Weekly Memo

Oct. 15, 2012

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

  We've had some exciting developments in recent days.

  The Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences has been awarded a $1.9 million federal grant to fund the Rochester Regional Optics, Photonics, and Imaging Accelerator (RRPA) program. The program will leverage Rochester's strengths in higher education, workforce training, and technology innovation and incubation to foster the growth of optics, photonics, and imaging companies. The grant, funded through the federal Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, will have multiple payoffs, not only for the University, but the entire region. It will create high-quality, sustainable jobs; develop a skilled advanced manufacturing workforce; encourage development of small businesses; and accelerate technological innovation. Our success in obtaining this grant is due in no small part to the outstanding track record of The Institute of Optics and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, combined with CEIS's ongoing work with New York State companies. Hajim School principal investigators will include: Paul Ballentine, deputy director of CEIS; Jannick Rolland, the Brian J. Thompson Professor of Optical Engineering, and Gary Wicks, professor of optics. Special thanks to Paul, who will coordinate the overall effort; Cindy Gary, assistant dean for grants and contracts in the Hajim School, and all others who worked hard to secure this funding! This is a perfect example of how the University continues to play a vital role in bolstering the Rochester area economy.

    Companies that make medical devices employ lots of engineers who have never been in an operating room or other clinical setting. The Center for Medical Technology and Innovation, launched last week, will help close that gap. This collaboration between the Hajim School and the School of Medicine and Dentistry, with assistance from the Center for Entrepreneurship, will offer a master's degree in medical technology innovation. Students with an engineering background will spend at least two months in a clinical environment, partnering with clinicians, companies, and other institutions to solve real-world engineering problems. Greg Gdowski will be executive director; Amy Lerner, associate professor of biomedical engineering, will be academic director, and Ankur Chandra,  assistant professor of surgery, will be medical director. This is a perfect example of how the proximity of the Hajim School and the Medical Center provides unique opportunities for multidisciplinary learning and research at the University.

    If you'd like to see a fine example of how a research project can be communicated to the general public in a compelling way, check out the video that Youssef Farhat, a graduate student in Biomedical Engineering, has submitted to the Orthopaedic Research Society's "Video Outreach Competition." Youssef is researching ways to prevent scar tissue from affecting tendons when they heal. Winners will be determined by members of the ORS, but Youssef hopes that views and "likes" from members of the Hajim community "might throw some momentum behind my entry." Excellent work, Youssef.

   It's great to see the Optical Society holding its annual meeting in Rochester again, through Thursday, at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. It's an opportunity for members of the Hajim community to check out the exhibits; hear top speakers in such fields as optical design, optics in biology and medicine, and integrated photonics; and network with their peers. It also reminds us of the historic ties between OSA, which was founded in Rochester, and The Institute of Optics. Many of OSA's founding members were part of the advisory committee that led to the Institute's creation in 1929.

    If you've never witnessed the annual pumpkin launch, you really owe it to yourself to drop by the ball fields between Elmwood Avenue and the Staybridge Suites Hotel at 3 p.m. this Friday. Sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the pumpkin launch features teams of high school and university students launching their pumpkins at targets 50 to 300 feet away. It's a fun event, and a great way to help observe Engineering and Applied Sciences Celebration Day. Teams can register by contacting Jennifer Olson.

    Our University chapter of SPIE is sponsoring a talk by Rachel Won, a senior editor from Nature Photonics, on how to prepare a scientific manuscript and get published. The talk is at 3:15 p.m. Friday in Goergen 101; before the talk, faculty and students are welcome to join the University's Women in Engineering group for a brown bag lunch with Won at noon in Goergen 108 to talk about work/life balance and career paths. For more information, contact Cristina Canavesi or visit http://blogs.rochester.edu/wie.

  Last call: Milton Chang, entrepreneur and investor, will be here tomorrow to discuss the subject of his recent book, Toward Entrepreneurship: Establishing a Successful Technology Business. A discussion, networking reception, and book signing will be from 4-6 p.m. in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library, courtesy of the Hajim School, Simon School, and Center for Entrepreneurship. Advance registration is requested either by email or phone (5-9887); copies of Chang's book will be available courtesy of the Hajim School.

   Amid all the hustle and bustle of Meliora Weekend, it was nice to spend the better part of Friday with the Hajim School Visiting Committee, sharing the exciting news I mentioned above, bringing its members up to date on all we've accomplished, and outlining where we still need to make progress. I especially appreciated their feedback on a variety of issues.
    Just as I appreciate yours. Have a great week, and keep me posted!


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean