Weekly Memo

April 15, 2013

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

I've been asked by the leadership of the United Way Campaign to remind all faculty and staff that April is the final month of our campaign efforts. We all have different philanthropic priorities. However, it is possible to direct funds through United Way if you have a particular focus area such as Foodlink or Habitat for Humanity. Giving is not a requirement, but it is significant for our community, and with the recent demise of other economic engines, UR is seen as critical to the campaign. I greatly appreciate your willingness to consider support. To learn more, click here.

I have lots of good news to share. The MonoMano project won an international award last week. MonoMano, you'll recall is the ingenious control device, designed by biomedical engineering students Travis Block, Sara Hutchinson, Dominic Marino, David Narrow, and Martin Szeto, that allows users with only one functioning arm to operate a recumbent tricycle. They received the Student of da Vinci Award last week at a gala event in Dearborn, MI. The da Vinci Awards for Accessibility and Universal Design, sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan chapter, recognize the most innovative adaptive and assistive technologies that enable equal access and opportunity for all people, regardless of ability. This is a well-earned award for a device that can really improve the lives of people in need; congratulations to all involved!

Two of the six University of Rochester teams that have advanced to the finals of the New York Business Plan Competition are also from the Department of Biomedical Engineering. An undergraduate team, TrakOR (W. Spencer Klubben, Ankit Medhekar, Michael Nolan, Sonja Page, Matt Plakosh, and Erin Schnellinger) is competing in the biotech/healthcare category. A graduate team, MedThru ICT (Sarah Catheline, Nirish Kafle, Nick Lewandowski, and Alvin Lomibao) is entered in the information technology/software category. The finals will be in Albany on April 26, where teams will vie for $225,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. This is one of the largest collegiate business competitions in the nation, and we wish both teams all the best.

Bianca Jackson, a postdoctoral research associate in Xi-Cheng Zhang's group at The Institute of Optics, is featured in an online BBC news article for her work in using terahertz imaging to peer beneath the surface of a famous mid-19th century forgery to detect what appears to be a genuine Roman fresco underneath. Jackson announced the findings at an American Chemical Society meeting. Fascinating work, Bianca!

Congratulations to Roger Gans, professor of mechanical engineering, whose textbook, Engineering Dynamics: From the Lagrangian to Simulation, has just been published by Springer. The book connects classical mechanics to the simulation of engineering mechanisms, and includes chapters on such topics as particle mechanics, forces and constraints, mechanisms and robots, and wheeled vehicles. Gans, who is retiring after this semester, thanks in his book "all the students of ME407 at the University of Rochester during the past decade for their tolerance and excellent questions." And thank you, Roger, for all your contributions over the years.

Congratulations also to Christopher Lewis, a PhD student in Chemical Engineering, who has been awarded the James I. Mackenzie Graduate Scholarship through the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Foundation. The award was made for his research in Prof. Mitchell Anthamatten's lab. Chris is studying reversibly associating polymers and their application as shape-memory and self-healing materials. The SPE Foundation provides funding for programs and projects that support the education of plastics and polymers worldwide.

And here's another recent Hajim graduate to add to the list of NSF graduate research fellowship recipients. Sean Rodrigues, '12, of ChemE now attends Georgia Institute of Technology.

The Institute of Optics and the Department of Physics engaged in The Photon Cup, their annual soccer match, on April 5, and I am pleased to see that Optics prevailed. But it wasn’t easy. Down 0-3 midway through the match, the Institute players, who included students and faculty, had to storm back to emerge as 4-3 winners.

Kathleen Perkins, a CEO and advisor to global companies, who has a blended background in technology and business, will be here Friday to discuss the steps technical graduates should consider to start their careers more effectively. The talk, sponsored by our SPIE chapter, is at 1 p.m. in Goergen 109. You can also join her and the Women in Engineering group for a brown bag lunch (bring your own) and discussion at 11:45 a.m. in Goergen 108. All faculty and students are invited. For more information, contact Cristina Canavesi or visit http://blogs.rochester.edu/wie.

I want to thanks the members of the Hajim School Visiting Committee who braved the foul weather to meet with me on Friday to keep abreast of what we're doing, and offer their input. Adam Sadilek gave a great presentation on his Big Data approach to tracking the spread of flu and other diseases,  and Scott Catlin, our new associate vice president for innovation and technology commercialization, shared his preliminary thoughts on where we'd like to head in tech transfer. Thanks to Adam and Scott, and to the Visiting Committee for their feedback and suggestions, which are invariably useful.

As always, keep me updated and have a great week.


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean