University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Neil Forbes of the Chemical Engineering Department was interviewed by local public radio station WFCR on December 11 about the delivery and trigger system he has developed to place TRAIL, a cancer-fighting protein, directly into solid tumors and to activate it on cue. Forbes engineered a non-toxic kind of Salmonella bacteria that can use its own self-propulsion system to venture deep into tumors and manufacture the powerful anti-cancer drug.

What would happen if Leonardo da Vinci, the prototype of the Renaissance person, were alive today? He would probably be a cellular engineer. Cellular engineering is the new frontier in applied biology that integrates research across disciplines such as animal science, biology, chemical engineering, chemistry, microbiology, physics, and polymer science. Within the Institute for Cellular Engineering (ICE) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, more than 34 faculty members and 40 graduate students from 11 departments and interdisciplinary graduate programs across campus are busy creating a new breed of Leonardo.

When the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently introduced an innovative concept in which student volunteers teach their peers about technical subjects near and dear to their hearts, nobody knew for sure what the response would be. It’s remarkable, then, that within days after the seven voluntary courses were announced, 58 participants signed up.

Professor Lixin Gao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has just received notice that she will receive the honorary title of Fellow from the IEEE “for contributions to inter-domain internet protocol network routing.” IEEE was originally an acronym for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, but today the organization's scope of interest has expanded into so many related fields that it is simply referred to by the letters I-E-E-E (pronounced Eye-triple-E).

Two new Hluchyj Fellows have been named for the 2009-2010 academic year, and they couldn't present more of a contrast. He (Jack) Ze, an incoming doctoral student in electrical engineering, is from the exotic and historical city of Hangzhou, China, which Marco Polo referred to as "the City of Heaven" during his 13th-century visit there. Meanwhile, doctoral nursing student Shoshana Gladstone comes from the nearby home town of Pelham, Massachusetts, former stomping grounds of Daniel Shay and his anti-establishment rebels in 1786-87.

On Friday, October 2, a group of people involved intimately with the Hluchyj Fellowship program took advantage of the Skinner Hall dedication ceremonies to get together and celebrate the two donors, Dr. Michael Hluchyj ('76 B.S. Electrical Engineering) and Mrs. Theresa Hluchyj (B.S. School of Nursing). The Hluchyjs are supporting annual stipends of $25,000 each for one graduate student in the College of Engineering and one graduate student in the School of Nursing.

The Wiley-Blackwell publishing house has just issued the second edition of the bestselling text book, “Wind Energy Explained: Theory, Design and Application,” by James. F. Manwell and Jon G. McGowan of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department and former MIE Senior Research Fellow Anthony. L. Rogers.

Ana Muriel, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, is the 2009 winner of the Moving Spirit Award, as chosen by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The award was established to recognize outstanding INFORMS volunteers who have been "moving spirits" in their respective forums within the organization.

James MacGregor Smith of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department was part of a research team that just won this year’s “Best Paper Award,” as chosen by the Computational Optimization and Applications (COAP) editorial board from the journal’s previous year’s (2008) articles.

The October 2009 Physics Today cover story looks at the work on superhydrophobic surfaces being done by several researchers in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. As the story notes, “Researchers led by Jonathan Rothstein at the University of Massachusetts Amherst now offer a proof-of-principle demonstration of a new, passive option for reducing drag in a turbulent flow.