University of Massachusetts Amherst

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UMass alumnus Eric Swanson is among a team of researchers that was awarded the $500,000 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and has also been named by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers as an IEEE Fellow.

UMass alumnus Emmanuel Agu, an associate professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts, is leading a team of researchers to develop a smartphone app that will alert people when they are too inebriated to drive capably and safely. The app judges the level of inebriation by monitoring how unsteadily the user walks, and it can also estimate the blood-alcohol level.

Professor Michael Henson, a faculty member in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the principal investigator for a three-university collaborative project, which involves creating mathematical models of “circadian rhythm” generation to better understand sleep disorders and other diseases triggered by the malfunction of this 24-hour “body clock” in humans. The research is being supported by a very significant, four-year, $1,809,385 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Undergraduates Rune Percy and Alex Smith of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department won one of the eight prizes handed out at the second competition of the 2016-2017 Innovation Challenge series with their successful “Seed Pitch.” Calling their fledgling company ARBioDesign, Percy and Smith are researching and developing a groundbreaking on-line device that can quickly, continuously, and accurately measure key electrolytes such as potassium in dialysis patients without the need for additional blood testing at a lab. More about the Seed Pitch Competition »

Alumnus Christopher Ruf (ECE Ph.D. '87), now a Professor of Atmospheric Science and of Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, is the Principal Investigator of NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), which was launched from an aircraft over the ocean near the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida on December 15. Professor Ruf’s critical position on this historic NASA mission is yet more proof that UMass Amherst is a nationally recognized leader in microwave remote sensing. CYGNSS on nasa.gov »

Professor Symeon Gerasimidis from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been selected by The Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program to travel to Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and collaborate with Professor Anastasios Sextos of that university’s Civil Engineering Department on a variety of challenging projects.

Assistant Professor Marco Duarte of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was the co-winner of the Overview Paper Award, recently given by the Signal Processing Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). View Award Recipients

Chaitra Gopalappa, an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, was invited to make a presentation as a Session Speaker at the National Academy of Sciences’ 15th Japanese American Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium on December 2 to 4 in Irvine, California. “This symposium series is the Academy’s premiere activity for distinguished young scientists,” as National Academy of Sciences (NAS) President Marcia McNutt explained. The title of Gopalappa’s presentation was “Analyses of national and global strategic plans for disease prevention and control.”

 

The metabolic capabilities of microbes might very well offer a sustainable solution for transforming renewable electrical energy into green fuels and other biocommodities, according to an article co-authored by Assistant Professor Caitlyn Butler of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and Professor Derek Lovley of the Microbiology Department.

On December 8, the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department’s 415 Senior Capstone Design course, taught by MIE Professors Frank Sup and Bernd Schliemann, held its fall-semester poster contest, and the three winning teams produced a trio of brilliant and practical inventions aimed at solving significant engineering problems. During the semester their engineering ideas went from the concept stage to the actual fabrication of three ingenious proof-of-concept prototypes, chosen as the top projects: a device to measure the tissue forces acting on an instrument during arthroscopic surgery; a sub-occipital release device for relieving neck tension; and a hands-free foot-pedal mechanism for operating a toilet seat.

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