Weekly Memo

May 25, 2015

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

    Congratulations to several of our faculty and students:

    Ryan Trombetta, a PhD student in Professor Hani Awad’s lab in Biomedical Engineering, is the winner of the University's first Falling Walls competition, earning a $500 check and an expenses-paid trip to the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin this fall. Ryan's three-minute pitch described how 3D-printed bone grafts containing antibiotics and biofilm dispersal agents could improve and simplify the treatment of osteomyelitis, a bacterial infection associated with bone fractures. Good job, Ryan, and thanks to all 27 young researchers and faculty members whose presentations contributed to a memorable and thought-provoking competition.

     Prof. Riccardo Betti's group at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics will be supported with $1.15 million over the next two years as part of a joint, ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy)-funded project with Sandia National Laboratories. The project will investigate the compression and heating of high energy density, magnetized plasmas at fusion relevant conditions. Read more here.

    Ehsan Hoque, Assistant Professor of Computer Engineering, has received a $375,000 grant from the U.S. Army Research Lab for "Automated Modeling of Deceptive Intent in Computer Mediated Conversations." Ehsan will develop a data-driven probabilistic method that could automatically flag out-of-sync or inconsistent behavior in a conversation. He is particularly excited about the implications of this research in helping people understand when their behavior is out of sync, and the possible applications in social skills training.

  Professors Carlos Stroud and Wayne Knox of The Institute of Optics are among nine 2015/2016 Distinguished Traveling Lecturers  sponsored by the American Physical Society's Division of Laser Science. The lecturers visit academic institutions for two days, giving public and class lectures and meeting informally with students and faculty to convey the excitement of laser science, especially to undergraduates. Carlos and Wayne are certainly well qualified to do so, and will be good ambassadors for The Institute.

     Kyle Fuerschbach, a PhD candidate at the Institute of Optics, received the University's 2014-15 Outstanding Dissertation Award in Engineering and Applied Sciences. Click here to read more about his historic observation that solved an analytic puzzle that had been worked on by leaders in the field for over 100 years.

    The winners and runner-ups in the annual Mark Ain Business Model competition include several Hajim School, TEAM (Technical Entrepreneurship and Management) and CMTI (Center for Medical Technology and Innovation) students.  The MotionCorrect team, awarded first place and a $10,000 cash prize,  includes Junning Chai ’15 (MS in TEAM). The NullSpace team, which took second place and a $2,500 cash prize, was represented by Lucian Copeland ’15 ECE (KEY) and Alexander Matthers ’15 BME. Fuse-UR won the third-place prize of $1,000. The team includes Kierstan Ryan ’15 (MS in CMTI); Megan Stockdill ’15 (MS in CMTI); and Brian Shen ’15 (MS in TEAM) and PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering.

    Lauren Bailey's legacy as an outstanding varsity swimmer and excellent student was further cemented when the Chemical Engineering senior was honored by the Athletic Department as co-winner of the 2015 Merle Spurrier Award.  The award was created to recognize the senior woman who has made the most outstanding contribution to women's sports by demonstrating such qualities as leadership, enthusiasm and service in her years at the University. Well done, Lauren.

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


Robert L. Clark
Professor and Dean