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Professors Friederike Jentoft and Wei Fan of the Chemical Engineering Department collaborated on a team of chemists and chemical engineering researchers that received a $259,528 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its Major Research Instrumentation program to acquire a new, state-of-the-art “powder X-ray diffractometer” (PXRD). The team is led by Kevin Kittilstved, assistant professor of chemistry. The College of Engineering and College of Natural Sciences are also cooperating with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement to contribute another $111,227 toward the purchase of the new apparatus, expected to go into service in early 2018.

New Chemical Engineering Professor Ashish Kulkarni was recently included among the so-called “Talented 12”, an international “dream team” of rising all-stars in chemistry, as chosen by Chemical & Engineering News. Dr. Kulkarni’s baseball-card-style photo on the lively Talented 12 webpage nicknamed him the “Cancer Crusher.” He comes to UMass Amherst after serving as an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an associate bioengineer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Kulkarni’s research efforts have been focused on the development of pioneering, structure-activity, relationship-inspired nanomedicine for cancer therapy. See Kulkarni’s Talented 12 profile

According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst News Office, Dr. Tilman Wolf, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named senior vice provost for academic affairs by acting provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs John McCarthy. The appointment is effective at the beginning of the new academic year. Wolf will assume most of the responsibilities of Betsy Dumont, who has recently taken a position as dean of the School of Natural Sciences at the University of California, Merced.

Alumnus Marc Hildebrant (BSEE, ’71) of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was featured earlier this year in IEEE Spectrum’s "Geek Life," describing his work in restoring old music, particularly that recorded by Thomas Edison. The article, dealing with Hildebrant using digital techniques to restore mechanically recorded music to its full glory, also appeared in the Frebruary 2017 print version of The Music Man. According to the article written by Stephen Cass, most sound-restoration projects focus on the obvious issues, such as scratches or hissing, characteristic of decades-old analog storage media. “But Hildebrant is going deeper and fixing some of the distortions introduced by the original mechanical recording process,” Cass wrote.

Zahra Anwar, who is pursuing a master’s degree in water resources engineering, is profiled on HydroWorld.com, a website created by the Hydro Research Foundation and its Hydro Review, the largest global hydro industry publication on the market. Anwar is studying how to construct ramps that allow catadromous American eels to migrate upstream where streams are dammed or have natural barriers. She hopes to find a job in the hydropower industry when she completes her studies.

This fall, the UMass Amherst College of Engineering welcomes five new faculty members: Ashish Kulkarni – Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering Department; Yeon Sik Noh – Assistant Professor, College of Nursing and Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; Yadi Eslami – Senior Lecturer, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; Jun Yao – Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department; and Chengbo Ai – Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Read more about their backgrounds and accomplishments.

Professor Erin Baker of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and her doctoral student Moijue Kaikai have secured a $160,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to fund a sustainable-energy project carried out collaboratively by UMass Amherst and the Springfield High School of Science and Technology (HSST). The grant will support the establishment of a so-called Learn and Earn Program while generating interest in the renewable energy field. The funded program will not only install a solar panel and wind turbine on the HSST campus but will also create an engineering and sustainability class for 25 high-school students and an eight-week, summertime, paid internship in hands-on clean energy for those students.

The number of persons newly infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the U.S. is about 50,000 each year and has not decreased since the late 1990s. To address this critical problem, the first National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) was developed in 2010, with a goal to reduce incidence by 25 percent by 2015; but, since that goal was never met, it was delayed until 2020. Now Professor Chaitra Gopalappa of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department is receiving a grant of $1,567,348 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to answer several critical questions posed by the NHAS and to develop a new model and methods necessary for analyses of these crucial problems.

Chemically and thermally robust fiber mats, capable of carrying “cargo” such as small molecule compounds, hold tremendous potential for applications in which green materials are imperative, such as wound healing, water remediation, catalysis, and food packaging. The catch is that the manufacturing process for such mats traditionally depends on toxic solvents and/or cytotoxic crosslinking agents. In order to produce environmentally friendly fiber mats, Professors Jessica Schiffman and Sarah Perry of our Chemical Engineering Department have received a three-year, $338,180 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Materials Engineering and Processing Program. See NSF award announcement

Professor Maciej Ciesielski of our Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and his former graduate student Dr. Cunxi Yu – currently a post-doctoral researcher at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland – won the 2017 Hardware Security Contest (HACK@DAC) at the Design Automation Conference, the world’s number one conference in the area of electronic design automation (EDA). The Design Automation Conference was held from June 18 to 22 at the Austin Convention Center in Texas. See conference website

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