University of Massachusetts Amherst

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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

An enterprising group of undergraduate researchers, working on cutting-edge projects, will present a joint poster session of their summertime Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) on Friday, August 4, from 10:00 a.m. until noon in the Campus Center Auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. All the posters will be on display for visitors, and the student researchers will be available to explain each project in understandable language for nonscientists. 

Jae-Hwang Lee, the head of the Nano-Engineering Laboratory in the UMass Amherst Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, is a member of a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary team of researchers who co-authored a fundamental materials research article on cold spray additive manufacturing published in the prestigious journal Nature Scientific Report. Cold spray is a materials consolidation process that utilizes micron-sized particles and accelerates them at supersonic velocities through a de Laval rocket nozzle. The impacting particles undergo extreme plastic deformation and then consolidate, thus forming a dense coating with a near net-shaped quality.

Chemical Engineering (ChE) Professor Sarah Perry has transformed her class in microfluidics from the sort of dry theoretical course she took in graduate school into the kind of applied, do-it-yourself experience that every engineer loves. Perry designed her course in “Microfluidics and Microscale Analysis in Materials and Biology CHEM-ENG 590E” to give students industrially and scientifically relevant, hands-on, laboratory projects based on microfluidic technology.

Neural tube defects are among the most common birth defects and affect more than 500,000 infants worldwide each year, resulting in severe health problems, including paralysis of legs, brain damage, and even death. Now Professor Yubing Sun of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a series of engineered tools to enable the investigation of the poorly understood mechanism that causes neural tube defects.

At the 38th annual Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Supermileage Competition on June 8 and 9, the UMass team scored an impressive fourth place out of 20 collegiate teams by hitting 775 miles per gallon on the 9.6-mile course at the Eaton Proving Grounds in Marshall, Michigan. See competition website. Though this fourth-place finish was equal to the best ever done by the UMass Supermileage Vehicle (SMV) in recent years, the effort was marred by a fuel leak that cost our team some crucial miles per gallon.

Professor Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been approved by the university system’s Board of Trustees to receive the Armstrong Professional Development Professorship. The Armstrong Professorship was established in 2001 with an endowment of $850,000 by John and Elizabeth Armstrong of Amherst and a $650,000 matching grant from the University of Massachusetts President’s Distinguished Professorship Initiative. It is awarded for a three-year period “to a faculty member who is at the beginning of his/her career and has demonstrated substantial achievement and great promise in his/her area of teaching and research.”

Group Supervisor Dragana Perkovic-Martin, who earned her Ph.D. from the UMass Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department in 2008, is currently leading DopplerScatt (for Doppler Scatterometer), a NASA Instrument Incubator Project in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) in Pasadena. DopplerScatt was featured in the NASA Earth Science Technology Office's 2016 Annual Report (see Page 3). See NASA press release about DopplerScatt »

Professor Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department recently published an article discussing ways to focus clean energy funding that will produce the greatest energy and environmental benefits within the constraints of a tight federal budget. Baker’s article, posted May 22 on the website of The Conversation, was also picked up by the Albany Times Union, San Francisco Chronicle, Pantagraph.com, and others. The headline of Baker’s article was “With a tight federal budget, here’s where to focus clean energy research funding.” Read Baker’s entire article in The Conversation.

Professor Michael Knodler, the director of UMass Transportation Center in the UMass Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department, is working with a team of  investigators on a groundbreaking research program on unmanned aerial systems, which recently received one of the three Science and Technology Grants issued to campus faculty from the University of Massachusetts President’s Office. The UMass Unmanned Aerial System Research and Education Collaborative (or UMassAir) is being established to study unmanned aerial systems, also known as drones, and advance cutting-edge, interdisciplinary, collaborative research and education. UMassAir received $100,000 in Science and Technology funds. See President’s Office Awards $735,000 in Science and Technology Grants.

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