The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Professor Sanjay Arwade of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is a co-principal investigator on a multi-disciplinary, inter-institutional team of engineers, scientists, and social scientists that last August was awarded a $100,000 NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) Planning Grant to identify with industry partners the key priorities for offshore wind research. As the abstract for the NSF award explains the vast potential for offshore wind energy (OWE), “The U.S. OWE resource is enormous and could provide 10 to 20 times the national need for electricity.”

Inside UMass reports that three members of the College of Engineering faculty have contributed to a seminal white paper issued by the Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Research (POWER-US). The report (“Reaching Convergence in U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Research: A Multidisciplinary Framework for Innovation”) concludes that the U.S. can tap into a vast offshore wind energy resource and better steward its marine environment by organizing large-scale research and fostering public-private partnerships.

See entire report »

Researchers from the UMass College of Engineering and the University of Waterloo in Canada won the outstanding paper award at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on January 15. The winning paper describes their research into virtual-reality headsets to simulate and measure drivers’ hazard-anticipation performance. As the authors say, such research is desirable because virtual headsets are “several orders of magnitude less expensive” than other simulators and “could greatly extend the powers of simulation.

While Professor Christopher Hollot, the longtime department head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, serves as the interim dean in the College of Engineering, Professor Robert W. Jackson is taking over as the interim ECE department head. Among many other honors, Jackson was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2004 “for contributions to the electromagnetic modeling of microwave integrated circuits and packaging.”

Two members of a team that won the UMass Amherst segment of the Hult Prize – the world’s largest student competition and startup platform for social good – are from the College of Engineering. Chemical Engineering undergraduate Kavya Ramachandran and Engineering major Achintya Kumar belong to the Building Better Villages team, which aims to improve the residential foundation for rural communities in India and beyond.

See Hult Prize website on campus »

Chemical Engineering junior Prashasti Rayamajhi was among the 25 campus undergraduates who were selected as 2019 UMass Women into Leadership (UWiL) fellows, chosen from an application pool of more than 100 hopefuls. UWiL is a competitive leadership training and professional development program that prepares students from the UMass flagship university for public leadership after graduation. Rayamajhi was chosen in large part because of her numerous volunteer service activities for UMass and the surrounding community.

A wave of media coverage is only the latest accomplishment in an amazing two years of productivity for research collaborators Qiangfei Xia and Joshua Yang of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department. Media stories by Science & Technology Research News and other outlets topped off a 2018 campaign in which the two ECE professors published eight pioneering articles in major Nature research journals, following a productive 2017 when they published six papers in those journals.

Four engineering and computer science students have conceived a startup company with the goal of circulating life-saving vending machines that can dispense over-the-counter medicine 24 hours a day to anyone with a pressing ailment, such as fever, diarrhea, indigestion, or aches and pains. The team called TransPharm will be competing in at least two entrepreneurship competitions in the coming weeks, and has already been selected as a finalist in one.

The Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department recently held its fall-semester poster contest, and the three winning teams produced a trio of brilliant and practical inventions aimed at solving key engineering problems. The three winning teams conceived an inexpensive and comfortable alternative to ski boots, an assistive steering aid for a physically challenged young boy and his power chair, and a nifty wheelchair brake redesign.

A December 22 article in the Boston Globe reported on Assistant Professor Jungwoo Lee and his colleagues in the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department at UMass Amherst who are developing microenvironments that allow them to study how cancer cells that move around in the human body change from dormant to active, and also what causes or prevents that change. Understanding this process, the researchers say, could lead to new treatments that prevent cancer from metastasizing throughout the body. See News Office release.

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