provided in a brown bag. The components included voltage dividers, clock signals, inverters, and XOR gates. Pitt students Brandon Contino, Jenna Delozier, and Demetri Khoury won third place. The Pitt students competed against 27 other universities in the Atlantic Region of IEEE, which covers parts of Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, and West Virginia. There were a total of 10 activities, and students could also attend leadership workshops and an awards banquet during the conference. ### Image above: Members from Pitt ECE attending the 2017 Student Activities Conference at Rowan University.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
May
12
2017

Three Swanson School faculty recognized at 2017 Carnegie Science Awards

Electrical & Computer, MEMS

PITTSBURGH (May 12, 2017) … Three faculty members of the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering were among those recognized at the Carnegie Science Center’s 2017 Carnegie Science Awards, sponsored by Eaton. The program honors awardees from more than 20 categories, including Corporate Innovation, Emerging Female Scientist, Entrepreneur, Leadership in STEM Education, and others. According to the Science Center, “these individuals and companies have distinguished themselves by making unparalleled contributions to science and technology in various disciplines.” Carnegie Science Center established the Carnegie Science Awards program in 1997 to recognize and promote outstanding science and technology achievements in western Pennsylvania. “There’s a common thread among our award winners this year: They’re all problem-solvers who are dreaming big dreams,” said Ann Metzger, the Henry Buhl, Jr. Co-Director of Carnegie Science Center. “They’re using critical thinking skills to solve real-world problems and to make a difference. Those are crucial skills for all 21st –century learners, and that’s why problem-solving skills are a hallmark of all our Science Center programming.” Recipients from the Swanson School include: Information Technology AwardAlex Jones, PhDAssociate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Swanson School of EngineeringDirector of the Computer Engineering ProgramDr. Jones is internationally known for his research in “green computing.” His research led to the creation of GreenChip, a tool that provides detailed estimates about manufacturing and operational-phase metrics, such as energy consumption and carbon emissions. Innovation in Energy Award Kevin Chen, PhD The Paul E. Lego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Swanson School of EngineeringDr. Chen is driving innovation with his research on fiber optical sensing technology. The innovations and technologies developed by Dr. Chen's team have critical applications to improve efficiency of energy production and safety of transportation infrastructures across all aspects of the energy industry. Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Award Paul Ohodnicki, PhD, and the Materials Science and Functional Materials Team, National Energy Technology Laboratory University of Pittsburgh Team Members: Kevin Chen, PhD, Aidong Yan, Sheng Huang The extreme environments of power generation systems and advanced manufacturing processes are too harsh for traditional sensors, limiting the ability to optimize efficiency and minimize environmental impacts. This team demonstrated a cutting-edge sensor technology capable of measuring temperature and gas composition inside solid oxide fuel cell systems, holding promise for commercialization and job growth. Honorable Mention - University/Post-Secondary Educator Peyman Givi, PhD Distinguished Professor and the James T. MacLeod Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Swanson School of EngineeringCo-Director of the PhD Program in Computational Modeling and SimulationDirector of the Laboratory for Computational Transport Phenomena Known as a modern-day “Rocket Scientist,” Dr. Givi is widely recognized as the leader and a first ranked researcher in the field of high-performance computing for propulsion, combustion, rockets, and energetic fluids simulation. He is also highly regarded for his effective mentoring of students. He has made a remarkable impact in engineering & computing education by training the next generation of outstanding scholars. All of his former postgraduate students are now in highly visible positions in academia, government laboratories and private industry across the globe. About Carnegie Science Center Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center’s goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh’s premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes, and off-site education programs. About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. Annually, the museums reach more than 1.2 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events. ###

May
10
2017

Following two decades as Dean, Gerald Holder to return to faculty at Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (May 10, 2017) ... Marking the culmination of more than two decades of dynamic leadership, Gerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering in the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, has announced his intention to step down from his position to return to the faculty in the fall of 2018.Holder, Distinguished Service Professor of chemical engineering, has been dean of the Swanson School since 1996 and a member of its faculty since 1979.“Two words come to mind when I look back on Jerry’s incredible career as dean of our Swanson School of Engineering: tremendous growth,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “Under Jerry’s leadership, our Swanson School has seen record enrollment levels and total giving to the school has topped $250 million. “The school has also expanded academically to support new knowledge in areas like energy and sustainability — and also new partnerships, including a joint engineering program with China’s Sichuan University. And while I will certainly miss Jerry’s many contributions as dean, I am grateful that he will remain an active faculty member and continue to strengthen our Swanson School’s bright future,” Gallagher said.       “Through a focus on innovation and excellence, Dean Holder has led a transformation of the Swanson School of Engineering into a leader in engineering research and education,” said Patricia E. Beeson, provost and senior vice chancellor. Beeson added, "From the establishment of the now top-ranked Department of Bioengineering to the integrated first-year curriculum that has become a national model, the Swanson School has been a change maker. And with nearly three-quarters of the faculty hired while he has been dean, the culture of success that he has established will remain long after he steps down.” The University plans to announce the search process for his successor in the coming months. Holder’s Many Accomplishments In his 21 years as dean, Holder has overseen school growth as well as increases in research awards and philanthropic gifts. Enrollment has doubled to nearly 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and the number of PhDs has increased threefold. Holder also has emphasized programs to nourish diversity and engagement — for example, in 2012 the Swanson School had the highest percentage in the nation of engineering doctoral degrees awarded to women. Co-curricular programs also have prospered during Holder’s tenure. The school’s cooperative education program, which places students in paid positions in industry during their undergraduate studies, has increased to approximately 300 active employers. International education or study abroad has also become a hallmark of a Pitt engineering education, with 46 percent participation in 2015 versus a 4.6 percent national average for engineering and a 22.6 percent national average for STEM fields. The school’s annual sponsored research has tripled during Holder’s years as dean, totaling a cumulative $400 million. Alumnus John A. Swanson’s landmark $43 million naming gift came in 2007, the largest-ever gift by an individual to the University at the time.University-wide initiatives developed during Holder’s tenure as dean include the Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering; the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, founded with support of alumnus John C. “Jack” Mascaro; and the Center for Energy.Holder is likewise held in high regard by his peers. "As a dean of long standing, many of us refer to Dean Holder as `the Dean of deans,’ not just because of his years of service but also because of the respect that we have for his leadership, mentorship and impact on the engineering profession,” said James H. Garrett Jr., dean of the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.“He is an accomplished academician, an exceptional academic leader and a tremendous human being.” Holder, a noted expert on natural gas hydrates and author of more than 100 journal articles, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Kalamazoo College and bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan. He was a faculty member in chemical engineering at Columbia University prior to joining the Pitt engineering faculty in 1979. He served as chair of the chemical engineering department from 1987 to 1995 before being named dean of engineering.Among many professional accomplishments, he was named an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in 2003. In 2008 he was named an American Institute of Chemical Engineers Fellow and was awarded the William Metcalf Award from the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania for lifetime achievement in engineering. In 2015 he was elected chair of the American Society of Engineering Educators’ (ASEE) Engineering Deans Council, the leadership organization of engineering deans in the U.S., for a two-year term. The council has approximately 350 members, representing more than 90 percent of all U.S. engineering deans and is tasked by ASEE to advocate for engineering education, research and engagement throughout the U.S., especially among the public at large and in U.S. public policy. ###
Author: Kimberly Barlow, University Communications
May
10
2017

ECE’s Ervin Sejdic Becomes IEEE Signal Processing Magazine Area Editor of eNews

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 10, 2017) … The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Signal Processing Magazine has announced Ervin Sejdic, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, will become the new Area Editor for eNews. Dr. Sejdic joins the magazine’s five other area editors in this senior position.“It is my great honor and pleasure to serve as an area editor for the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, which is the highest rated journal in the area of signal processing,” said Dr. Sejdic. “This is a great recognition of my contributions to this field, and I’m very fortunate to be given this extraordinary opportunity.”Signal Processing Magazine and the recently introduced “Inside Signal Processing E-Newsletter” is distributed to all members of the IEEE Signal Processing Society. The journal contains instructional articles with “comprehensive surveys of important theories, algorithms, tools, and applications related to signal processing and related areas.” Its impact factor of 6.671 is the highest in the field.About Dr. SejdicDr. Sejdic holds a B.E. Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario, both in electrical engineering. During his undergraduate studies, Dr. Sejdic specialized in wireless communications, while his Ph.D. project focused on signal processing. From 2008 until 2010, Dr. Sejdic was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto with a cross-appointment at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Canada’s largest children’s rehabilitation teaching hospital. During his postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Sejdic focused on rehabilitation engineering and biomedical instrumentation. He was also a research fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School cross-appointed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (July 2010-June 2011), where he focused on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular monitoring of older/diabetic adults. In addition to his role of associate professor at Pitt, Dr. Sejdic is the associate director of the RFID Center for Excellence, which works within academia and industry to advance the understanding and application of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.About IEEEWith more than 400,000 members in 160 countries, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. The IEEE is a leading authority on world-changing technologies, from computing and sustainable energy systems to aerospace, communications, robotics, healthcare, and more. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
May
10
2017

ChemE’s Taryn Bayles Named American Institute of Chemical Engineers Fellow

Chemical & Petroleum, Diversity

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 10, 2017) … The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has elected Taryn Bayles, professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, as a Fellow. Fellow is the highest grade of membership with AIChE. It requires 25 years of excellence in chemical engineering practice, at least 10 years of membership and participation with AIChE, and Senior Membership at the time of election. “This is a tremendous accolade for Taryn, and our department couldn’t be more proud,” noted Steven R. Little, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Chair of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “Taryn is one of the nation’s most noted experts in engineering education, and literally wrote the book (with a co-author) on engaging high school students in engineering. Her contributions to the department are exceeded only by the passion for engineering that she encourages in our student body.”Dr. Bayles is the fourth professor at the University of Pittsburgh to become an AIChE Fellow, including Karl Johnson, George Klinzing, and Dean Gerald Holder.The AIChE limits the number of Fellows at any time to five percent of the sum of Fellows, Senior Members, and Members. Fellows must be nominated by a member of AIChE, and the grade of Fellow is intended to honor and reward AIChE members for their accomplishments and service.About Dr. BaylesTaryn M. Bayles is a non-tenure stream (NTS) Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and serves as the Chair of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Education Division. She has spent part of her career working in industry with Exxon, Westinghouse, and Phillips Petroleum. Her industrial experience has included process engineering, computer modeling and control, process design and testing, and engineering management. She has also spent over 20 years teaching Chemical Engineering at the University of Nevada Reno, University of Pittsburgh, University of Maryland College Park, and University of Maryland Baltimore County.Dr. Bayles research focuses on Engineering Education and Outreach to increase awareness of and interest in pursuing engineering as a career, as well as to understand what factors help students be successful once they have chosen engineering as a major. She is the co-author of the INSPIRES (INcreasing Student Participation, Interest and Recruitment in Engineering & Science) curriculum, which introduce high school students to engineering design through hands-on experiences and inquiry-based learning with real world engineering design challenges. This curriculum targets the International Technology and Engineering Education Association Standards as well as National Next Generation Science Standards and aligns with the Framework for K-12 Science Education. About AIChEThe American Institute of Chemical Engineers is the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals with more than 50,000 members from over 100 countries. AIChE has the breadth of resources and expertise from core process industries to emerging areas, such as translational medicine. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
May
8
2017

Pitt Names Founding Dean of School of Computing and Information

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH—Paul R. Cohen is the founding dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information. Cohen’s deanship begins on Aug. 1, 2017. The first new school or college established at Pitt since 1995, the School of Computing and Information is a multidisciplinary environment that supports discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship driven by data and technology. It is a key element in Pitt’s strategy to support research in data and computation-intensive fields across the University. The school will begin operations on July 1 and will enroll its first students in the fall 2017 term. “Paul is a visionary leader who will quickly drive our School of Computing and Information to the forefront of academic excellence,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “He is also an expert collaborator and a leading authority on utilizing data, technology and information in new ways to solve some of the most challenging and complex issues facing society today.” “Paul’s scholarship and expertise are well suited to our ambitions for the School of Computing and Information. His history of leadership in academia and government positions him well to foster the development of the school and to partner with other leaders across the University,” said Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson. “I know that his enthusiasm and expertise will advance the school and will help the University of Pittsburgh continue to make an impact on our community and our world.” Since 2013, Cohen has worked as a program manager within the Information Innovation Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). At DARPA, he oversees programs that address a far-reaching collection of areas, such as communication between humans and machines, cancer biology, extracting knowledge from text, and global and national security. These programs have included the Big Mechanism and the Communicating with Computers programs. Cohen serves as a professor and was the founding director of the School of Information: Science, Technology and Arts, now the School of Information, at the University of Arizona. A professor at the University of Arizona since 2008, he also held positions at the University of Southern California from 2003 to 2008 and the University of Massachusetts from 1983 to 2003. In terms of his professional research, Cohen works in artificial intelligence and cognitive science. He is particularly interested in how robots and computers can learn the meanings of words and phrases — one of his programs at DARPA focuses on communicating with computers. He has also worked on other physical foundations for language, including vision-based learning of spatial language. Additionally, Cohen has developed methods for education informatics, which apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to better engage and teach students. Cohen's recent DARPA programs focus on technology to gather large numbers of journal articles and other data into causal models of very complicated systems, such as cell signaling systems in cancer or food and water systems. Cohen is the author of the book “Empirical Methods for Artificial Intelligence.” He was editor in chief of the International Journal of Intelligent Data Analysis, and also has been the co-editor for the International Journal of Approximate Reasoning, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design and Manufacturing, and Knowledge Engineering Review. Throughout his nearly 35 year academic and professional career, Cohen has been recognized with numerous honors and distinctions. He is an elected fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. In 1998, he was named a faculty fellow of the University of Massachusetts. Cohen was a councilor for the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence from 1991 to 1994. Cohen earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at the University of California San Diego in 1977, a Masters of Arts degree in psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1978 and a PhD in computer science and psychology at Stanford University in 1983. ###
Author: Anthony Moore, University Communications
May
8
2017

Pitt’s Bopaya Bidanda Named IISE Outstanding Faculty Advisor

Industrial

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 8, 2017) … The Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) named Bopaya Bidanda, the Ernst Roth Professor and Chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, Outstanding Faculty Advisor for the Northeast Region.“We honor [Dr. Bidanda] for his guidance and availability to chapter officers and chapter members, his participation at chapter events, his interfacing for the chapter to the university and community, and his significant contributions to the IISE student chapter,” said Bill Boyd, Director of Membership Services at IISE.“When you have an outstanding group of students, it’s easy to be an effective Faculty Advisor,” added Dr. Bidanda.The IISE Northeast Region includes New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. One of seven U.S. regions for IISE, the Northeast is home to 25 percent of the U.S. professional chapters and 16 percent of the U.S. student chapters.Winners of the regional award will receive a personalized certificate and recognition at the IISE Annual Conference and Expo. This year, the annual conference will take place May 20 – 23 in Pittsburgh.About Dr. BidandaBopaya Bidanda is currently the Ernest E. Roth Professor and Chairman of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on Manufacturing Systems, Reverse Engineering and Project Management. He has published nine books and over 100 papers in international journals and conference proceedings. Recent (edited) books include books published by Springer Inc., on Virtual Prototyping & Bio-manufacturing in Medical applications, and on Bio-materials and Prototyping Applications. He has also given invited and keynote talks in Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe. He also helped initiate and institutionalize the Engineering Program on the Semester at Sea voyage in 2004. He has previously served as the President of the Council of Industrial Engineering Academic Department Heads (CIEADH) and on the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers. He has also served on International Advisory Boards of universities in India and South America. Dr. Bidanda is a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers and currently serves as a Commissioner with the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. In 2004, he was appointed a Fulbright Senior Specialist by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and the U.S. Department of State. He received the 2012 John Imhoff Award for Global Excellence in Industrial Engineering given by the American Society for Engineering Education. He also received the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES) 2012 Award for Global Excellence in Engineering Education in Buenos Aires and also the 2013 Albert Holzman Award Distinguished Educator Award given by the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers. In recognition of his service to the engineering discipline, medical community and the University of Pittsburgh, he was honored with the 2014 Chancellors Distinguished Public Service Award.About IISEIISE, the world's largest professional society dedicated solely to the support of the profession, is an international, nonprofit association that provides leadership for the application, education, training, research, and development of industrial and systems engineering. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
May
4
2017

Water, Water, Nowhere

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH (May 4, 2017) … Hydrogen powered fuel cell cars, developed by almost every major car manufacturer, are ideal zero-emissions vehicles because they produce only water as exhaust. However, their reliability is limited because the fuel cell relies upon a membrane that only functions in when enough water is present, limiting the vehicle’s operating conditions.   Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering have found that the unusual properties of graphane – a two-dimensional polymer of carbon and hydrogen – could form a type of anhydrous “bucket brigade” that transports protons without the need for water, potentially leading to the development of more efficient hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles and other energy systems. The principal investigator is Karl Johnson, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Swanson School’s Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, and graduate research assistant Abhishek Bagusetty is the lead author. Their work, “Facile Anhydrous Proton Transport on Hydroxyl Functionalized Graphane” (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.186101), was published this week in Physical Review Letters. Computational modeling techniques coupled with the high performance computational infrastructure at the University’s Center for Research Computing enabled them to design this potentially groundbreaking material. Hydrogen fuels cells are like a battery that can be recharged with hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen enters one side of the fuel cell, where it is broken down into protons (hydrogen ions) and electrons, while oxygen enters the other side and is ultimately chemically combined with the protons and electrons to produce water, releasing a great deal of energy. At the heart of the fuel cell is a proton exchange membrane (PEM). These membranes mostly rely on water to aid in the conduction of protons across the membranes. Everything works well unless the temperature gets too high or the humidity drops, which depletes the membrane of water and stops the protons from migrating across the membrane. Dr. Johnson explains that for this reason, there is keen interest in developing new membrane materials that can operate at very low water levels–or even in the complete absence of water (anhydrously). “PEMs in today’s hydrogen fuel cells are made of a polymer called Nafion, which only conducts protons when it has the right amount of water on it,” says Dr. Johnson. “Too little water, the membrane dries out and protons stop moving. Too much and the membrane “floods” and stops operating, similar to how you could flood a carbureted engine with too much gasoline,” he added. Dr. Johnson and his team focused on graphane because when functionalized with hydroxyl groups it creates a more stable, insulating membrane to conduct protons. “Our computational modeling showed that because of graphane’s unique structure, it is well suited to rapidly conduct protons across the membrane and electrons across the circuit under anhydrous conditions,” Dr. Johnson said. “This would enable hydrogen fuel cell cars to be a more practical alternative vehicle.” About the Johnson Research GroupThe Johnson Research Group at the University of Pittsburgh uses atomistic modeling to tackle fundamental problems over a wide range of subject areas in chemical engineering, including the molecular design of nanoporous sorbents for the capture of carbon dioxide, the development of catalysts for conversion of carbon dioxide into fuels, the transport of gases and liquids through carbon nanotube membranes, the study of chemical reaction mechanisms, the development of CO2-soluble polymers and CO2 thickeners, and the study of hydrogen storage with complex hydrides.   About Dr. JohnsonKarl Johnson is a member of the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute. He received his bachelor and master of science degrees in chemical engineering from Brigham Young University, and PhD in chemical engineering with a minor in computer science from Cornell University. ### Illustration above and below: In computer simulations at Pitt, graphane provides a water-free "bucket brigade" to rapidly conduct protons across the membrane and electrons across the circuit. (Credit: A. Bagusetty/University of Pittsburgh; Rick Henkel)

May
4
2017

Two MEMS Graduate PhD Candidates Named Department of Defense Fellows

MEMS, Diversity, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 4, 2017) … The United States Department of Defense (DoD) announced that Emily Cimino and Erica Stevens, PhD candidates in the Materials Science and Engineering PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh, were awarded National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships. The award covers the fellows’ full tuition and required fees, not including room and board, and $153,000 in stipend funds over the course of the 48-month program tenure.Ms. Cimino is working in the research group of Brian Gleeson, the Harry S. Tack Chair Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS). She is researching the hot corrosion of a second generation nickel-based superalloy supplied by Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace manufacturer headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. The goal of her research is to understand the mechanism of hot corrosion as a function of temperature and sulfur dioxide content and to establish methods that may reduce alloy degradation via hot corrosion. Ms. Cimino earned her bachelor’s degree at the Pennsylvania State University. “Being awarded the DoD fellowship is a huge plus because I have a source of funding until I graduate, and I can solely focus on research,” said Ms. Cimino. “I hope to advance current understanding of hot corrosion, and I hope to take full advantage of the resources I have at Pitt, namely characterization equipment necessary for this research as well as knowledgeable faculty.”Ms. Stevens received funding for her research into additive manufacturing magnetocaloric materials, or materials that change temperature with magnetic field changes. She is pursuing her PhD under the supervision of Markus Chmielus, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. She received her undergraduate degrees in materials science and engineering at Pitt as well as a bachelor of philosophy degree through the University Honors College.“Magnetic refrigeration, or refrigerators that use magnetocaloric materials, is currently being developed, but their highest reported efficiency is around 20 percent, while theoretical is 30 percent,” said Ms. Stevens. “During the fellowship, I could be integral in increasing the efficiency of refrigerators by another 10 percent, saving consumers on electricity bills and contributing to lowering emissions from power generation. A large portion of our electricity generation as a nation goes to refrigeration.”The selection process for NDSEG fellows consists of a panel evaluating the candidate as a whole and review of the candidate’s research project by the DoD. The Air Force Research Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research and the Army Research Office sponsor NDSEG fellowships; and the American Society for Engineering Education administers the award. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
May
4
2017

Of Bicycles and Glaciers

Civil & Environmental, Diversity, Student Profiles

This article, "Graduating Senior Profiles: Naomi Anderson," originally appeared in the May 4, 2017 issue of The Pitt Chronicle. Author: Kimberly K. Barlow. Posted with permission. Driven by passions for water conservation and bicycling, Naomi Anderson has studied artificial glaciers in the Himalayas, helped to launch a campus bicycle cooperative and designed prize-winning solutions to mitigate abandoned mine drainage in the South Hills. In addition to these highlights of her five years as an undergraduate in the Swanson School of Engineering, Anderson has coordinated sustainability projects on and around campus and pedaled with friends to Washington, D.C., on the Great Allegheny Passage trail — twice. Anderson, who graduated on April 30, is one of the first two students to receive the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s new bachelor of science degree in environmental engineering. It’s a degree she wants to use here in Pittsburgh. A graduate of Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, she grew up in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Her parents — Stewart Anderson, a faculty member in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health, and Deb Anderson, a business analyst at Grant Street Group — recognized early on her affinity for hands-on problem solving. hey nudged, gently. “‘You have an engineering brain,’ they’d say. They would always come to me to fix things,” Anderson recalls. When she arrived at Pitt, her preference for hands-on solutions made her choice of an engineering discipline easy: “It was civil or nothing,” she says. But her path there wasn’t all smooth. A required course in concrete structures had Anderson in an unhappy spot. “I was thinking, ‘I can’t do this major anymore,’” she says, admitting she considered leaving engineering. Anderson’s adviser, Leonard Casson, encouraged her instead to consider switching to the brand new environmental engineering major, which she did early in her final school year. “Everything came together at the right time,” Casson says. Anderson is exactly the sort of student the department had in mind when it created the new major, says Casson, an associate professor and the civil and environmental engineering department’s academic coordinator. “With her intellect, she’s capable of doing anything,” he says of Anderson. Summer experiences with a Student Conservation Association trail crew that worked to correct water drainage on forest trails in Vermont sent her along the path to environmental engineering. “It was cool to build something I could immediately see, helping nature,” she says. Her interest in water resources led her to the topic of artificial glaciers, and a resulting freshman research paper on the subject got the attention of a University of Massachusetts Amherst researcher who invited Anderson and her coauthor, fellow Pitt engineering student Taylor Shippling, to join her in the mountains of northern India to research the structures up close. Summers there are short, so farmers need melt water from glaciers to arrive at just the right time in the planting season if their crops are to succeed. As the glaciers recede, water takes longer to flow from higher on the mountain. To remedy the problem, engineers there have built structures to trap the melting water at lower altitudes, where it freezes in an ice dam and later melts at the expected time. “It was sweet to go to India,” says Anderson, who blogged with Shippling during their time in the province of Ladakh. “It was interesting learning about the technology — and to do so in a way that’s not like westerners traveling abroad to fix problems in the third world, but rather to learn,” Anderson says, not only about hydrology, but also from the local experts and their solutions. Elsewhere beyond the classroom, as president of Pitt’s chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World, Anderson coordinated projects to winterize students’ homes; to test the potential of wind belts, which are flapping straps that can generate power; and to create a rain garden in conjunction with an Oakland community group. In 2015, she joined with friends to found the Pitt Bicycle Collective to support the campus cycling community. The collective’s proposal to create a bike repair space in the Posvar Hall underpass won the $10,000 top prize in the 2017 Sustainable Solutions competition on campus. The Bike Cave will launch before fall, she says. Gena Kovalcik, codirector of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI), grew to know Anderson as both passionate and prepared in her proposals when seeking funding for sustainability-related projects. MCSI summer research funding contributed to the paper that led to Anderson’s journey to India. The center also provided some matching funds for ESW projects and the Bike Cave, Kovalcik says. “Hers were more than just lofty ideas. Every time she’d come into my office, I knew she had a plan. It was always well thought out and thorough. She came in with a budget and a strategy to make it happen. I’m so excited to see what she does next,” Kovalcik says. In a few weeks, Anderson and her mom will embark on a road trip to her next destination: Colorado, where she will spend four months as part of a Southwest Conservation Corps trail maintenance crew in the Four Corners region. When she returns to Pittsburgh in October, she plans to settle in Lawrenceville and seek a job involving water resources. “I want to be here. I think Pittsburgh needs people who care,” she says. “I’ve served Pitt. Now I’m excited to serve Pittsburgh.”
Author: Kimberly K. Barlow, University Communications
May
4
2017

Pitt engineering students study Chartiers Creek pollution

Civil & Environmental

One of my responsibilities with the University of Pittsburgh's Civil Engineering Department is coordinating of our senior design projects program. In their final semester, seniors are required to participate in a semester-long team design project. Ideally these projects are based on real world problems, constraints and data. The final class is a day-long colloquium in which each team spends an hour presenting its results to a large audience of students, faculty, family members, and visiting engineering practitioners. This year's colloquium was particularly impressive and I am proud of the students and their accomplishments. Read the article in the Tribune Review, or the full post at Dr. Oyler's blog.
John Oyler, Contributing Writer & Adjunct Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Apr

Apr
26
2017

Ambient Cybersecurity and Tiny Lasers Win Big Prizes for ECE Students at Startup Competition

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH, PA (April 26, 2017) … Two student teams from the Swanson School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) won cash prizes at the campus-wide Randall Family Big Idea Competition. The competition, which takes place throughout March and April, awards a total of $100,000 to Pitt students with the most promising startup business ideas.Shuo Li, Aidong Yan and Ran Zou, all graduate students in the ECE Department, formed the team Airborne Laser and developed a company based on compact laser systems. Inspired by the laser system developed by NASA for space applications, the team used 3D printing to create solid state laser systems that are ultra-compact and resilient with superior thermal and mechanic properties.Airborne Laser took one of three second place awards and received $15,000. All three students are researchers under the direction of Kevin P. Chen, the Paul E. Lego Professor in Electrical Engineering at Pitt. Undergraduate students Kevin Householder, Christopher Colucci and Matthew Yurko won a $1,000 award for Best Video promoting their product. They originally developed Root—a novel method of defending against cyber-attacks—for their senior design project. The system generates numbers randomly based on ambient information collected from sensors, making it very difficult to predict the outcome. Samuel Dickerson, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, advised the students during their senior design work. The Randall Family Big Idea Competition is open to undergraduate students, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from all schools within the University of Pittsburgh. The competition began in 2009, and former participants have often seen their ideas accepted into startup accelerators and turn into independent businesses. Robert P. Randall was president and chief executive officer of the Three Rivers Aluminum Company (TRACO), a prominent regional door and window company, which was acquired by Alcoa and is now a division of Kawneer. Randall continues to give back to the community through his position on the Board of Trustees at the University of Pittsburgh, his work with the United States Chamber of Commerce and as a board member of both the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance. ### Image above (from left to right): Shuo Li, Ran Zou and Aidong Yan accept the first prize award at the Randall Family Big Idea Competition.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Apr
25
2017

The ‘Can’-Do Spirit

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH, PA (April 25, 2017) … A team of students from the University of Pittsburgh won $10,000 and second place at Princeton University’s TigerLaunch Finals competition for entrepreneurship. The team founded the company Aeronics, which designs and develops improved methods of storing oxygen in lightweight, low-pressure tanks.One of Aeronics’ innovations, Medipod, is about the size of a soda can and contains a porous lining to increase internal surface area. Because gases concentrate on surfaces, Medipod can store more oxygen while decreasing the tanks internal pressure. The technology is particularly appealing for people who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and currently lug around large oxygen tanks on a daily basis.The Aeronics team comprises Pitt students Alec Kaija, Blake Dube and Mark Spitz. Christopher Wilmer, assistant professor in the Swanson School’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, is an adviser to the team. Aeronics qualified for participation in the TigerLaunch national competition after presenting at the TigerLaunch X NYC competition at New York University. A total of 18 teams, selected from three regional competitions, received invitations to the finals.Last December, Aeronics took first place at Pitt Blast Furnace’s Demo Day. Like TigerLaunch, Demo Day provides student startups the opportunity to pitch their ideas and win cash prizes. The Aeronics team also won several other competitions supported by the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute including the Randall Family Big Idea Competition, the Michael G. Wells Competition and the Kuzneski Innovation Cup.Dube, CEO of Aeronics, worked with Dr. Wilmer in the Wilmer Lab investigating theoretical limits of oxygen storage in porous materials while pursuing his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Spitz, who serves as COO, is majoring in exercise science in the School of Education. Both students will graduate this May and begin working full-time at Aeronics. Kaija, currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, will continue to develop Aeronics technology while completing his studies. ### Image above (from left to right): Spitz, Dube and Kaija at the TigerLaunch Finals.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Apr
25
2017

IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu Welcomes New Inductees, Celebrates 80 Years

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH, PA (April 25, 2017) … Each year, the University of Pittsburgh Beta Delta Chapter of the IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu honor society sends out invitations to students in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department who have demonstrated academic excellence. New members rank in the upper one-fourth of their Sophomore and Junior classes, or in the upper one-third of their Senior class. This past February, they held their annual ceremony and inducted the following 14 new members:Ryan BeckerShane BenningLiam BertiKevin GilboyBenjamin HarperZachary MattisBrendan SchusterDavid SkrovanekToby SunRobert TaylorDominic TranchitellaLong VoCorey WeimannRoger XueThroughout the month of March, the chapter participated in service activities including the annual Hands-On Science activity with students in the Swanson School’s college-preparatory outreach program INVESTING NOW. The activity involved the construction, troubleshooting and testing of a digital circuit model for a simple traffic sign. The 19 high school students, representing 12 schools in the Greater Pittsburgh Area, built miniature traffic lights using integrated circuits on breadboards, which are special boards designed for making experimental models of electrical circuits. The students spent the afternoon under the supervision of Beta Delta chapter members learning the basics of using oscilloscopes and wiring resistors and capacitors. Several members of the Beta Delta chapter also served as judges for the Covestro Science Fair on March 31 at Heinz Field. The competition was open to students in grades 6-12 from 21 counties in Western Pennsylvania and Garrett County in Maryland. The University of Pittsburgh Beta Delta chapter, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, began with a petition from the family of founding member William Erickson in 1937. Eta Kappa Nu is the international electrical and computer engineering honor society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The society has about 200 chapters and thousands of members worldwide.Students interested in volunteering with the University of Pittsburgh chapter of IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu for this and/or other mentoring events, please email pitt.ieee.hkn@gmail.com. ### Shown in Induction Ceremony Photo: Back row: Dr. Stephen Jacobs (faculty advisor), Toby Sun, Liam Berti, David Skrovanek, Benjamin Harper, Brendan Schuster, Zachary Mattis, Kevin Gilboy, Shane BenningMiddle row: Jennifer Fang (vice president), Katherine Coronado (secretary), Matthew Yurko (web master sergeant), Sharif Abdelbaky (president), Christopher Colucci (treasurer), Betsalel "Saul" Williamson (web correspondent)Front row: Roger Xue, Dominic Tranchitella, Long Vo, Robert Taylor, Corey Weimann…Second Photo: High School students from Pitt’s INVESTING NOW program show off the integrated circuits they built under the supervision of students from the Beta Delta chapter.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Apr
25
2017

ALung Submits IDE Application to FDA Seeking Approval to Conduct Pivotal Study of the Hemolung RAS

Bioengineering

PITTSBURGH (April 25, 2017) - ALung Technologies, Inc., announced today the submission of its Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seeking approval to conduct a pivotal clinical study of the Hemolung Respiratory Assist System for the treatment of adults with severe acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD affects 30 million Americans1 and is the third leading cause of death in the United States behind cancer and heart disease.2 Acute exacerbations, defined as a sudden worsening of COPD symptoms, are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in COPD patients. For patients with severe exacerbations, high levels of carbon dioxide can result in respiratory failure and the need for intubation and mechanical ventilation as life saving measures. Unfortunately, mechanical ventilation is associated with many side effects, and in-hospital mortality remains as high as 30%. The Hemolung technology aims to avoid or reduce the need for intubation and ventilator support by directly removing carbon dioxide from the blood. ALung has been working with the FDA under the Expedited Access Pathway (EAP) program to complete pre-clinical testing and finalize its clinical study protocol. “Submission of our IDE is a significant milestone, made possible only through the hard work of our team in close collaboration with the FDA,” said Peter DeComo, Chairman and CEO of ALung. “We look forward to completing the IDE review and beginning the study later this year.” ALung’s recently announced $36 million Series C financing, led by Philips and UPMC Enterprises, will support the clinical study program. About ALung Technologies ALung Technologies, Inc. is a privately-held Pittsburgh-based developer and manufacturer of innovative lung assist devices. Founded in 1997 as a spin-out of the University of Pittsburgh, ALung has developed the Hemolung RAS as a dialysis-like alternative or supplement to mechanical ventilation. ALung is backed by Philips, UPMC Enterprises, Abiomed, The Accelerator Fund, Allos Ventures, Birchmere Ventures, Blue Tree Ventures, Eagle Ventures, Riverfront Ventures, West Capital Advisors, and other individual investors. For more information about ALung and the Hemolung RAS, visit www.alung.com. This press release may contain forward-looking statements, which, if not based on historical facts, involve current assumptions and forecasts as well as risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from the results or events stated in the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, certain events not within the Company’s control. Events that could cause results to differ include failure to meet ongoing developmental and manufacturing timelines, changing GMP requirements, the need for additional capital requirements, risks associated with regulatory approval processes, adverse changes to reimbursement for the Company’s products/services, and delays with respect to market acceptance of new products/services and technologies. Other risks may be detailed from time to time, but the Company does not attempt to revise or update its forward-looking statements even if future experience or changes make it evident that any projected events or results expressed or implied therein will not be realized. ### References 1. https://www.copdfoundation.org/What-is-COPD/COPD-Facts/Statistics.aspx2. http://www.lung.org/assets/documents/research/copd-trend-report.pdf
ALung Technologies News Release
Apr
25
2017

Pittsburgh Biodiesel Project Stands Out in a Crowd

MEMS

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today presented Pittsburgh-based Optimus Technologies and 20 other organizations from across the state with the 2017 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. According to DEP, their projects “represent the very best in innovation, collaboration, and public service in environmental stewardship.” Optimus partnered with Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities and the City of Pittsburgh to equip 25 of the city’s vehicles with their Vector System technology. The system optimizes vehicle performance and emissions reductions using 100 percent biodiesel (B100). “We are honored to have been selected for this prestigious award and proud that we helped the City of Pittsburgh reduce vehicle emissions,” said Optimus CEO Colin Huwyler. “Our technology allows fleets to run seamlessly on B100, dramatically reducing both tailpipe and lifecycle emissions.” Huwyler noted that the 25 vehicles used for the project represent 7.2 percent of GHG emissions for the entire city fleet of 1,038 vehicles. The use of the Vector System reduced GHG emissions by 6.4 percent fleet-wide. “Every year we’re impressed anew by the ingenuity and commitment Pennsylvanians bring to environmental stewardship,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “It’s exciting to see the interest is growing.”About OptimusFounded in 2010, Optimus Technologies is the market leader in high performance biodiesel conversion solutions that utilize biodiesel and diesel for medium- and heavy-duty truck fleets. With Optimus, fleet operators have a simple way to significantly reduce fuel costs and emissions, while addressing renewable fuel targets. Optimus was built on the vision and the knowledge that other alternative fuel solutions are prohibitively expensive and do not provide the same results as biodiesel. For more visit: https://www.optimustec.com/ About biodieselMade from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the first commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel - meaning the EPA has determined that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. For more visit: http://biodiesel.org/ ### Photo above: (left to right): Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn (Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources), Patrick McDonnell (Acting Secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection), Colin Huwyler (CEO, Optimus Technologies), and Davitt Woodwell (President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council).
Author: Ian Winner, Optimus Technologies Inc.
ian.winner@optimustec.com
Apr
21
2017

Four MEMS undergraduates win "Best Overall" at Spring 2017 Design Expo

MEMS, Student Profiles

Four students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanical Science captured one of the top awards at this year's Design Expo, presented by the Swanson School of Engineering.Undergraduates Shweta Ravichandar, Katriona Blezy, Kelly Appleton, and Roy Tan Park Sung (left to right) won the “Best Overall Project Award” at the 2017 Spring Design Expo, April 19 at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall. “A Robust Biomechanical Culture System for Tissue Engineered Corneas” was advised by Ian Sigal, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. David Schmidt, PhD, MEMS assistant professor, directed the senior design class with 22 projects this semester. "The Design Expo allows our students to take an idea and create a tangible solution to a problem, and I couldn't be more proud of this year's winners," said Brian Gleeson, PhD, the Harry S. Tack Chair Professor and Department Chair. "The team's interdisciplinary approach to both a mechanical and biological system is superb, and I especially want to thank Ian and David for their mentorship and support of our students." The Swanson School’s Design Expo provides an opportunity for student teams, many from the School’s Capstone Design Courses, as well as concepts and prototypes from students in product realization courses. Projects transverse the design space from problem identification, specification of objectives and constraints, conceptual development, resulting in an actual prototype in many cases. Judges from industry select the best project from each of the participating courses. ###

Apr
18
2017

“Rescue Stent” Wins Another Award from Society For Biomaterials

Bioengineering

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (April 18, 2017) … The “Rescue Stent,” a medical device designed at the University of Pittsburgh to help manage large vessel hemorrhaging after a chest trauma, won the Audience Award at the 3rd Society For Biomaterials (SFB) 2017 Business Plan Competition. Puneeth Shridhar, MD MS, who is pursuing second doctoral degree in Bioengineering at Pitt, presented the Rescue Stent during the SFB Annual Meeting & Exposition in Minneapolis. The audience members voted for his presentation to receive the $1,000 prize and Audience Award recognition.The SFB Business Plan Competition evaluates biomaterials-based research innovations from all over the world that have the potential to succeed in the medical device industry. Participants submit abstracts containing an information about the technology, market research and a commercialization strategy. They then present their ideas in the form of a 10-minute pitch followed by a question and answer session from judges and audience members.Dr. Shridhar was attending the conference to accept another award he won earlier this year: the Honorable Mention Student Travel Achievement (STAR) Award. The SFB Education and Professional Development Committee recognized Dr. Shridhar with the STAR Award for his outstanding student paper titled “The Rescue Stent for Non Compressible Traumatic Hemorrhage.” The paper outlined the development, design and future business strategy for the Rescue Stent.In 2016, the United States Department of Defense granted $2.5 million in funds for a four-year research collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and UPMC Division of Vascular Surgery to develop the Rescue Stent. The research team is working to make the Rescue Stent the first removable, collapsible and biocompatible trauma stent to prevent internal bleeding from the aorta. The Rescue Stent will have both military and civilian applications and could greatly reduce fatalities caused by gunshot wounds, stabbings and other related torso injuries.Dr. Bryan Tillman, assistant professor of vascular surgery at the School of Medicine, serves as principal investigator on the study that received funding to develop the Rescue Stent. Joining Dr. Tillman are three engineering professors: Youngjae Chun, assistant professor in the Departments of Industrial Engineering and Bioengineering; Sung Kwon Cho, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science; and William Clark, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Apr
14
2017

BioE’s Jaeyeon Choi Awarded $45,000 to Develop New Treatment for Metastatic Melanoma

Bioengineering

PITTSBURGH, PA (April 14, 2017) … The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) awarded Jaeyeon Choi, a graduate student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, a two-year, $45,000 research grant for her proposal to use targeted radionuclides in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, also known as Stage IV melanoma. Radionuclide therapy is a rapidly growing branch of nuclear medicine, according to SNMMI. The treatment uses radioactive drugs called radiopharmaceuticals to target and eliminate cancer cells, often directly and with limited damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Researchers have already developed targeted radionuclide therapies to treat certain diseases such as prostate cancer, and organizations like SNMMI are looking to expand the treatments to a variety of other cancers. In her proposal “Improving VLA-4 targeted radio nuclide therapy for metastatic melanoma with 177Lu-labeled albumin-binding LLP2A,” Choi outlined a new method of using radionuclides to treat metastatic melanoma and a new imaging strategy to better determine how patients are responding to the therapy. “Metastatic melanoma is a highly challenging disease to treat, and treatment approaches are very limited,” said Choi. “The five-year survival rate for patients is only 15-20 percent. I think my proposal was chosen because of the critical need to improve therapies and increase the overall survival of patients with metastatic melanoma.” At the University of Pittsburgh, Choi studies radionuclide therapies and diagnostics for the treatment of human diseases under the supervision of Carolyn Anderson, co-director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute In Vivo Imaging Facility. Dr. Anderson is also a professor of radiology with a secondary appointment in the Swanson School of Engineering Department of Bioengineering. Choi’s research focuses on developing novel molecular imaging probes using radionuclides to target specific immune cells, which can be used to diagnose human inflammatory diseases such as tuberculosis. She is also working on a project developing novel targeted radionuclide therapeutics for the treatment of different types of cancers.  “The bioengineering program at Pitt has given me great opportunities to incorporate different approaches to research from multiple engineering fields including tissue engineering, biomaterials and medical imaging,” said Choi. “I think technology is improving by becoming more multidisciplinary, and Dr. Anderson has really helped me take advantage of the University’s resources while designing and executing my research projects.” The SNMMI awards the Pre-doctoral Molecular Imaging Scholar Program grant to only one recipient every two years. The research scholar must be working in an established molecular imaging lab and must be a full-time student working toward a PhD or MD in an educational institution during the award period. The objective of the grant is “to encourage the integration of imaging approaches in the research of molecular pathways of disease.” Choi began studying at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015 and is on track to receive her PhD in 2019. She would like to continue her study in radiopharmaceutical science and work in a faculty position at a research institution after graduation. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Apr
11
2017

CDC/WHO Ebola Guidelines Could Put Sewer Workers at Risk

Civil & Environmental

PHILADELPHIA (April 11, 2017) ... Research from Drexel University and the University of Pittsburgh suggests that guidelines for safe disposal of liquid waste from patients being treated for the Ebola virus might not go far enough to protect water treatment workers from being exposed. In a study recently published in the journal Water Environment Research, a group of environmental engineering researchers reports that sewer workers downstream of hospitals and treatment centers could contract Ebola via inhalation — a risk that is not currently accounted for in the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention or World Health Organization Ebola response protocol. The study, “ Risks from Ebolavirus Discharge From Hospitals to Sewer Workers,” authored by Charles Haas, PhD, LD Betz professor in Drexel’s College of Engineering and head of the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department; and Leonard Casson, PhD, and Kyle Bibby, PhD, from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, takes the first steps toward understanding the risk that this untreated waste poses to the people in the water treatment process who work in close proximity to it. (doi:10.2175/106143017X14839994523181) “During the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak we had our first case of Ebola treated in the U.S. and by the end 11 individuals had been treated here—so this is certainly an area of risk assessment that we need to examine more closely,” Haas said. Initial guidelines issued by the WHO during the outbreak suggested that liquid waste generated by individuals being treated for Ebola could be disposed of via sanitary sewer or pit latrine without additional treatment. Months later it issued more conservative guidelines that suggested containing the waste in a holding tank before releasing it into the water treatment system. But according to the researchers, neither of these advisories accounted for risk to the sewer workers. “While current WHO and CDC guidance for disposal of liquid waste from patients undergoing treatment for Ebola virus disease at hospitals in the U.S. is to manage patient excreta as ordinary wastewater without pretreatment. The potential for Ebolavirus transmission via liquid waste discharged into the wastewater environment is currently unknown,” the authors write. “Possible worker inhalation exposure to Ebolavirus-contaminated aerosols in the sewer continues to be a concern within the wastewater treatment community.” The team arrived at its conclusions by first talking to workers at urban wastewater treatment facilities to understand where and under what conditions they might come in contact with untreated sewage aerosols. The researchers then looked at previous Ebola data to create a model of its behavior under similar conditions — from which they conducted a standardized microbial risk assessment analysis that was developed by Haas. It took into account variables such as the amount of waste produced during a treatment period, the degree to which it is diluted, the length of time between its disposal at the hospital and when sewer workers would encounter it and the concentration of viable viruses that could be in the air at treatment facilities. A worker’s risk of exposure varies with the time spent in the contaminated area and whether or not they’re wearing properly fitting protective gear — so the team looked at what the exposure risk would be given a range of protection and viral particle concentration scenarios. “Under the least-favorable scenario, the potential risk of developing Ebola virus disease from inhalation exposure is a value higher than many risk managers may be willing to accept,” they report. “Although further data gathering efforts are necessary to improve the prevision of the risk projections, the results suggest that the potential risk that sewer workers face when operating in a wastewater collection system downstream from a hospital receiving Ebola patients warrants further attention and current authoritative guidance for Ebolavirus liquid waste disposal may be insufficiently protective of sewer worker safety.” While this study suggests that new guidelines from the leading public health authorities are likely in order, the researchers acknowledge that their work is part of the iterative process of understanding how to safely contain and treat the virus. This study builds on Haas and Bibby’s previous work, which has shaped the way experts understand Ebola risk. Their research on how long Ebola can survive outside the body raised important questions about how exposure can occur and how long patients should be quarantined. “We find this area of risk assessment to be particularly vital because of the preponderance of questions that remain about how long Ebolavirus can survive outside the body,” Haas said. “One thing we do know from previous research is that it is possible to inhale the virus to cause a risk — and it wouldn’t take much. At this point we haven’t seen a confirmed case of somebody contracting Ebola in this way, and our hope is that this work can contribute to revised guidelines that will keep it that way.” ###
Author: Britt Faulstick, Drexel University (britt.faulstick@drexel.edu, 215.895.2617)
Apr
11
2017

Third "Bamboo in the Urban Environment" symposium further develops standards for bamboo as a sustainable construction resource

Civil & Environmental

Following the successful Symposia held in Pittsburgh (May 2016) and Winnipeg (August 2015), the third Bamboo in the Urban Environment Symposium was held 7-9 March 2017 in Bogor Indonesia, just outside Jakarta. The Symposia series was supported as part of a US-State Department and UK British Council-funded Global Innovation Initiative (GII) project that is supporting the development of bamboo as a sustainable and engineered alternative construction material. The group focuses on the use of bamboo in third-world countries where bamboo is a more sustainable, economical and structurally-sound construction material. The Jakarta meeting, which brought together academic, private sector and civil society actors from 15 countries and territories, was jointly organized by the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, Bogor Agricultural University, Coventry University, and the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR), a multilateral organization with 42 member states. This third engagement saw strong engagement and commitment from Indonesia, with stakeholders from eight new institutions joining the symposium series. Speaking on behalf of the Government of Indonesia in his keynote address, Prof. Bambang Prastia, Head of the Indonesian Standards Agency, stated that Indonesia is paying high attention to develop bamboo for the construction sector as part of a broader strategy to standardize and build bamboo industry. The meeting constituted five technical standards meetings and over twenty high quality technical presentations from among the approximately 55 invited delegates. The 2016 ‘Pittsburgh Declaration’ was unanimously reaffirmed at the closing section with new delegates signing on to this important global call to action.Bamboo has a critical role to play in the provision of safe and affordable housing and could be a key contributor to greener urban environments worldwide. This strategic resource combines rapidly renewable properties, strength, and cost-effectiveness – making it an ideal building material and a potential driver of sustainable development in many parts of the world, particularly those where traditional materials such as concrete, steel and wood are economically unfeasible or geographically unavailable.   The case for bamboo is outlined in the ‘Pittsburgh Declaration’ – a global call to action that seeks to increase international recognition of the benefits of bamboo, and outlines recommendations designed to more effectively harness the plant as a building material. To ensure bamboo is harnessed more effectively and becomes a viable building material for the future, the Declaration makes several recommendations. A key consideration is the development of international standards (through the International Organization for Standardization - ISO) - the plant’s use in modern structures has been previously hampered by a lack of formal standards and codes. The Bogor, Pittsburgh and Winnipeg meetings focused on issues of standardization and have already resulted in considerable progress including: Revision of ISO 22157-1 – Test Methods for Bamboo; an effort that will be concluded in 2018 and is chaired by GII coPI David Trujillo of Coventry University. Significant progress toward an ISO Bamboo Grading Standard; also led by David Trujillo. Consensus reached to submit a new proposal to ISO to revise ISO 22156 – Bamboo Structural Design in 2017; led by Prof. Kent Harries GII PI from the University of Pittsburgh. Initiation of work on a new standard proposal to establish material properties of engineered bamboo materials by 2018; co-led by Dr. Bhavna Sharma, former Pitt PhD, now University of Bath faculty; and Arjan van der Vegte, Moso International B.V. “The Pittsburgh Declaration clearly demonstrates a growing consensus among experts on the need to harness bamboo as a building material,” says Oliver Frith, INBAR’s Global Programme Director. “Bamboo is a practical, cost-effective and sustainable option that will provide affordable, and as we have seen recently in Nepal and Ecuador, resilient and secure homes. The recommendations included in the Declaration are an important milestone and offer a framework to ensure the plant plays a more significant role in construction.” “The international standardization process promulgated by the Declaration is instrumental to developing broad recognition of bamboo as an engineered construction material,” says Kent Harries, FACI, FIIFC, P.Eng., Associate Professor of Structural Engineering and Mechanics at Pitt’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, GII PI and Symposium organizer. “Our continuing research at Pitt and other institutions have shown bamboo is one of nature’s perfect building materials, and is primed for greater international use. As the global population continues to increase and the threat of natural and climate disasters threaten greater numbers of people, bamboo is especially poised to become our go-to material for emergency shelters.” ### Pittsburgh DeclarationThe Pittsburgh Declaration is a call to action to promote bamboo and initiate more strategic efforts to harness this strategic resource as a practical, affordable and sustainable building material. The Declaration was issued at the conclusion of the ‘Symposium on Bamboo in the Environment,’ held at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, May 4-6, 2016. The Symposium brought together academic, private sector and civil society actors from 14 countries and territories, and was jointly organized by the University of Pittsburgh, Coventry University, and INBAR. The Declaration can be downloaded here.  The recorded proceedings of the Symposium will be archived and made freely available through both the University of Pittsburgh and INBAR websites.The International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR)INBAR is an intergovernmental organization established in 1997 dedicated to improving the social, economic and environmental benefits of bamboo and rattan. INBAR plays a unique role in finding and demonstrating innovative ways of using bamboo and rattan to protect environments and biodiversity, alleviate poverty and facilitate fairer pro-poor trade. INBAR connects a global network of partners from the government, private, and not-for-profit sectors in over 50 countries to define and implement a global agenda for sustainable development through bamboo and rattan.  INBAR Construction TaskforceThe bamboo construction taskforce, facilitated by INBAR, coordinates the activities of international research institutes and commercial companies interested in the structural uses of bamboo. The Taskforce supports INBAR’s membership of the Global Network for Sustainable Housing – the world’s premier knowledge network on sustainable housing, hosted by UN-Habitat in Nairobi. Its overall objective is to act as the world’s premier information and knowledge center on structural uses of bamboo.

Apr
10
2017

Pitt Names Senior Vice Chancellor for Research

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS

PITTSBURGH—Rob A. Rutenbar has been named the University of Pittsburgh’s senior vice chancellor for research. In this newly established position, he will lead the University’s strategic vision for research and innovation, enhancing existing technological partnerships. “I am delighted to welcome Rob to the University of Pittsburgh as our inaugural senior vice chancellor for research,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “His experience as a researcher, innovator, collaborator and entrepreneur — both inside and outside of the university — make Rob uniquely qualified to support our faculty’s research and innovation efforts and to champion Pitt research on a local, national and global scale.” Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson said Rutenbar is exceptionally well-suited for the role. “His administrative, entrepreneurial and research experiences align well with our vision for a leader who drives excellence and will serve as a champion for the University of Pittsburgh,” she said. “Rob’s experiences and expertise in both the academic world and the private sector make him the perfect individual to fully integrate and expand upon Pitt’s University-level research and medical school endeavors,” said Arthur S. Levine, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and the John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the School of Medicine. “In the coming years, we hope to be an internationally recognized model for how the various divisions of an educational institution can communicate and work together. Rob Rutenbar is precisely the type of professional needed to accomplish that goal.” Working with other senior University officials, the senior vice chancellor for research is responsible for establishing and implementing a long-term plan for research infrastructure. The position manages the University’s Center for Research Computing, Economic Partnerships, the Innovation Institute, the Office of Export Controls, the Office of Research, the Research Conduct and Compliance Office and the Radiation Safety Office. Additionally, Rutenbar will have an active role with the University's Swanson School of Engineering. “Dr. Rutenbar is an internationally=acclaimed scholar in computer engineering, and we are most excited that he is joining the faculty of our Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering here in the Swanson School of Engineering," saidAlan George, chair of the Swanson School's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "We are looking forward to his contributions to and collaboration with our ECE research programs." Rutenbar brings nearly 40 years of experience in innovation and technology to Pitt. His research focuses on three broad categories: tools for a wide variety of integrated circuit design issues, methods for managing the statistics of nanoscale chip design and custom computer architectures for perceptual and data analytics problems. Rutenbar currently serves as the Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering and heads the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this role, he oversees a department composed of 70 faculty members and more than 2,400 students that is currently ranked as the No. 5 computer science program in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. Prior to assuming that position in 2010, Rutenbar was a faculty member within Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for 25 years. As an entrepreneur, Rutenbar founded the tech firms Neolinear Inc. and Voci Technologies, Inc. in 1998 and 2006, respectively. He was the founding director for the Center for Circuit and System Solutions, a multi-university consortium that focused on next-generation chip design challenges. The recipient of 14 U.S. patent grants, his endeavors have been funded by such notable entities as AT&T, Google, IBM, the National Science Foundation and the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance. Rutenbar is the author of eight books and 175 published research articles. In recognition of his career accomplishments, Rutenbar was elected a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. He has twice won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ coveted Donald O. Pedersen Best Paper Award. He was recognized with distinguished alumnus awards from both the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. In 2002, Rutenbar was named Carnegie Mellon’s Stephen J. Jatras Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering, an endowed professorship position he held until leaving that university in 2010. Rutenbar earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Wayne State University in 1978. He earned master’s and doctorate degrees in computer, information and control engineering at the University of Michigan in 1979 and 1984, respectively. Rutenbar will join Pitt’s senior leadership team in July. ###
Anthony Moore, University Communications
Apr
6
2017

UK’s Leverhulme Trust awards Pitt’s Dr. Kent Harries with prestigious visiting professorship to University of Bath

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (April 6, 2017) … Kent Harries, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and Bicentennial Board of Visitors Faculty Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, was awarded a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship by the Leverhulme Trust in the UK. Dr. Harries will serve as Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Bath from September 2017 – August 2018.   Dr. Harries, whose research focuses on the use of nonconventional materials in construction, will utilize his professorship to develop curricula and other programs on fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP) in collaboration with Bath researchers and instructors. Commonly used in the UK and EU for structural design and repair, FRPs are relevant to UK industry and to code/standards development, with implications for other types of nonconventional materials utilized around the world. “The University of Bath is the pre-eminent institution for the study of nonconventional construction materials in the world, and so this expertise corresponds greatly with my research interests beyond FRP materials, such as the use bamboo in developing regions,” Dr. Harries said. “Both Pitt and Bath will benefit from this professorship through the exchange of our research expertise and curriculum development for students in the U.S. and UK.” Established in 1925 by the will of William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers, the Leverhulme Trust provides grants and scholarships for research and education, and is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK. ###

Apr
6
2017

Civil Engineering’s Piervincenzo Rizzo recognized by ASNT for Best Paper on nondestructive testing

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (April 6, 2017) … Piervincenzo (Piero) Rizzo, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Paper from the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), for the paper “ Fractal Analysis Applied to Laser Spot Thermography” published in the journal Materials Evaluation [Volume 74, Issue 3, pgs. 409-417, March 2016]. The ASNT Outstanding Paper in Materials Evaluation Award is presented to a person or persons for a manuscript published in Materials Evaluation, which, in the opinion of the Awards Committee, is an outstanding contribution to the advancement of nondestructive testing. Nominations may only be made by reviewers, Associate Technical Editors or Editors of the Journals, or Outstanding Paper Awards Committee Members. Dr. Rizzo will be recognized at the 2017 ASNT Annual Conference in Nashville, October 30-November 2. Dr. Rizzo’s academic and professional interests include nondestructive testing/evaluation, structural health monitoring, signal processing and automatic pattern recognition for real-time prognosis of structural and biological materials, and implementation of embedded sensor network for the health monitoring of civil, mechanical and aerospace structures. Current research is focused on the development of guided wave-based SHM methodologies for pipes, and the investigation of highly-nonlinear solitary waves for the noninvasive assessment of structural and biomaterials including structural buckling. In 2015 the International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring recognized him as the Structural Health Monitoring Person of the Year. In 2016 he received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Junior Scholar Award, the Pitt’s most esteemed award given to young faculty.   Dr. Rizzo earned his laurea (MS) in aeronautical engineering from the University of Palermo, Italy, and his Master and PhD in structural engineering from the University of California – San Diego. About Pitt’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Founded in 1867, the Civil and Environmental Engineering program at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering is one of the oldest engineering programs in the U.S. Civil engineering students at Pitt have the opportunity to engage in undergraduate and graduate programs in a broad range of topics, including environmental engineering and water resources, geotechnical and pavements, structural engineering and mechanics, and sustainability and green design. ###

Apr
3
2017

BodyExplorer Shows Students What They’re Made of

Bioengineering

ORLANDO, FL (April 3, 2017) … Imagine you are a medical or nursing student who wants to learn how to effectively and safely anesthetize a patient prior to surgery. You walk up to the patient and are guided by a virtual instructor’s voice and hands projected onto the body. You open up viewports that enable you to see through the skin to visualize the position of the breathing tube you are inserting into the trachea. All medications you inject are measured, and you are alerted if you administer an incorrect dose—and if you make such a mistake, no one is harmed: you can “push the reset button” and try again.This is the guided learning experience provided by BodyExplorer, a next-generation medical simulator developed by a multidisciplinary team at the Simulation and Medical Technology R&D Laboratory in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. The entire system, including a highly sensorized physical model of a human body and an augmented-reality projection system, can easily fit on a table in a classroom or a nurses’ break room in a hospital unit. The system demonstrates advanced simulation-based healthcare training with automated instruction, real-time feedback and round-the-clock accessibility for trainees.  At the Serious Games and Virtual Environments (SG/VE) Showcase during the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) in Orlando, BodyExplorer won the “Best in Show” award in the student project category. Douglas Nelson, Jr., a PhD student in bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, presented BodyExplorer to the judges.“We’ve been developing BodyExplorer over the past five years to help students learn about medicine, nursing, pharmacy and clinical procedures,” Nelson said. “We designed the system to make simulators easier to use for students and instructors, which seemed to impress the judges looking to the future of healthcare simulation. BodyExplorer is particularly useful because its automated instruction can allow trainees to practice without supervision while still receiving feedback on proper technique. This has the potential to provide more efficient simulation-based healthcare training by reducing the workload on educators while increasing availability of such training to students.”Using BodyExplorer’s augmented-reality (AR) visualization, students can manipulate an image projected onto the mannequin torso. Trainees can use a simple, pen-like tool to open “windows” into the underlying anatomy, revealing muscles, bones and organs, including breathing lungs and a beating heart. The trainees can also see patient vital signs or other data; for example, they can pull up an electrocardiogram (ECG) graph to see how the ECG relates to the sound and motion of the heart and how it is affected by injected drug simulants.Joseph Samosky, assistant professor of bioengineering at Pitt, is the originator and principal investigator of the BodyExplorer project and faculty advisor for Nelson’s PhD research. “If a student wants to explore the effects of medications on cardiac function, the student can inject simulated drugs and the system will automatically respond with changes in heart rate that can be seen, heard and visualized on the ECG displayed directly beside the beating heart,” Samosky said. “We want to maintain a focus on the patient. In BodyExplorer, the body itself becomes a tangible user interface (TUI), sensing inputs from and displaying information back to the trainee. The system enables you to interact naturally with the simulated patient and see the internal consequences of your external actions.”BodyExplorer is highly interactive. It features a novel drug-simulant recognition system that encodes an identity, or “signature,” directly in the fluid itself, so simulated drugs can be injected in a naturalistic way and automatically recognized by the system. If the trainee administers a medication too quickly, BodyExplorer may elicit a loud, painful scream. Likewise, if the trainee administers a medication that causes the heart to beat faster, BodyExplorer’s digitally-animated heart will pulse more quickly and the pounding sound of heartbeats will also quicken.John O’Donnell, professor and chair of the Department of Nurse Anesthesia joined the BodyExplorer team in 2013 as a clinical co-investigator and faculty advisor on the project. He co-chaired the IMSH conference which had the highest attendance of any international simulation conference in the world to date with more than 3,500 healthcare educators and students. O’Donnell has been assisting with the development and validation of curriculum for the system and notes that “students in healthcare training programs want and need the chance to practice their skills and get immediate feedback. BodyExplorer has the potential to revolutionize the current model of training by offering ‘just in time’ and ‘on-demand’ access to key simulation experiences.”The broadening of access for students is another key goal of the BodyExplorer project, Nelson explained. “Current healthcare simulation training is very resource intensive, requiring technicians, instructors and often specially-designed rooms. We want to bring simulation technology and training into everyday classrooms or hospitals and make it usable by students on their own without special training in simulator operation. The current BodyExplorer prototypes fit in the trunk of my car, and we would like to make commercialized models even more compact and easy to set up as we redesign them for manufacturability.”Nelson, who will complete his PhD in April, plans after his graduation to develop a newly-founded company to bring to market a commercial version of the BodyExplorer simulation system. The development of the several technologies that have been integrated into the BodyExplorer system has been principally funded by the University of Pittsburgh Departments of Anesthesiology and Bioengineering. Additional funding has been provided by the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) and a Coulter Translational Research Award, as well as additional resources from the School of Nursing’s Department of Nurse Anesthesia. Follow this link to see a video of how BodyExplorer works: http://www.innovation.pitt.edu/innovations/bodyexplorer/ ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Apr
3
2017

ChemE Professor Christopher Wilmer Joins Foresight Institute’s Inaugural Class of Fellows

Chemical & Petroleum

PALO ALTO, CA (April 3, 2017) … The Foresight Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting future technologies, has announced that Christopher Wilmer will be part of its inaugural class of fellows. The 10 inductees are all working on technologies with massive potential for the future, including space technology, human longevity and the interface between human minds and computers.The Foresight Institute selected Dr. Wilmer, assistant professor chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, for his work with nanostructures called “molecular machines.” As principal investigator of the Hypothetical Materials Lab at Pitt, Dr. Wilmer leads his team in the design of complex, hypothetical molecular machines capable of solving problems in fields such as energy and the environment.The Foresight Fellowship lasts for one year and provides support in the form of personal attention, exposure to new opportunities and mentorship from leaders in related fields. The Foresight Institute also invites fellows to attend special events to further connect with mentors and other fellows.“There’s nothing new in the world… is an adage that has met its match,” said Steve Burgess, president of Foresight Institute. “The Foresight Fellows are up to the challenge and we look forward to what they bring forth. The Foresight Fellowship Program is itself new, and we’re excited about working with this talented group and the prospects they bring to possible technological breakthrough for a better world for everyone.”About the Foresight InstituteSince 1993, Foresight Institute has been rewarding those who are making strides in the field of nanotechnology with the Feynman Prize. In 2016, a former Feynman Prize winner, Sir James Fraser Stoddart, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work with molecular machines. Foresight Institute recognizes that providing a strong network and knowledge base for new fellows will accelerate their missions and reflect Foresight’s goals to further support those making important strides in key fields. The early identification and support of big research ideas is where Foresight Institute creates the most impact.About Dr. WilmerDr. Wilmer’s research focuses on the use of large-scale molecular simulations to help find promising materials for energy and environmental applications. He earned his bachelor’s degree in applied science from the University of Toronto’s Engineering Science—Nanoengineering program, and his PhD in Chemical Engineering at Northwestern under the mentorship of Prof. Randall Q. Snurr. While at Northwestern he took an interest in developing new technologies through entrepreneurship and co-founded NuMat Technologies, which designs porous materials that could be used to make better natural gas fuel tanks for vehicles. In 2012 the company won the Department of Energy’s National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition, while Dr. Wilmer was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30 in Energy.” He has authored more than 20 publications and holds more than 500 article citations. For more information visit Dr. Wilmer’s website at www.wilmerlab.com. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Apr
3
2017

MCSI Seed Grants Fund New Round of Sustainability Research

Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Industrial, MEMS

PITTSBURGH, PA (April 3, 2017) … The Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) has announced the recipients of 2017-2018 MCSI seed grant funding. The annual seed grant program engages a core team of researchers who are passionate about sustainability. Seed grants support graduate student and post-doctoral fellows on one-year research projects. The University of Pittsburgh projects and faculty members to receive funding include:• “Protein lithograph: a sustainable technology for sub-5-nm nanomanufacturing.” Mostafa Bedewy, Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering.• “High efficiency refrigeration and cooling through additive manufactured magnetocaloric devices.” Markus Chmielus, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.• “Toward machine learning blueprints for greener chelants.” John Keith, Assistant Professor, Inaugural Richard King Mellon Faculty Fellow in Energy, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.• “H2P: HydroPonics to Pyrolysis: An enclosed system for the phytoremediation and destruction of perfectly persistent emerging contaminants in our water.” Carla Ng, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; David Sanchez, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.MCSI developed the research seed grant program to provide faculty with funding support to allow students to participate in high-quality research, teaching, outreach and creative endeavors. The goals of the grants are: (1) seed funding to develop ideas to the point where external funding can be obtained; (2) awards to support scholarship in areas where external funding is extremely limited; (3) resources to introduce curricular innovations into the classroom; or (4) tools or techniques to encourage community outreach and education. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer

Mar

Mar
30
2017

Rapid Ready Tech Interviews Assistant Professor Wei Xiong: A Deeper Look into Metal Additive Manufacturing Material Properties

MEMS

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have been working with ANSYS to create a simulation technique that can evaluate the effects of additive manufacturing (AM) on the microstructure and material properties of parts produced for high-temperature applications. Up to this point, the only way to certify the quality of these parts has been to perform comprehensive physical tests. Unfortunately, these procedures have proven to be too costly and time-consuming. View the full article at Rapid Ready Tech.
Author: Tom Kevan, Digital Engineering
Mar
28
2017

Pitt IE Professor Lisa Maillart Awarded Fulbright Scholarship to the Netherlands

Industrial

PITTSBURGH, PA (March 28, 2017) … Lisa Maillart, associate professor of industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, was named a Fulbright Scholar to Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands. Through her Fulbright award, Dr. Maillart will collaborate with researchers at TU/e on multiple projects related to maintenance optimization in healthcare, and she will teach a graduate course on Markov Decision Processes (MDPs). Dr. Maillart’s focus in applied probability as well as MDPs and Partially Observable MDPs (POMDPs) influences her research in maintenance optimization, healthcare operations and medical decision-making. “Dr. Maillart’s expertise on MDPs and in particular POMDPs will be a great benefit for us,” said Geert-Jan van Houtum, professor of maintenance, reliability and quality at TU/e. “We aim to work together on multiple joint papers, and the ambition will be to get them published in top journals in our field. With Dr. Maillart in our team, we will increase our possibilities to realize such top publications.” Dr. Maillart’s research at TU/e will be heavily driven by data supplied by the multinational Dutch electronics corporation Philips, which has a research facility headquartered in Eindhoven, Netherlands. She will collaborate with personnel from Philips Research and the faculty and students of Eindhoven University to gain a better understanding of smart maintenance approaches for healthcare systems and personalized health. Many healthcare settings require sequential decision making to manage systems that deteriorate randomly over time—for example, large-scale medical equipment or a chronically ill individual. Dr. Maillart will examine how new types of data can be analyzed to improve the decision making process for these complex problems. The new course on Markov Decision Processes will potentially expand into a permanent course at TU/e. Dr. Maillart will be instrumental in helping the faculty design the curriculum. She will also be involved in the supervision of PhD and master thesis research projects while visiting TU/e. About Lisa MaillartLisa Maillart is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Stochastic Modeling, Analysis and Control (SMAC) Laboratory in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the faculty at Pitt, she served on the faculty of the Department of Operations in the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. She received her MS and BS in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech, and her PhD in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan. Her primary research interest is in sequential decision making under uncertainty, with applications in medical decision-making, healthcare operations, healthcare policy and maintenance optimization. She is a member of INFORMS, SMDM and IIE, and was recently named a Fulbright U.S. Scholar. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
27
2017

Pitt ChemE Students Turn Class Project into $5,000 InnoCentive Award

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH, PA (March 27, 2017) … InnoCentive, a crowdsourcing platform for problem-solving and innovation, awarded $5,000 to a team of students from the University of Pittsburgh for designing a solution for shipping polymers that expand too much when they’re cold and become too sticky when they’re hot. The students solved the problem for a chemical engineering class at the Swanson School and submitted their proposal to the InnoCentive Challenge Center after receiving an “A” on the assignment.Hydrogenated styrene diene block copolymer is used to make cosmetics and tough synthetic rubbers. An anonymous company submitted a challenge to the crowdsourcing website InnoCentive to see if anyone could find a way to improve its method of baling the polymers for shipment. The company had been using heat to compress the polymers and save space on the trucks; however, the heat also caused the polymer to stick to the surface of the conveyor system that led to the baler. The four Pitt students devised a solution that involved adding a vertical conveyor to the baling process. This particular type of spiral-shaped conveyor, commonly used in the food industry, looks like a giant metal spring. It can simultaneously heat the polymer while transporting it to the entrance of a top-loading baler. It also moves the polymer with vibration, preventing any chance of the compressed rubber sticking to the surface.“When we came up with this solution, we knew it was right,” said Devin Ulam, an undergraduate student and member of the Pitt team. “The vertical conveyor only takes up a little bit of space, and the polymer crumb is heated at the last moment before it enters the baler, so there is no risk of clogging.”The other team members were Travis La Fleur, Stephen Provencher and Timothy Shearer. All four students are majoring in chemical engineering at Pitt and enrolled in “Taking Products to Market – Next Step in Chemical Product Design” (ChE314) in the fall of 2016.The course emphasizes entrepreneurial approaches to chemical engineering product development. Christopher Wilmer, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at Pitt, taught the course last fall and directed the Pitt team to the InnoCentive challenge to gain experience with real-world problem solving.“We are teaching engineers in this course to consider the values and needs of the customer throughout the design process,” said Wilmer. “These students did an excellent job of finding a solution that didn’t make any drastic changes to the company’s product or processes. It will be very easy to implement their solution, and I think that is why they deserved to win the award.” InnoCentive is a network of more than 375,000 problem solvers. The platform connects corporations, government organizations and nonprofit companies with experts in the fields of computer science, math, chemistry, life sciences, physical sciences and business. When an organization submits a “challenge problem” to InnoCentive, the competition is open to the InnoCentive community. The organization that submitted the challenge ultimately determines the winning solution. ### Image Above: (from left to right) Devin Ulam, Timothy Shearer, Travis La Fleur and Stephen Provencher.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
22
2017

Swanson School of Engineering announces 2017 Distinguished Alumni at annual banquet



PITTSBURGH (March 22, 2017) … Collectively they are professors, researchers and authors; inventors, builders and producers; business leaders, entrepreneurs and industry pioneers. The 53rd annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet brought together honorees from each of the Swanson School of Engineering’s six departments and one overall honoree to represent the entire school. The banquet took place at the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Hall, and Gerald D. Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering, presented the awards. Dr. Wanda M. Austin, a graduate from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and retired president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation, received recognition as Distinguished Alumna and represented the Swanson School. “The Swanson School Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes past recipients of the departmental awards who have excelled in their careers, who have been an inspiration to faculty and students at the Swanson School and who through their accomplishments and capacity have had an impact on the next generation of Pitt engineers,” said Dean Holder. “Wanda, for your incredible engineering career, and your dedication, not only to your employees but future engineers and scientists, we are proud to honor you as our 2017 Distinguished Alumna of the Swanson School of Engineering.” This year’s recipients include: Swanson School of Engineering  Wanda M. Austin, PhD, MSCE '77, MS Math ‘77  Retired, President & CEO, The Aerospace CorporationDepartment of Bioengineering  Mark DiSilvestro, MSBEG ’99, PhD BIOE ‘00  COO, Cases By Source; President, Vista Management Consulting LLC Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering  Donna G. Blackmond, PhD, BSCHE ’80, MSCHE ‘81  Professor of Chemistry, Scripps Research InstituteDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering  Michael Flowers, MSCE ‘78 Retired, President & CEO, American Bridge CompanyDepartment of Electrical and Computer Engineering  Vibha Rustagi, BSEE ‘87 CEO, itaas, a Cognizant CompanyDepartment of Industrial Engineering  John Richter, BSIE ‘75 Retired, Vice President of Operations, PPG Coatings  Asia Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science  Jay Nunamaker, Jr., PhD, BSME ’60, MSIE ‘66 Regents and Soldwedel Professor of MIS, Computer Science and Communications, University of ArizonaThis year’s sponsors included: Gold Level: i+icon USA  Blue Level: PPG Coatings Asia, Pittsburgh BiomechanicsFriends: Caliber Contracting Services, SAI Consulting Engineers, Ellwood Quality Steels, The Aerospace Corporation ### Pictured above from left: Mark DiSilvestro, Donna Blackmond, Michael Flowers, Wanda Austin, Vibha Rustagi, John Richter and Jay Nunamaker
Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
22
2017

The Swanson School Presents Alumnus Mark DiSilvestro with 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for Bioengineering

Bioengineering

PITTSBURGH (March 22, 2017) … Collectively they are professors, researchers and authors; inventors, builders and producers; business leaders, entrepreneurs and industry pioneers. The 53rd annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet brought together honorees from each of the Swanson School of Engineering’s six departments and one overall honoree to represent the entire school. The banquet took place at the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Hall, and Gerald D. Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering, presented the awards. This year’s recipient for the Department of Bioengineering was Mark DiSilvestro, MSBEG ’99, PhD BIOE ’00, COO of Cases By Source and President of Vista Management Consulting LLC. “Despite Bioengineering being our newest department, its alumni have had truly outstanding successes,” said Dean Holder. “Mark earned both his master’s and PhD in bioengineering from Pitt and since then has established himself in the medical device industry, first at the startup Tissue-Informatics, and later as an R&D specialist. His career has truly been interdisciplinary and is an example how an engineer can play a critical role in translational research, operations and business development.”About Mark DiSilvestroDr. Mark DiSilvestro earned both an MS and a PhD in bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999 and 2000, respectively. He was a member of the Musculoskeletal Research Center where he was a Whitaker Research Fellow. He earned his BS in biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in 1996. DiSilvestro has built a career in the medical device industry as a technical contributor in R&D and product development, as a manager of projects and teams and as an executive responsible for all business operations. He began by working at a startup company, TissueInformatics, as a principal scientist. He worked with a team that developed a high speed imaging device for scanning histology slides and creating digital montages of tissue sections that were characterized using novel algorithms. DePuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson & Johnson company, recruited DiSilvestro in 2001. He began with DePuy as a senior engineer in sensors and electronic technologies and was promoted first to staff engineer and then to Manager of Global Concept Development. After leaving Depuy, he went to Becton Dickinson where he developed a global project prioritization process integrated with the company’s change management process which achieved $3 million in annualized cost reductions in its first year. He continued his management role when he left Becton Dickinson to join Medin Corporation in 2008. By 2013, DiSilvestro was promoted to COO and was responsible for all operations of the business.In 2009, DiSilvestro started his own consulting company, Vista Management Consulting LLC. As president, he oversees projects ranging from performing mechanical analysis of structures for design optimization to organizational assessments and recommendations for hiring and process improvements. He was recruited to Cases By Source in 2016, and he is currently the COO. ### Photo Above: Dean Holder (left) with Mark DiSilvestro and BioE Department Chair Sanjeev Shroff.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
22
2017

The Swanson School Presents Alumnus Michael Flowers with 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for Civil and Environmental Engineering

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (March 22, 2017) … Collectively they are professors, researchers and authors; inventors, builders and producers; business leaders, entrepreneurs and industry pioneers. The 53rd annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet brought together honorees from each of the Swanson School of Engineering’s six departments and one overall honoree to represent the entire school. The banquet took place at the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Hall, and Gerald D. Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering, presented the awards.This year’s recipient for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering was Michael Flowers, MSCE ’78, retired, President and CEO, American Bridge Company.“Civil engineering was the first engineering program established at Pitt 150 years ago, and so our civil engineering alumni have influenced the field for generations,” said Dean Holder. “Of course, one of civil engineering’s most important, historic accomplishments and contributions to society has been building bridges to connect one land mass to another. Michael Flowers, represents that strong tradition.”About Michael FlowersMichael Flowers received his MS in civil engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1978 and his BS in civil engineering from West Virginia University in 1974. He joined American Bridge Company in 1975 as a design engineer in the Pittsburgh Regional Engineering office. In the early years of his career, he worked on the repair and maintenance of a variety of steelmaking facilities for American Bridge’s parent United States Steel Corporation. In 1978, Flowers was assigned to a business unit in American Bridge responsible for major commercial construction projects in the United States, working on both high-rise buildings and bridges. His projects included Phase II of the Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI, One Mellon Bank Center, PPG Place and Fifth Avenue Place buildings in Pittsburgh, PA; and a total reconstruction of the Riverside Drive Viaduct in New York City. In 2006, Flowers became the project director for the American Bridge-led joint venture building the new $1.9 billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Self-Anchored-Suspension Bridge in California. There he oversaw all aspects of the construction of this one-of-a kind suspension bridge project in the highly seismic Bay Area.Flowers assumed CEO responsibilities of American Bridge in January of 2011. In his capacity as CEO, he led the company’s participation in joint venture wins for the new Queensferry Crossing, a three-tower cable stayed bridge over of the Firth of Forth in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the new Tappan Zee Hudson River Bridge in Tarrytown, NY. In June of 2016 he retired as president and CEO of American Bridge. ### Photo Above: Dean Holder (left) with Michael Flowers and CEE Department Chair Radisav Vidic.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
22
2017

The Swanson School Presents Alumna Donna Blackmond with 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH (March 22, 2017) … Collectively they are professors, researchers and authors; inventors, builders and producers; business leaders, entrepreneurs and industry pioneers. The 53rd annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet brought together honorees from each of the Swanson School of Engineering’s six departments and one overall honoree to represent the entire school. The banquet took place at the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Hall, and Gerald D. Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering, presented the awards.This year’s recipient for the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering was Donna G. Blackmond, PhD, BSCHE ’80, MSCHE ’81, Professor of Chemistry, Scripps Research Institute.“Many of us here tonight, myself included, remember Donna as an outstanding student and researcher, and have followed her many accomplishments while making a major impact with her research,” said Dean Holder. “She is a pioneer of Reaction Progress Kinetic Analysis, and her research into prebiotic chemistry and asymmetric catalytic reactions is recognized worldwide.”About Donna BlackmondDonna G. Blackmond received BS and MS degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1980 and 1981, respectively. She received a PhD degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1984. Blackmond started her career as an assistant professor of chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh in 1984 and was promoted to associate professor in 1989. She has held professorships in chemical engineering and in organic, physical, and technical chemistry in the US, Germany and the UK, and she has worked in the pharmaceutical industry as an associate director at Merck & Co., Inc. In 2010 she moved from a joint research chair in chemistry and chemical engineering at Imperial College London to her present position as professor of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Blackmond’s research focuses on kinetic, mechanistic and reaction engineering studies of organic reactions for pharmaceutical applications, including asymmetric catalysis. She has been invited to give her short course on Kinetics of Organic Catalytic Reactions in academia (including Harvard, Berkeley, Zürich, Nagoya) and at major pharmaceutical companies around the world. Blackmond also carries out fundamental studies probing the origin of the single chirality of biological molecules. She was invited by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to speak at a Nobel Workshop “On the Origin of Life” in Stockholm (2006). In 2012 she was named a Simons Investigator in the Simons Foundation Collaboration on the Origins of Life. ### Photo Above: Dean Holder (left) with Donna Blackmond and ChemE Department Chair Steven Little.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
22
2017

The Swanson School Presents Alumnus John Richter with 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for Industrial Engineering

Industrial

PITTSBURGH (March 22, 2017) … Collectively they are professors, researchers and authors; inventors, builders and producers; business leaders, entrepreneurs and industry pioneers. The 53rd annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet brought together honorees from each of the Swanson School of Engineering’s six departments and one overall honoree to represent the entire school. The banquet took place at the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Hall, and Gerald D. Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering, presented the awards.This year’s recipient for the Department of Industrial Engineering was John Richter, BSIE ’75, retired, Vice President of Operation, PPG Coatings Asia.“After earning his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Pitt, John would embark upon a successful and global career at PPG Industries,” Dean Holder said. “Like the quintessential engineer who continually builds upon his knowledge, John started in coatings and resins, supply chain and process engineering, leading toward his jump to Valspar Highpoint Plant Manager. From there, his expertise would have an impact throughout PPG’s coatings divisions, first in the U.S. and later, around the globe at 42 plants as well as warehouses and distribution chains.”About John RichterJohn Richter graduated with his BS in industrial engineering in 1975. He became a manufacturing professional with extensive global experience in organizational structures, plant operations and supply chains, with a strong emphasis on environment, health and safety. He served as PPG Vice President, Asia Pacific Coatings Operations from 2011 to 2016. He was responsible for the supply chains and manufacturing plants for the seven coatings businesses through Asia Pacific and India.Richter became Valspar Highpoint plant manager in 1993, where he was responsible for the daily operation of a coatings manufacturing plant. In 1995 he was appointed PPG sr. engineering consultant and then PPG Springdale Plant Manager, Industrial Coatings. This plant remains the primary production site for Harley Davidson, Titleist, JEG lifts and steel and aluminum coil coatings. Richter quickly became the PPG Manufacturing Director, Industrial Coatings in Pittsburgh, PA, responsible for the seven manufacturing plants that produced industrial coatings products in North America, Europe, Australia and China. He was appointed PPG Global Operations Director, OEM Coatings in 2003, responsible for the 42 plants around the world, the warehouses that support the plants and the distribution of finished goods. ### Photo Above: Dean Holder (left) with John Richter and IE Department Chair Bopaya Bidanda.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
22
2017

The Swanson School Presents Alumnus Jay Nunamaker with 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

MEMS

PITTSBURGH (March 22, 2017) … Collectively they are professors, researchers and authors; inventors, builders and producers; business leaders, entrepreneurs and industry pioneers. The 53rd annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet brought together honorees from each of the Swanson School of Engineering’s six departments and one overall honoree to represent the entire school. The banquet took place at the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Hall, and Gerald D. Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering, presented the awards.This year’s recipient for the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science was Jay Nunamaker, Jr., PhD, BSME ’60, MSIE ’66, Regents and Soldwedel Professor of MIS Computer Science and Communications, University of Arizona.“Jay’s expertise in information technology is recognized around the world, and he has been named by Forbes Magazine as one of eight key innovators in information technology,” said Dean Holder. “To call his research production and citations ‘impressive’ would be a disservice, especially since this January, he was named the most prolific author of the past half-century by the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. He has over 25,000 citations and 400 publications. I also might add that he had over $100 million in research funding.”About Jay NunamakerDr. Jay Nunamaker, Jr. received his BS degree in mechanical engineering and MS degree in industrial engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating as a mechanical engineer, he worked at the Shippingport Atomic Power Station as a test and design engineer for 3.5 years. He received a BS from Carnegie Mellon University and his PhD in operations research and systems engineering from Case Institute of Technology of Case Western Research University. He continued his academic career as a research assistant on the ISDOS project at the University of Michigan and then became an associate professor of computer science and industrial administration at Purdue University. Nunamaker is currently the Regents and Soldwedel Professor of MIS, Computer Science and Communication and the Director of the Center for the Management of Information at the University of Arizona. He founded the MIS department at the University of Arizona in 1974 and served as department head for 18 years. He received his professional engineer’s license in 1965.Forbes Magazine featured Nunamaker in the July 1997 issue as one of eight key innovators in information technology. He is widely published with more than 25,000 citations to his research. He has produced more than 400 journal articles, book chapters, books and refereed proceedings. The Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences recognized Nunamaker in January 2017 as the most prolific author over the past fifty years. ### Photo Above: Dean Holder (left) with Jay Nunamaker and MEMS Department Chair Brian Gleeson.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
22
2017

Chemical Engineering PhD Candidate Natalie Austin Invited to 67th Nobel Laureate Meeting on Chemistry

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH, PA (March 22, 2017) … Natalie Austin, a PhD candidate in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, will participate in the 67th Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany this June. Austin will join an elite group of 400 – 500 international undergraduates, graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, who qualified for attendance after a multistage selection process.Between 30 – 40 Nobel Laureates will also attend the meeting and interact with the next generation of scientists primed to make significant contributions to their fields. Each year the meeting focuses on one of the three natural sciences eligible for a Nobel Prize: chemistry, physics and physiology/medicine. This year’s topic of chemistry will be addressed and analyzed through lectures, discussion, master classes and panels.Austin, who works in the Computer-Aided Nano and Energy Lab (CANELA) at Pitt, was one of two Pitt students selected to apply to the program. She qualified nationally as part of the Oak Ridge Associates Universities team and then passed through an international selection pool ranging from undergraduate to post-doctoral students below the age of 35.“Attending the meeting held at Lindau is important to me,” said Austin. “I will have the opportunity to meet with the most successful and respected researchers in my field and beyond. More so, I believe that the interactions and networking opportunities provided at Lindau will be enriching to me, as well as inspire and motivate me as I move towards completing my graduate education and research.”  Austin’s research at CANELA focuses on the computational design of bimetallic nanoparticles, which can absorb, activate and convert carbon dioxide into useful chemicals and fuels. Monometallic copper is commonly used as a catalyst for carbon dioxide conversion, but studies have shown enhanced activity on copper-based bimetallic catalysts. Austin is currently investigating both the physicochemical properties of the catalysts and the mechanism of carbon dioxide conversion to methanol, an alternative fuel source to gasoline in internal combustion engines.Austin received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering/bioengineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2013 and will defend her doctoral thesis in May 2018. After graduation, Austin said she would like to begin a career in energy and environmental research for the government or in an industrial setting. “I am personally very proud of Natalie and of what she has accomplished so far,” said Giannis Mpourmpakis, assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at Pitt and principal investigator at CANELA. “Having participated in this meeting in the past, I know how competitive the selection process is and how beneficial this experience will be for her future career.” ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
22
2017

Society for Biomaterials Awards Bioengineering Graduate Student with Honorable Mention for Outstanding Paper

Bioengineering

PITTSBURGH, PA (March 22, 2017) … The Society for Biomaterials has selected Puneeth Shridhar, a bioengineering graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, as the recipient of an Honorable Mention Student Travel Achievement Recognition (STAR) Award. The Society’s Education and Professional Development Committee chose to recognize Shridhar for his work titled “The Rescue Stent for Non-Compressible Traumatic Hemorrhage.”The Rescue Stent is a medical device designed to manage firearm trauma in a battlefield or civilian environment. Currently, patients suffering from large vessel hemorrhaging after a chest trauma must be transported to a hybrid operating room for treatment. The process usually takes about 20 minutes. Early intervention greatly improves the outcome of the treatment, and often a matter of seconds can largely impact the patient’s health. The Rescue Stent can be placed in only four minutes. It stops the life-threatening bleeding and allows blood to continue to circulate to the patient’s organs.Shridhar is currently pursuing a second doctoral degree in the Department of Bioengineering and is advised by Youngjae Chun, assistant professor in the Departments of Industrial Engineering and Bioengineering at Pitt. He previously earned his MD from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in Karnataka, India, and he works with Chun in the Medical Device Manufacturing Lab at Pitt. “In the past year, Puneeth and I have authored more than 20 research papers focused on various medical devices with critical applications to many different parts of the body,” said Chun. “He is very passionate about next-gen devices, and the STAR recognition is a very positive sign that Puneeth will be a future leader in the biomaterial arena.”The United States Department of Defense recently awarded a team from Pitt $2.5 million to develop the Rescue Stent technology. Bryan Tillman, assistant professor of vascular surgery at Pitt’s School of Medicine, serves as principal investigator on the project. Three professors from the Swanson School of Engineering have joined Tillman: William Clark, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science; Sung Kwon Cho, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science; and Chun.    Shridhar will receive the award at the Society for Biomaterials 2017 Annual Meeting this April in Minneapolis, MN. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
20
2017

Penn biointerface researcher and entrepreneur Tagbo Niepa to join Pitt’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH (March 20, 2017) … Further strengthening its focus on interdisciplinary research and entrepreneurship, the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has hired Tagbo H.R. Niepa, PhD as assistant professor. Dr. Niepa, currently the Postdoctoral Fellow for Academic Diversity at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with Professors Daeyeon Lee and Kathleen Stebe, will join Pitt in July 2017.“Tagbo’s expertise in biofilms, microfluidics and interfacial science is an outstanding addition to our department,” said Steven R. Little, PhD, Department Chair and William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “He is young researcher who is gaining a national reputation for his bacterial research, and his experience as an entrepreneur with his own successful startup will be a tremendous asset and inspiration to our students.”“Many lifesaving medical innovations have emerged from the University of Pittsburgh,” added Dr. Niepa. “I am very excited to join Pitt’s Department Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. The multidisciplinary environment at Pitt is conducive for me to make unique contributions to diverse fields ranging from biomedical, to food and environmental sciences. "I envision developing microbial-based methods of oil recovery, and technologies having applications for biotechnology and personalized therapeutics. My hope is to share my vision of entrepreneurship as an alternative approach to disseminating research results with students as they explore opportunities outside of academia or industry.”Dr. Niepa currently focuses on interfacial phenomena associated with bacterial films and is developing artificial microniches to model microbiome dynamics as well as microbial communities relevant to antibiotic discovery. His research also seeks to understand how beneficial microbes could be used to better clean the environment after an oil spill and how pathogens could be prevented from causing disease. He earned an associate degree in food science at the Food Industry College (Ivory Coast) and worked at the Pasteur Institute as a research associate, before transferring to University of Dortmund (Germany) to study bioengineering. He later earned a BS in biomedical engineering and PhD in chemical engineering from Syracuse University. His doctoral research on the electrochemical control of bacterial persister cells revealed new means to control the electrophysiology of highly drug-tolerant bacterial cells and sensitize pathogenic persister and biofilm cells to antibiotics. His technology was tested successfully for safety on human cells and for efficacy in curing a rabbit model of sinusitis, and was awarded two U.S. patents and recognized by Syracuse University with the All-University Doctoral Prize. Dr. Niepa is a co-founder of Helios Innovative Technologies Inc. (now PurpleSun Inc.), a medical device company that develops automated sterilization systems to fight bacterial cross-contamination.About the Department of Chemical and Petroleum EngineeringThe Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering serves undergraduate and graduate engineering students, the University and our industry, through education, research, and participation in professional organizations and regional/national initiatives. Our commitment to the future of the chemical process industry drives the development of educational and research programs. The Department has a tradition of excellence in education and research, evidenced by recent national awards including numerous NSF CAREER Awards (including three in Q1 2017), a Beckman Young Investigator Award, an NIH Director's New Innovator Award, and the DOE Hydrogen Program R&D Award, among others. Active areas of research in the Department include Biological and Biomedical Systems; Energy and Sustainability; and Materials Modeling and Design. The faculty has a record of success in obtaining research funding such that the Department ranks within the top 25 U.S. chemical engineering departments for federal R&D spending in recent years with annual research expenditures exceeding $7 million. The vibrant research culture within the Department includes active collaboration with the adjacent University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Center for Simulation and Modeling, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, the Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering and the U.S. DOE-affiliated Institute for Advanced Energy Solutions. ###

Mar
14
2017

Pitt’s Bioengineering and Industrial Engineering programs move up in 2018 U.S. News and World Report Graduate School Rankings

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS

PITTSBURGH (March 14, 2017) … The University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has moved up one slot among engineering programs in the 2018 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools,” which will be available on newsstands April 11. The Swanson School is tied 42nd overall among university engineering programs, and 21st among all Association of American Universities (AAU) members. Two of its programs, bioengineering and industrial engineering, made significant gains over 2017. Bioengineering jumped from 18th in the nation to 12th overall, and remains at 6th among public AAU university programs. Industrial moved from 23rd to 17th overall, and from 13th to 10th among AAU publics. Other department rankings include: Chemical engineering: 33rd overall, 18th among AAU publics Civil engineering: 60th overall, 27th among AAU publics Computer engineering: 43rd overall, 20th among AAU publics Electrical engineering: 55th overall, 26th among AAU publics Materials science: 43rd overall, 22nd among AAU publics Mechanical engineering: 57th overall, 26th among AAU publics Complete rankings and information about the process can be found online in the U.S. News Grad Compass. ###

Mar
13
2017

Pitt Civil Engineering Students Take First and Third Place at Constructors Association of WPa Student Estimating Competition

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH, PA (March 13, 2017) … A team of students from the University of Pittsburgh finished in the top spot at the inaugural Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania (CAWP) Student Estimating Competition. They beat out nine other teams and received a $1,500 award for their victory. The Panther Estimators, led by Civil and Environmental Engineering student Thomas Tresky, won the competition with a total of 208 points, securing a narrow victory over the second place team from the Pennsylvania State University, which scored 207.2 points. Team Abbey, also from the University of Pittsburgh and led by Civil and Environmental Engineering student Jon Abbey, came in third place with a score of 193.5 points. The full team rosters were: Panther Estimators • Thomas Tresky (captain) • Lee Anderson • Matt Lane • Janet D’Anna • Hannah Schell Team Abbey • Jon Abbey (captain) • Katelyn McEneaney • Andrew James • Phillip Paulone • Charles Riddle • Matt Eastburn Five universities participated in the CAWP competition: University of Pittsburgh main campus, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania State University Harrisburg and Carnegie Mellon University. The competition required students to assemble bid packages based on pre-job documents and a pre-bid meeting on a highway construction project. The students had to prepare their bids and schedules by a 6:00 p.m. deadline and then present an explanation of how they arrived at their final bid to judges the next day. Plum Contracting, Inc. provided one of its jobs to serve as the subject of the students’ bids, and Bill Woodford, recently retired chief estimator from Trumbull Corporation, developed the structure of the competition. Representatives from local construction companies served as the judges. Participating companies included: Mosites Construction Company; Swank Construction Company; Michael Facchiano Contracting, Inc.; Plum Contracting, Inc.; The Lane Construction Corporation; Brayman Construction Corporation; and Joseph B. Fay Co. Kurt Karanovich and Brian Westrom, also from Joseph B. Fay Co., mentored the two teams from the University of Pittsburgh main campus. The two-day competition took place at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry Township. On the second day, students also participated in a career fair showcasing the region’s employers and potential job opportunities. The CAWP developed the Student Estimating Competition to encourage students to understand the benefits and opportunities the heavy-highway construction industry has to offer. CAWP, established in 1934, is a non-profit organization that assists workers in the heavy, highway and utility construction industry and improves relationships between contractors, their employees and the general public. ###
Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
9
2017

University of Pittsburgh Wins Prestigious Senator Paul Simon Award for Its International Education Programs

All SSoE News

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh was honored today with a national award recognizing its commitment to international education and the strength of its global programs. It is one of only four institutions nationwide to receive the 2017 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. The awards were given by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Named for the late Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, the award recognizes colleges and universities that are making significant, well-planned, well-executed and well-documented progress toward integrating international education throughout all facets of a university campus. “We truly believe that teaching and learning know no boundaries, and that the University of Pittsburgh’s robust international platform benefits students, faculty members and society at large,” says Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “Our mission—to improve the world through knowledge—is one that we support through a rich catalog of study abroad opportunities, a vibrant community of international scholars and a deep commitment to tackling issues affecting people and communities across the world.” Pitt’s University Center for International Studies (UCIS) is the “nerve center” coordinating the implementation of the University’s global plan. It is home to the Office of International Services, Study Abroad Office, Nationality Rooms Program and six area and thematic studies centers, four of which have been designated National Resource Centers by the U.S. Department of Education. All of the centers—the African Studies Program, Asian Studies Center, Center for Latin American Studies, Center for Russian and East European Studies, European Studies Center and the Global Studies Center—explore those regions through interdisciplinary academic programs and community engagement activities ranging from projects with local businesses to K-16 teacher training workshops, student competitions and art exhibitions. Overall, Pitt’s international education achievements also include the following: • Embracing the World: A Global Plan for Pitt, which serves as a road map for the entire University and coordinates international efforts. It sets up a global ambassadors program, enriches the student experience with cross-cultural programming, provides resources for faculty working on key global issues and much more. • A joint institute, the Sichuan University-Pittsburgh Institute, that allows Chinese students to complete their engineering degree in both Chengdu, China and Pittsburgh. • Pillar agreements for Pitt’s health sciences in Italy, Ireland, China and Kazakhstan for teaching opportunities as well as medical, nursing and pharmacy rotations. • More than 100 research collaborations across Pitt that link faculty with colleagues abroad. These partnerships have advanced research on cybersecurity, sustainability and human rights, among other areas. • A thriving study abroad program, in which more than 1,800 students a year participate. Pitt Study Abroad works with more than 80 faculty members to facilitate close to 100 study abroad programs, including such unique and popular options as the multicountry offering PittMAP, Pitt in the Himalayas, Pitt in Cuba, Pitt in London and Pitt in Florence. • Twenty-five Living Learning Communities structured within student residences, of which more than half are dedicated to global themes or mandate global programming. These students are exposed to programming on regional themes, global issues and language learning. • Attracting close to 6,000 international students, faculty, staff and visiting scholars from more than 100 countries to a world-class institution. • Robust platforms to support global operations including partnerships with international universities and organizations and faculty in-country research and collaborative projects. • Home to three international academic associations with worldwide memberships: the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies; Latin American Studies Association and European Union Studies Association. “Receiving the prestigious Simon Award is a reflection of the priority that Pitt places on educating our students to be global citizens,” says Ariel Armony, senior director of International Programs and director of UCIS. “Internationalization and global engagement are not choices at Pitt. They are imperatives that ensure we participate in a healthy exchange of ideas and values worldwide.” The other institutions receiving the Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization are Florida State University, University of Iowa and Santa Monica College. Institutions selected for the Simon Awards will be featured in NAFSA’s 2017 version of its annual report Internationalizing the Campus: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities to be published later this year and honored at an event in Washington, D.C., during International Education Week in November. To learn more about NAFSA’s Senator Paul Simon Awards, visit www.nafsa.org/SimonAward. ### Photo above: Industrial Engineering undergraduate Veronica Radin visits the Great Wall during the Pitt INNOVATE study abroad experience to China in 2017.
Author: Sharon Blake, Senior News Representative, University Communications
Mar
8
2017

Civil Engineering Alumna Wanda Austin Receives 2017 Swanson School’s Distinguished Alumni Award

Civil & Environmental, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (March 8, 2017) … Collectively they are professors, researchers and authors; inventors, builders and producers; business leaders, entrepreneurs and industry pioneers. The 53rd annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet brought together honorees from each of the Swanson School of Engineering’s six departments and one overall honoree to represent the entire school. The banquet took place at the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Hall, and Gerald D. Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering, presented the awards.The distinguished alumna chosen to represent the Swanson School of Engineering overall in 2017 was Wanda M. Austin, PhD, MSCE ’77, MS Math ’77, retired president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation.“The Swanson School Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes past recipients of the departmental awards who have excelled in their careers, who have been an inspiration to faculty and students at the Swanson School and who through their accomplishments and capacity have had an impact on the next generation of Pitt engineers,” said Dean Holder. “Wanda, for your incredible engineering career, and your dedication, not only to your employees but future engineers and scientists, we are proud to honor you as our 2017 Distinguished Alumna of the Swanson School of Engineering.”About Wanda AustinDr. Wanda M. Austin earned a BS in mathematics from Franklin & Marshall College, MS degrees in systems engineering and mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD in systems engineering from the University of Southern California (USC). She is the former president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to the application of science and technology toward critical issues affecting the nation’s space program. From January 2008 until her retirement in October 2016, Austin managed The Aerospace Corporation’s 3,600 employees and annual revenues of $917 million. She was the sixth president and first female president of the organization and is internationally recognized for her work in satellite and payload system acquisition, systems engineering and system simulation.Austin served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and she was appointed to the Defense Science Board in 2010 and the NASA Advisory Council in 2014. She is an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a Councilor of the National Academy of Engineering and a member of the International Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for USC and the Board of Directors for the Chevron Corporation.Austin is committed to inspiring the next generation to study the STEM disciplines and to make science and engineering preferred career choices. Under her guidance, The Aerospace Corporation undertook a number of initiatives in support of this goal, including participations in MATHCOUNTS, US FIRST Robotics and Change the Equation. She is the author of Making Space: Strategic Leadership for a Complex World, which explores the leadership principles she learned during her decades-long journey as an engineer and executive in the space industry. ###
Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
8
2017

Five Pitt engineering faculty set university and school record by receiving competitive NSF CAREER awards in first months of 2017

Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH (March 8, 2017) … The National Science Foundation CAREER award is the organization’s most coveted and competitive research prize for junior faculty, and in the first few months of 2017, the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has been awarded five CAREER grants totaling more than $2.5 million in research funding. The CAREER program “recognizes faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.” The five awards – three in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, and one each in Civil and Environmental and Electrical and Computer – are the most received by Pitt and Swanson School faculty in a single NSF CAREER funding announcement. The three Chemical and Petroleum Engineering CAREER awards also represent the most received by a single department within the Swanson School. The faculty applied for the awards during the NSF’s 2016 solicitation period.“This is a tremendous accomplishment for our faculty, and will greatly assist them in establishing their research at this early stage of their academic careers,” noted Gerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering and Distinguished Service Professor at Pitt. “This is the first time that five individuals at the Swanson School received CAREER awards in one year, which speaks to the caliber of their research.” David Vorp, the Swanson School’s Associate Dean for Research and John A. Swanson Professor of Bioengineering, added, “Research funding at the federal level grows tighter and more competitive each year, and so we’re very proud that these five outstanding faculty members developed such strong proposals. Most importantly, the CAREER awards include a community engagement component which is critical to inspiring future STEM careers in children and young adults.” The award recipients include: Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering John Keith, Inaugural R.K. Mellon Faculty Fellow in Energy and Assistant Professor ($500,000)Title: SusChEM: Unlocking local solvation environments for energetically efficient hydrogenations with quantum chemistry (#1653392)Summary: This project will address the production of carbon-neutral liquid fuels via electrocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) to methanol.  Its focus will integrate high-level electronic structure theory, molecular dynamics, and machine learning to understand how interactions between solvent molecules, salts, and co-solutes regulate CO2 reduction from greenhouse gas into fuels. The graduate and undergraduate students in Dr. Keith's lab group will also develop educational modules to engage and excite students in the Pittsburgh Public School District about opportunities in STEM fields, with an emphasis on renewable energy and computational chemistry. Giannis (Yanni) Mpourmpakis, Assistant Professor ($500,000)Title: Designing synthesizable, ligand-protected bimetallic nanoparticles and modernizing engineering curriculum through computational nanoscience (#1652694)Summary: Although scientists can chemically synthesize metal nanoparticles (NPs) of different shapes and sizes, understanding of NP growth mechanisms affecting their final morphology and associated properties is limited. With the potential for NPs to impact fields from energy to medicine and the environment, determining with computer simulations the NP growth mechanisms and morphologies that can be synthesized in the lab is critical to advance NP application. Because this is a relatively new field, traditional core courses in science and engineering lack examples from the nanotechnology arena. In addition to improving the research, the award will enable Dr. Mpourmpakis and his lab group to modernize the traditional course of Chemical Thermodynamics by introducing animation material based on cutting-edge nanotechnology examples, and developing a nanoscale-inspired interactive computer game. Christopher Wilmer, Assistant Professor ($500,000)Title: Fundamental limits of physical adsorption in porous materials (#1653375)Summary: The development of new porous materials is critical to improving important gas storage and separations applications, and will have a positive impact on reducing greenhouse gases. This includes the deployment of methane and/or hydrogen gases as alternative fuels, development of new filters for removing trace gaseous contaminants from air, and separation of carbon dioxide from flue gas to mitigate greenhouse emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Dr. Wilmer’s grant will enable his lab to utilize computational methods to probe the limits of material performance for physical adsorption to porous materials. Although past computational screening has suggested physical limits of adsorption capacity for metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), this project will explore the novel use of so-called “pseudomaterials,” which represent all potential atomistic arrangements of matter in a porous material. As part of community outreach, Dr. Wilmer’s research group will develop educational movies on the fundamental science of gas adsorption, including those relevant to carbon capture to mitigate climate change. Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringKyle J. Bibby, Assistant Professor ($500,000)Title: Quantitative viral metagenomics for water quality assessment (#1653356)Summary: U.S. beaches and waterways often are closed to human contact when tests indicate an increase in E. coli, usually after heavy rains overwhelm sewage systems. However, the concentration of these common bacteria is not a reliable indicator of viruses in the water, which present a greater danger of causing illness in humans. Dr. Bibby’s research will focus on developing new DNA sequencing methods to directly measure viral loads in water and better indicate potential threats to human health. Dr. Bibby’s group, which previously studied persistence of the Ebola virus in the environment and has worked to develop novel indicators of viral contamination, will utilize quantitative viral metagenomics for viral water quality assessment. The CAREER Award includes an outreach component that allows Dr. Bibby to engage with students at the Pittsburgh Public School’s Science & Technology Academy (SciTech) next to the Swanson School, leading to development of a hands-on educational module for high school students to characterize microbial water quality. Dr. Bibby will also utilize the research to expand the H2Oh! interactive exhibit he developed with the Carnegie Science Center, enabling children to better understand the impact of water quality on everyday life. Department of Electrical & Computer EngineeringErvin Sejdić, Assistant Professor and 2016 PECASE Recipient ($549,139)Title: Advanced data analytics and high-resolution cervical auscultation can accurately predict dysphagia (#1652203)Summary: Dysphagia, or swallowing disorders, affects nearly one in 25 adults, especially the elderly and those who have suffered a stroke or neurological disease, and results in approximately 150,000 hospitalizations annually. A patient’s risk for dysphagia is diagnosed first by screening, and may require an endoscopy or fluoroscopy for further evaluation. However, some patients who aspirate do so silently, causing doctors to misdiagnose. Dr. Sejdić will utilize high-resolution vibration and sound recordings to develop a new screening technology to help doctors diagnose dysphagia and patients to learn how to properly swallow while eating or drinking. Dr. Sejdić and his lab group will also collaborate with speech language pathologists to develop an online learning module to further education and outreach throughout the U.S. ###

Mar
7
2017

The Swanson School Presents Alumna Vibha Rustagi with 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for Electrical and Computer Engineering

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH (March 7, 2017) … Collectively they are professors, researchers and authors; inventors, builders and producers; business leaders, entrepreneurs and industry pioneers. The 53rd annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet brought together honorees from each of the Swanson School of Engineering’s six departments and one overall honoree to represent the entire school. The banquet took place at the University of Pittsburgh's Alumni Hall, and Gerald D. Holder, US Steel Dean of Engineering, presented the awards. This year’s recipient for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering was Vibha Rustagi, BSEE ’87, CEO of itaas, a Cognizant Company.“Engineers often have the ability to extend their expertise and abilities into other diverse fields, and Vibha is an example of how that translates into innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Dean Holder. “She co-founded her consulting firm, itaas, which was a startup poised for growth in the nascent digital communication industry. Vibha’s success is also reflected in the many patents she has been awarded, as well as recognition throughout our now-ubiquitous digital communications industry, including being named one of the most powerful women in cable, receiving the Vanguard Award from the Internet and TV Expo, the 2015 Women in Technology Award, and induction into the Cable TV Pioneers. About Vibha RustagiVibha Rustagi earned a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from the Mark Robinson School of Business at Georgia State University. Rustagi has been involved in the telecommunications and cable industries for over 20 years and started her career at Scientific-Atlanta, now Cisco, where she was integrally involved in the design and launch of the first digital networks and was awarded seven patents.In 1999, Rustagi co-founded itaas, a consulting firm focusing on the digital video delivery ecosystem where she served as itaas’ CEO and president. Under her leadership, itaas grew from a three-person start-up to a globally successful company, helping cutting-edge technology and telecommunications companies deliver a broad range of services to consumer devices. In 2014, itaas was acquired by Cognizant, one of the world’s leading professional services companies, transforming clients’ business, operating and technology models for the digital era, with over 260,000 employees worldwide.At Cognizant, Rustagi served as the CEO of itaas, a Cognizant Company, and is now the Head of Technology Ventures, Strategic Growth Areas and M&A for Cognizant’s Communications, Media and Technology Practice. Over the years, Rustagi has been honored by the cable industry as one of 12 cable executives in Communications Technology Cable Hall of Fame. At the 2014 National Cable TV Conference, Rustagi was inducted into the Cable TV Pioneers. And, at the 2015 Internet and TV Expo, she was awarded the most prestigious award in the industry – The Vanguard Award for Associates and Affiliates. Later in 2015, she was awarded the 2015 Women in Technology award by Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, Women in Cable Telecommunications and Cablefax. ### Photo above: Dean Holder (left) with Vibha Rustagi and ECE Department Chair Alan George.
Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Mar
7
2017

One Step at a Time: Pitt engineering and medical programs receive NSF award to develop ultrasonic sensors for a hybrid exoskeleton

Bioengineering, MEMS

PITTSBURGH (March 7, 2017) … The promise of exoskeleton technology that would allow individuals with motor impairment to walk has been a challenge for decades. A major difficulty to overcome is that even though a patient is unable to control leg muscles, a powered exoskeleton could still cause muscle fatigue and potential injury. However, an award from the National Science Foundation’s Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) program will enable researchers at the University of Pittsburgh to develop an ultrasound sensor system at the heart of a hybrid exoskeleton that utilizes both electrical nerve stimulation and external motors. Principal investigator of the three year, $400,000 award is Nitin Sharma, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. Co-PI is Kang Kim, associate professor of medicine and bioengineering. The Pitt team is collaborating with researchers led by Siddhartha Sikdar, associate professor of bioengineering and electrical and computer engineering at George Mason University, who also received a $400,000 award for the CPS proposal, “Synergy: Collaborative Research: Closed-loop Hybrid Exoskeleton utilizing Wearable Ultrasound Imaging Sensors for Measuring Fatigue.”This latest funding furthers Dr. Sharma’s development of hybrid exoskeletons that combine functional electrical stimulation (FES), which uses low-level electrical currents to activate leg muscles, with powered exoskeletons, which use electric motors mounted on an external frame to move the wearer’s joints. “One of the most serious impediments to developing a human exoskeleton is determining how a person who has lost gait function knows whether his or her muscles are fatigued. An exoskeleton has no interface with a human neuromuscular system, and the patient doesn’t necessarily know if the leg muscles are tired, and that can lead to injury,” Dr. Sharma explained. “Electromyography (EMG), the current method to measure muscle fatigue, is not reliable because there is a great deal of electrical “cross-talk” between muscles and so differentiating signals in the forearm or thigh is a challenge.” To overcome the low signal-to-noise ratio of traditional EMG, Dr. Sharma partnered with Dr. Kim, whose research in ultrasound focuses on analyzing muscle fatigue. “An exoskeleton biosensor needs to be noninvasive, but systems like EMG aren’t sensitive enough to distinguish signals in complex muscle groups,” Dr. Kim said. “Ultrasound provides image-based, real-time sensing of complex physical phenomena like neuromuscular activity and fatigue. This allows Nitin’s hybrid exoskeleton to switch between joint actuators and FES, depending upon the patient’s muscle fatigue.” In addition to mating Dr. Sharma’s hybrid exoskeleton to Dr. Kim’s ultrasound sensors, the research group will develop computational algorithms for real-time sensing of muscle function and fatigue. Human subjects using a leg-extension machine will enable detailed measurement of strain rates, transition to fatigue, and full fatigue to create a novel muscle-fatigue prediction model. Future phases will allow the Pitt and George Mason researchers to develop a wearable device for patients with motor impairment. “Right now an exoskeleton combined with ultrasound sensors is just a big machine, and you don’t want to weigh down a patient with a backpack of computer systems and batteries,” Dr. Sharma said. “The translational research with George Mason will enable us to integrate a wearable ultrasound sensor with a hybrid exoskeleton, and develop a fully functional system that will aid in rehabilitation and mobility for individuals who have suffered spinal cord injuries or strokes.” ### Photo above: Dr. Kim (left) with Dr. Sharma and a hybrid exoskeleton prototype in the Neuromuscular Control and Robotics Laboratory at the Swanson School of Engineering.

Mar
1
2017

NSF recognizes three Pitt junior chemical engineering faculty with prestigious CAREER awards

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH (March 1, 2017) … For the first time in a funding cycle, three researchers from one University of Pittsburgh department were recognized with the National Science Foundation’s most significant award in support of junior faculty. John Keith, Giannis Mpourmpakis and Christopher Wilmer, all assistant professors of chemical and petroleum engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering received individual NSF CAREER awards, which “recognize faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.” The three professors received $500,000 each in funding for the five-year awards. “Receiving an NSF CAREER Award can be one of the most tremendous highlights for any junior faculty member, but it is a true honor for a university to receive three awards within one department,” noted Steven R. Little, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Department Chair of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. “What’s more, these three researchers are focused on dynamic energy research, and these grants will not only benefit their labs, but also the students they teach and mentor. As an additional component, the grants will enable our students to engage in community outreach and encourage young adults to consider careers in STEM.” The Pitt Chemical and Petroleum Engineering CAREER Awards include: John A. Keith, Assistant Professor and Inaugural R.K. Mellon Faculty Fellow in Energy  SusChEM: Unlocking local solvation environments for energetically efficient hydrogenations with quantum chemistry (#1653392) Summary: This project will address the production of carbon-neutral liquid fuels via electrocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) to methanol.  Its focus will integrate high-level electronic structure theory, molecular dynamics, and machine learning to understand how interactions between solvent molecules, salts, and co-solutes regulate CO2 reduction from greenhouse gas into fuels. Dr. Keith’s graduate and undergraduate students will develop educational modules to engage and excite students in the Pittsburgh Public School District about opportunities in STEM fields, with an emphasis on renewable energy and computational chemistry. Giannis (Yanni) Mpourmpakis, Assistant ProfessorDesigning synthesizable, ligand-protected bimetallic nanoparticles and modernizing engineering curriculum through computational nanoscience (#1652694)Summary: Although scientists can chemically synthesize metal nanoparticles (NPs) of different shapes and sizes, understanding of NP growth mechanisms affecting their final morphology and associated properties is limited. With the potential for NPs to impact fields from energy to medicine and the environment, determining with computer simulations the NP growth mechanisms and morphologies that can be synthesized in the lab is critical to advance NP application. Because this is a relatively new field, traditional core courses in science and engineering lack examples from the nanotechnology arena. In addition to improving the research, the award will enable Dr. Mpourmpakis and his students to modernize the traditional course of Chemical Thermodynamics by introducing animation material based on cutting-edge nanotechnology examples, and developing a nanoscale-inspired interactive computer game. Christopher Wilmer, Assistant Professor Fundamental limits of physical adsorption in porous materials (#1653375) Summary: The development of new porous materials is critical to improving important gas storage and separations applications, and will have a positive impact on reducing greenhouse gases. This includes the deployment of methane and/or hydrogen gases as alternative fuels, development of new filters for removing trace gaseous contaminants from air, and separation of carbon dioxide from flue gas to mitigate greenhouse emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Dr. Wilmer’s grant will enable his lab to utilize computational methods to probe the limits of material performance for physical adsorption to porous materials. Although past computational screening has suggested physical limits of adsorption capacity for metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), this project will explore the novel use of so-called “pseudomaterials,” which represent all potential atomistic arrangements of matter in a porous material. As part of community outreach, Dr. Wilmer’s research group to develop educational movies on the fundamental science of gas adsorption, including those relevant to carbon capture to mitigate climate change. ###

Feb

Feb
27
2017

What's Really in the Water

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (February 27, 2017) … U.S. beaches and waterways are often closed to human contact when tests indicate an increase in E. coli, usually after heavy rains overwhelm sewage systems. However, the concentration of these common bacteria is not a reliable indicator of viruses in the water, which present a greater danger of causing illness in humans. Through a five-year, $500,000 CAREEER Award from the National Science Foundation, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering will be developing new DNA sequencing methods to directly measure viral loads in water and better indicate potential threats to human health. “Quantitative Viral Metagenomics for Water Quality Assessment,” funded through the NSF’s Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems, is being led by Kyle J. Bibby, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Swanson School. The CAREER program is the NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty who exemplify outstanding research, teaching, and their integration. Dr. Bibby’s expertise in genomics tools to study, understand, and solve environmental challenges influenced this latest research, which will capitalize on new genetic sequencing tools used in medicine. “Viruses can persist in water longer than E.coli, and are an important component of disease caused by contaminated water,” Dr. Bibby said. “Although viruses don’t often appear in greater concentrations than bacteria, they still present a danger especially when waterways are contaminated by human waste.” According to Dr. Bibby, conventional methods used to detect viral pathogens in the environment are limited because of viral diversity. However, advances in medicine, specifically in DNA sequencing, have increased the ability to detect even the slightest viral load. Dr. Bibby’s group, which previously studied the persistence of the Ebola virus in the environment and has worked to develop novel indicators of viral contamination, will utilize quantitative viral metagenomics for viral water quality assessment. “There’s actually very little known about viral pathogen diversity and dynamics in wastewater-impacted systems because in the past, viruses were difficult to detect. New DNA sequencing methods and methods to concentrate the virus and analyze the data rapidly and accurately are necessary for this method applicable and economical. In addition, we need to demonstrate the efficiency and accuracy across several sources in the U.S.,” Dr. Bibby said. The CAREER Award includes an outreach component that allows Dr. Bibby to engage with students at the Pittsburgh Public School’s Science & Technology Academy (SciTech) next to the Swanson School, leading to development of a hands-on educational module for high school students to characterize microbial water quality. Dr. Bibby will also utilize the research to expand the H2Oh! interactive exhibit he developed with the Carnegie Science Center, enabling children to better understand the impact of water quality on everyday life. “Applying quantitative viral metagenomics to these DNA/RNA sequencing techniques has the potential to advance water quality monitoring not only in developing countries, but also in U.S. municipal systems that currently rely on fecal indicator bacteria such as E. coli to determine water quality,” Dr. Bibby said. “In the future, viral pathogen detection would be greatly beneficial in many other settings, such as sudden viral outbreaks, food production safety, and viral epidemiology.” ###

Feb
18
2017

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette features Civil Engineering Student-Athlete Zach Smith

Civil & Environmental, Student Profiles

There’s a dreamlike feeling that engulfs Lori Smith every time she and her husband enter Petersen Events Center. As they arrive at their seats, getting there early enough to see the end of Pitt’s pregame warm-up, they look for their son, Zach, a junior guard on the team. Before every game, without fail, he looks up, locks eyes with them and waves. It’s a brief moment, lasting no longer than two seconds, but it reinforces a reality that sometimes seems like anything but — her son is a Division I basketball player. “It’s not surreal once in a while; it’s every time we talk about it,” Lori said. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity he’s been given.” Read the full article by Craig Meyer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Feb
17
2017

Catalytic Conveyor Belt

Chemical & Petroleum

PITTSBURGH (February 17, 2017) … Capitalizing on previous studies in self-powered chemo-mechanical movement, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering and Penn State University’s Department of Chemistry have developed a novel method of transporting particles that utilizes chemical reactions to drive fluid flow within microfluidic devices. Their research, “Harnessing catalytic pumps for directional delivery of microparticles in microchambers,” was published today in the journal Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14384).The computational modeling research was led by Anna C. Balazs, Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt, with post-doctoral associates Oleg E. Shklyaev and Henry Shum. Experiments at Penn State were conducted by Ayusman Sen, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and graduate students S. Das, A. Altemose, I.Ortiz-Rivera and L. Valdez. Their combined theoretical and experimental findings could enable controllable transport of particles and cells, allowing highly sensitive chemical assays to be performed more rapidly and efficiently.“One of the critical challenges in transporting microparticles within devices is delivering the particle to a specific location,” Dr. Balazs explained. “Much like a conveyor belt in a factory, you want to move the particle within a closed system without any modification to its surface or damage to its structure.”Dr. Balazs noted that in addition to successfully delivering the particles, the other challenges the researchers faced were maintaining unidirectional flow from point A to point B within a closed chamber, and ensuring that a critical concentration of these particles could be delivered to sensors, which only operate above a critical threshold. The solution was to generate a gradient of a chemical reagent by introducing the reagent at one end of the chamber, point A. Enzymes on the surface of the chamber consumed the reagent so that it was completely depleted at the point B. Since the presence of the reagent increases the fluid density, a density gradient was established between points A and B, leading to convective flow that transported particles like a conveyor belt. “Previously, to generate spontaneous propulsion of microparticles, one needed to chemically modify the surface of these particles, thus altering their inherent properties,” Dr. Balazs said. “Moreover, modifying the particle’s surface does not necessarily allow you to direct its motion within the chamber. We were able to predicate through our computational models and demonstrate in the experiments performed at Penn State that the flow generated by the catalytic chemical reaction in the chamber could effectively transport particles to a particular sensor, and could permit control over the speed and direction of the particle transport, without having to use an external pump or any modification of the cargo.”“Utilizing catalytic reactions to drive fluids to controllably transport particulates in solution is a relatively new field, even though it’s what our bodies do at any given moment when converting food to fuel. Replicating it within a synthetic system however is very difficult,” Dr. Sen added. “In our lab, we were able to design a “machine” without the need for a mechanical device that could be used many times over simply by adding fuel to the chamber, while allowing the particle to remain a passive participant along for the ride.” ### Image above: Particles transported along a channel by chemically-driven fluid flow. The flow is generated by reagent entering at one end of the channel (A) and reacting at the enzyme covered surface. The cargo is deposited at position B, which can be controlled by varying the reaction rate. (Oleg E. Shklyaev and Henry Shum)

Feb
15
2017

An Impact on Implants

Bioengineering

PITTSBURGH, PA (February 15, 2017) … The National Institutes of Health recently awarded Bryan Brown, assistant professor of bioengineering in the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering, a five-year, $1.54 million R01 grant for his investigation into the immune system response to implanted medical materials.The study, “Assessing the Impact of Macrophage Polarization Upon the Success of Biomaterial Implants,” will build on Brown’s previous studies demonstrating that macrophage M1 and M2 polarization at early time points after the implantation of a biomedical material can predict long-term reactions by the host’s immune system. The information gathered by the study could significantly improve the success of biomaterial implants and minimize the negative response from the patient’s immune system, according to Brown.“Our current tests have shown that the first week of macrophage activity near the host-implant interface can predict the immune system response downstream as far as 90 days,” says Brown. “We have developed methods for modulating macrophage activity, which we will use to understand why and how these early events after implantation serve as a precursor to the lifespan of the implant. Our research is suggesting, contrary to conventional understanding of host-biomaterial interactions, macrophages can be used to encourage positive, long-term outcomes for the implant and the patient.”Macrophages are white blood cells charged with protecting the body from health threats, including foreign bodies like biomaterial implants. When an implant is placed inside the body, the macrophages recognize its presence and can exhibit either a pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory response. Brown and his team have developed methods for observing, measuring and controlling these responses. They will attempt to find optimal designs for biomaterials that not only accommodate the involvement of the immune system but promote positive interaction between the body’s natural defenses and the implanted material. A variety of medical fields rely on the use of biomaterial implants to save and improve the quality of life for patients: orthopedics for joint repair, ophthalmology to restore vision, cardiovascular surgery for heart valve and artery replacement and dentistry for tooth and gum tissue support. Biomaterial implants are also common in the healing of wounds and bone fractures. Brown believes his study will provide researchers with a framework for understanding how the host’s immune system responds to implanted materials and how to use that response to develop more successful procedures for any treatment involving biomaterial implantation. Pamela Moalli, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Pitt and co-director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Female Pelvic Health; and Stephen Badylak, professor in the Department of Surgery and Deputy Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, will join Brown on the study as co-investigators.About Dr. BrownDr. Bryan Brown graduated from Pitt with a BS in mechanical engineering in 2005 and a PhD in bioengineering in 2011. He completed his postdoctoral training in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Clinical Sciences at Cornell University. Brown has a secondary appointment in Pitt’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science and is a member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He is currently a Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Scholar at Magee Women’s Research Institute in Pittsburgh and an adjunct assistant professor of clinical sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.Brown is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Society for Biomaterials, the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) and the American Urogynecologic Society. He received the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Young Investigator Award, the TERMIS Educator Award and the Carnegie Science Award. Brown served as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation and for the Carnegie Science Awards. He is on the editorial board of Cells, Tissues, and Organs and Current Pathobiology Reports.The Brown Laboratory works to couple mechanistic understanding of the host inflammatory response in injury and disease with the development of context-dependent biomaterials for regenerative medicine strategies. With emphasis on clinical applications in which few effective solutions currently exist, the Brown Laboratory focuses on unmet needs in women’s health. Recent areas of significant interest are temporomandibular joint disease and pelvic organ prolapse. The Laboratory has received funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute on Aging, National Institute of General Medical Science, Office of Research on Women’s Health and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation. ###
Author: Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Feb
14
2017

A Better Way to Swallow

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH (February 14, 2017) … Dysphagia, or swallowing disorders, affects nearly one in 25 adults, especially the elderly and those who have suffered a stroke or neurological disease, and results in approximately 150,000 hospitalizations annually. A patient’s risk for dysphagia is first diagnosed by screening, and may require an endoscopy or fluoroscopy for further evaluation. However, some patients who aspirate do so silently, causing doctors to misdiagnose. To develop an improved screening method for dysphagia, the National Science Foundation awarded a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering a CAREER Award through the NSF’s Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems. Ervin Sejdić, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a five-year, $549,139 award to further research using high-resolution vibration and sound recordings that would help doctors diagnose dysphagia and assist patients in improving how to properly swallow while eating or drinking. The CAREER program is the NSF’s most prestigious award for junior faculty who exemplify outstanding research, teaching, and their integration.  Dr. Sejdić, who began this research while a postdoctoral associate at the University of Toronto and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Canada's largest children's rehabilitation hospital, explained that an improved, non-invasive method to detect dysphagia could help to reduce patient risk and hospitalization. “By using modern data analytics we can compare and contrast the sound and vibrations of normal swallowing against patients with dysphagia,” Dr. Sejdić explained. “This allows us to understand how the airway normally protects itself during swallowing to avoid aspiration, and how this is affected during dysphagia, without the need for surgery or intubation.”According to Dr. Sejdić, patients with silent dysphagia may pass a traditional screening, which increases the potential for choking and suffocation. Analyzing the sounds and vibrations from the neck would not only reduce the incidence of silent aspiration, but also the need for conservative recommendations that limit eating and drinking for individuals with neurological disabilities such as multiple sclerosis or ALS. In addition to developing the technology, the award will allow Dr. Sejdić to collaborate with speech language pathologists to develop an online learning module to further education and outreach throughout the U.S. He would also like to utilize the data analysis to design a mobile device that would help patients while eating, but notes that possibility is several years in the future. "Endoscopy and fluoroscopy are still the gold standard for detecting dysphagia,” Dr. Sejdić said. “For now we’re not looking at replacing them but rather enhancing and improving the screening process.” ### About Dr. Sejdić Dr. Sejdić’s research interests include biomedical signal processing, gait analysis, swallowing difficulties, advanced information systems in medicine, rehabilitation engineering, assistive technologies, and anticipatory medical devices. During his undergraduate studies at the University of Western Ontario, Dr. Sejdić specialized in wireless communications, while his PhD project focused on signal processing. These two areas would influence his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering cross-appointed at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, where he focused on rehabilitation engineering and biomedical instrumentation. He was also a research fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School cross-appointed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he focused on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular monitoring of older diabetic adults. Dr. Sejdić has co-authored over 130 publications and is the co-holder of several patents. In 2016, he was one of four Pitt faculty and 105 researchers nationwide to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Feb
6
2017

A Bridge to Breathing

Bioengineering

PITTSBURGH (February 6, 2017) … Acute and chronic lung diseases are the most life-threatening causes of hospitalization and death among young children. This is especially true for children suffering from cystic fibrosis. The path to recovery often leads to a lung transplant, but the wait list for pediatric patients can last for months and require lengthy hospital stays anchored to large mechanical ventilators. To safely bridge the time between diagnosis and transplant while allowing patient mobility, a research team led by the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, working with the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is developing a compact respiratory assist device for children. The Pittsburgh Pediatric Ambulatory Lung (P-PAL) would replace traditional oxygenation methods as a bridge to transplant or recovery in children with lung failure.The proposal, “Ambulatory Assist Lung for Children,” was the recipient of a four-year, $2,357,508 R01 award from the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute. Program Director/Principal Investigator is William J. Federspiel, Professor in the Swanson School’s Department of Bioengineering. Co-PIs are William R. Wagner, Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Professor of Surgery, Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering at Pitt; and Peter D. Wearden, congenital cardiothoracic surgeon and Department Chair, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, Department of Cardiovascular Services at the Nemours Children's Health System, Orlando, Florida.“Standard existing therapy not only restricts children’s mobility in the hospital but can also cause lung damage and/or worsening of the child’s health,” Dr. Federspiel explains. “Our new approach allows the patient’s lungs to rest and heal, and if the child is a candidate for lung transplantation, the mobility afforded by the P-PAL will lead to better post-transplant outcomes.”One of P-PAL’s most innovative features is that it will allow young patients to remain mobile in the hospital while under treatment or awaiting transplant. “Pediatric patients can still be active children, and at young ages you don’t want to restrict them to a hospital bed,” Dr. Wagner said. “The P-PAL is a self-contained, minimally-invasive device that can provide children with mobility even while awaiting a transplant.”Co-investigators on the award include Jonathan D’Cunha, Associate Professor of Surgery in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Pitt, and Greg W. Burgreen, Associate Research Professor at the Mississippi State University Bagley College of Engineering. ### Illustration at top: Patient ambulation with the P-PAL (Randal McKenzie Illustrations)

Feb
6
2017

MEMS Advanced Manufacturing Faculty Position

MEMS, Open Positions

The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) invites applications for a tenure ­track assistant professor or associate professor position in the Advanced Manufacturing area, with a mechanical engineering and/or materials engineering focus. Successful applicants should have the ability to build an externally funded research program, as well as contribute to the teaching mission of the MEMS Department. Applicants should have a PhD or ScD in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering or a related field. Applicants with outstanding track records at the associate professor level are encouraged to apply. We are seeking applicants who have strong interdisciplinary interests and who can collaborate across engineering disciplines. We are particularly interested in candidates with expertise in joining via techniques such as (but not limited to) laser welding, friction stir welding, ultrasonic welding, and diffusion bonding, by considering complex interactions between processing, phase change, induced stress, etc.  Also of great interest is expertise in design-manufacture-assembly of complex multi-material products through integration of process capability/modeling/control, collected metrology data, and as-manufactured materials and structural characteristics. The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science has 28 tenured or tenure-track faculty members who generate over $6 million in annual research expenditures. The Department maintains cutting-edge experimental and computational facilities in its five core research competencies: advanced manufacturing and design; materials for extreme conditions, biomechanics and medical technologies; modeling and simulation; energy system technologies; and quantitative and in situ materials characterization. The successful candidate for this position will benefit from the resources, support, and a multidisciplinary research environment fostered by the University of Pittsburgh’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (http://www.mascarocenter.pitt.edu), Center for Energy (http://www.energy.pitt.edu) and Center for Simulation and Modeling (http://www.sam.pitt.edu), as well as the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (http://www.psc.edu). Qualified applicants should submit their applications electronically to pitt-mems-search@engr.pitt.edu with AM Search as an identifier. The application should include the following materials in pdf form: a curriculum vitae, a statement of research interests together with a listing of teaching interests, and name and contact information of at least three references. Review of applications will begin on February 15, 2017, and continue until the position is filled. Candidates from groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering are strongly encouraged to apply. The candidate should be committed to high-quality teaching for a diverse student body and to assisting our Department in enhancing diversity. The University of Pittsburgh is an EEO/AA/M/F/Vets/Disabled employer.

AM Search
Feb
6
2017

MEMS High Performance Computing Faculty Position

MEMS, Open Positions

The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS) at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professor or associate professor position in High Performance Computing, with a mechanical engineering focus. Successful applicants should have the ability to build an externally funded research program, as well as contribute to the teaching mission of the Mechanical Engineering programs. Applicants should have a PhD or ScD in Mechanical Engineering or a related field. Applicants with outstanding track records at the associate professor level are encouraged to apply. We are seeking applicants who have strong interdisciplinary interests and who can collaborate across disciplines of engineering. We are particularly interested in candidates with expertise in high-fidelity computational modeling, multi-scale/multi-physics simulations, high-order discretization in complex geometry, or experience in incorporating (big) data into computation with broad applications in engineering. The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science has 28 tenured or tenure-track faculty members who generate over $6 million in annual research expenditures.  The National Research Council (NRC) has recently placed Mechanical Engineering at Pitt as top 20 among public universities.  The Department maintains cutting-edge experimental and computational facilities in its five core research competencies: advanced manufacturing and design; materials for extreme conditions, biomechanics and medical technologies; modeling and simulation; energy system technologies; and quantitative and in situ materials characterization. The successful candidate for this position will benefit from the resources, support, and a multidisciplinary research environment fostered by the University of Pittsburgh’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (http://www.mascarocenter.pitt.edu), Center for Energy (http://www.energy.pitt.edu) and Center for Simulation and Modeling (http://www.sam.pitt.edu), as well as the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (http://www.psc.edu). Qualified applicants should submit their applications electronically to pitt-mems-search@engr.pitt.edu with HPC Search as an identifier. The application should include the following materials in pdf form: a curriculum vitae, a statement of research interests together with a listing of teaching interests, and name and contact information of at least three references. Review of applications will begin on February 15, 2017, and continue until the position is filled. Candidates from groups traditionally underrepresented in engineering are strongly encouraged to apply. The candidate should be committed to high-quality teaching for a diverse student body and to assisting our Department in enhancing diversity. The University of Pittsburgh is an EEO/AA/M/F/Vets/Disabled employer.

HPC Search
Feb
2
2017

Life-cycle assessment study provides detailed look at decentralized water systems

Civil & Environmental

PITTSBURGH (February 2, 2017) … The “decentralized” water system at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which treats all non-potable water on site, contributes to the net-zero building’s recognition as one of the greenest buildings in the world. However, research into the efficacy of these systems versus traditional treatment is practically non-existent in the literature. Thanks to a collaboration between Phipps and the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, researchers now have a greater understanding of the life cycle of water reuse systems designed for living buildings, from construction through day-to-day use.“Evaluating the Life Cycle Environmental Benefits and Trade-Offs of Water Reuse Systems f