The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Professor William Curtis Conner of the Chemical Engineering Department, who was chosen as the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Alternative Energy Technology at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, will teach and develop research collaborations there, starting in the spring of 2010 and continuing into 2011. The appointment is the most prestigious and selective of all the Fulbright Fellowships. Conner has over 150 publications, cited more than 2000 times.

A long feature article and related editorial in Business West detailed the collaboration between the new Precision Manufacturing Regional Alliance Project (PMRAP) with two departments at UMass Amherst, including Professor Sundar Krishnamurty and other faculty members in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. The collaboration fosters open dialogue designed to develop ways in which research at UMass Amherst can help area manufacturers create new products, develop more efficient processes, and use lighter, stronger materials.

Talk about precocious! A senior chemical engineering major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a vital cog on a research team working toward the successful treatment of diabetes and other killer diseases. Worcester resident Meenal Datta is performing key experiments on polymer capsules engineered to carry insulin-producing pancreas cells for implanting in type 1 diabetics.

Two leading electronics companies, Intel and Silicon Mechanics, have posted an article for their extensive customer base on the work of recent NSF CAREER award recipient Eric Polizzi of our Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and his use of an Intel® Cluster Ready HPC to speed up his research and boost performance. “Researchers in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, are exploring the computation of large-scale physics and engineering problems in nanosciences,” the article explains.

An article by lead author Daniel Schaubert, the director of the Advanced Sensor and Communications Antennas research center in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, rated third best on the top-ten list of “most read” online articles in the Microwave Journal for 2009. The article – “State-of-the-Art Antenna Technology: The 2008 Antenna Applications Symposium,” written by Schaubert, Jennifer Bernhard, University of Illinois, Robert Mailloux, US Air Force Research Laboratory, and W. Devereux Palmer, US Army Research Office – was the cover story in the January 2009 issue of the journal.

A new scholarship endowment set up by alumnus Robert Hagerty (Industrial Engineering ‘74), the president of the Polycom company of Pleasanton, California, has been set up to support undergraduate students in the College of Engineering who are veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan. The Robert C. Hagerty Scholarship will be awarded annually to students in the college who are veterans of the U.S. military and whose service includes a posting in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department is one of four researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst on the "cutting edge" of global warming science who will be interviewed in an upcoming series on the Research Channel. Baker, Julie Brigham-Grette and Raymond Bradley of the Geosciences Department, and Duncan Irschick of the Biology Department will all be featured in the National Science Foundation-sponsored series, "To What Degree? What Science is Telling Us About Climate Change," which airs on the Research Channel from January 7 through January 23.

David Reckhow, a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, was featured prominently December 8 on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network talking about trace elements of pharmaceuticals such as estrogen, which is increasingly found in fresh water ponds near developed areas. The compounds are believed to be the cause of gender changes found in some of New England’s amphibians and frogs.

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.

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