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.
UMass Amherst Chemical Engineering alumna Dr. Sarena Horava, now employed at Triton Systems of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, was the lead author of an article published in the November 30 issue of the International Journal of Pharmaceutics that describes groundbreaking research leading to the first-ever capsule to treat hemophilia. Horava worked on the historic process during her doctoral studies at the University of Texas Austin Cockrell School of Engineering, where she collaborated with Nicholas A. Peppas, the director of UT Austin’s Institute for Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, and Regenerative Medicine and a Cockrell School professor.
Many important international media sources continue to pick up the story of scientists at UMass Amherst – led by biologist Duncan Irschick and including two mechanical engineering undergraduates – who created the Beastcam Array, a rapid-capture, field-portable, tabletop system for making high-resolution, full-color, 3D models of living organisms.
UMass Chemical Engineering alumna Christine Seymour, the director in Global Regulatory Chemistry and Manufacturing Controls at Pfizer Inc, has been chosen as the president elect of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and will take office in 2018. Dr. Seymour will also serve on the AIChE Board of Directors in 2017.
Assistant Professor Juan Jiménez of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department already has several notable accomplishments to his record since coming to UMass Amherst in the fall of 2015. Earlier this year, the graduate of Michigan State (B.S.) and Princeton (M.S. and Ph.D.) Universities received a 2016 Innovation and Career Development Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society, presented to early career faculty for their accomplishments, significant contributions, and service to the biomedical engineering field.
Assistant Professor Simos Gerasimidis of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is a highly accomplished professional engineer who has worked on such larger-than-life structures as the new Yankee Stadium, the Olympic Stadium and Velodrome for the Athens Olympics of 2004, and major interventions associated with the largest Byzantine monuments in Thessaloniki, Greece – the Rotunda and the Eptapyrgion. This is the kind of rich experience that Gerasimidis brings to UMass.
The UMass News Office reports that Professor Wei Fan of our Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department is a member of the team of chemical engineering researchers that has developed a new environmentally friendly chemical process to make p-xylene, an important ingredient of common plastics. The new method has a 97-percent yield and uses sustainable biomass as the feedstock. P-xylene is currently produced from petroleum. The team also includes UMass ChE doctoral students Hong Je Cho and Vivek Vattipalli.
On the weekend of October 30, an intrepid group of offshore-wind-energy experts took a blustery pilgrimage by sailboat to view the first offshore wind farm ever established in the United States. The five wind turbines, just south of Block Island, make up the 30-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm, built by Deepwater Wind of Providence. The trip – taken by several faculty and alumni of what is now called the University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center (WEC) and their colleagues from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory – proved to be a stormy experience that embodied the very power of the term “offshore wind energy.”
In a continuing pattern of outstanding undergraduate research, two of the six students chosen as Rising Researchers at UMass for the fall of 2016 are engineers. The Rising Researcher program celebrates undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. This semester’s outstanding engineering undergrads named on the biannual list are mechanical engineering major Victor Champagne and physics and chemical engineering major Robert Johnston. Having multiple engineering representatives among the Rising Researchers has become something of a tradition over the past few years.
An Integrated Field Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) will be the first offering in a new global partnership between UMass Amherst and Shorelight Education of Boston that will enable international students to earn a master’s degree at one of the top public research universities in the United States. The joint initiative, called UMass Amherst Global, will launch in the summer of 2017. Read UMass News Office release.