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Grosse Serves on Research Team That Receives Armstrong Fund Award

Ian Grosse

Ian Grosse

Ian Grosse, a researcher for the NSF Center for eDesign and a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, is a member on one of the two research teams that recently received awards from UMass Amherst’s Armstrong Fund for Science. The team of Duncan Irschick of the Biology Department, Grosse, and Brian Umberger of the Kinesiology Department is involved in a project called “Creation of a 3D motion freezer to understand human and animal locomotion.” The Armstrong Fund will grant $30,000 to the project over the next two years to encourage transformative research on campus that introduces new ways of thinking about pressing scientific or technical challenges.

The team plans to create a new three-dimensional (3D) “motion freezer” that will allow researchers to construct 3D models of humans and animals in motion. The research will also raise the team’s profile in the field, opening new pathways for further research funding. Irschick and colleagues write that this technique, which builds on recent advances in 4K video technology, “will allow us to study locomotion in a much more comprehensive way than current methods” increasingly used for medical, health, and cosmetic applications.

The Irschick team’s research in the area of 3D modeling of animals has already attracted international media attention. See articles in The Times [U.K.], BBC, Boston Globe, NBC News.

Grosse will work with engineering students to design the structure of the 3D motion freezer, and he will also work with Irschick on development and analysis of the 3D models. Grosse has extensive experience with construction of virtual models due to his work as co-founder of biomesh.org with Dr. Betsy Dumont of the UMass Amherst Biology Department. In addition, Grosse will focus on 3D printing of virtual models, which is also a focus of his laboratory.

In 2012, Grosse was named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). According to ASME, “The Fellows Grade is the highest elected grade of membership within ASME, the attainment of which recognizes exceptional engineering achievements and contributions to the engineering profession.”

The Armstrong Grants are administered by Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Michael Malone in a competitive proposal process. Benefactors John and Elizabeth Armstrong established their Fund for Science in 2006 to identify and support promising research directions that do not yet have enough data available for the principals to apply to standard funding channels.

John Armstrong has said, “Elizabeth and I want to promote major scientific advances in society by supporting researchers with bold vision, documented credentials, and a passion for results.”

In addition to their fund for science, the Armstrongs also created the Armstrong Professional Development Professorship in 2001 with their endowment of $850,000 and a $650,000 matching grant from the University of Massachusetts President’s Distinguished Professorship Initiative. The Armstrongs also partnered with Barry and Afsaneh Siadat to create a professorship in the Department of Chemical Engineering in 2014.  (May 2017)