December 9-15, 2013


December 09, 2013

Faculty News


Profs. Lorena Barba and Adam Wickenheiser (MAE) have been awarded $10,000 in funding from the GW Office of Teaching & Learning program "Grants for High-Impact Teaching and Learning Practices." Profs. Barba and Wickenheiser will carry out a pilot project aimed at reforming the teaching of computer programming to engineers. The project will produce and evaluate online programming modules in the Matlab and Python languages to supplement two core courses in the MAE curriculum in Spring 2014. SEAS will provide $3,000 in co-funding for the project.


Prof. Michael Plesniak (MAE) published an article titled "Progress in Fluid Dynamics" in the  December 2013 of the AIAA magazine, Aerospace America. The "2013 in Review" issue highlights accomplishments in the field of fluid dynamics over the past year.

Conferences & Presentations:

Prof. Mona Diab (CS) gave a keynote speech titled "Semantic Textual Similarity: Past, Present and Future" at the Joint Symposium on Semantic Processing, held November 20-22 in Trento, Italy.

On December 3, Prof. Greg Shaw (EMSE) gave a lecture and discussion session on the evolution and future of emergency management in the United States to a group of seven Pakistani emergency managers in support of the U.S. State Department International Visitor Leadership Program.  

Prof. Volker Sorger (ECE) organized and chaired a symposium on meta-materials and nano-photonics at the annual international fall conference of the Materials Research Society, held December 1-6 in Boston, MA. He hosted more than 50 contributed papers and 13 invited speakers, with the latter representing the top 1% in the field.

Prof. Lijie Grace Zhang (MAE) and her doctoral students Benjamin Holmes and Nathan Castro gave the following presentations at the 2013 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, held November 15-21 in San Diego, CA:

1. B. Holmes and L.G. Zhang. "Enhanced Human Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cell Functions in 3D Bioprinted Biologically Inspired Osteochondral Construct"

2. N. Castro, C. O’Brien, and L.G. Zhang. "Development of Biomimetic and Bioactive 3D Nanocomposite Scaffolds for Osteochondral Regeneration"

3. M. Wang, M. Keidar, and L.G. Zhang. "Design of Novel Cold Plasma Modified Nanostructured Bone Construct for Improving Osteogenic Differentiation of Bone Marrow Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells"

Prof. Zhang also served as the session organizer for the “Vibration and Acoustics in Biomedical Applications I” session at the conference.

Student News

Eight SEAS undergraduates volunteered their time on Sunday to host a SEAS Undergraduate Research Poster presentation at the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology National Finals, which are being held December 7-10 at GW.  The eight students hosted the presentation twice throughout the morning for the competition finalists, their families, and Siemens organizers and staff. They presented 22 posters that demonstrate the research SEAS undergraduate students have conducted here at GW and at various internships at NASA, NIH, FDA, NIST, and other agencies. Prof. Shahrokh Ahmadi (ECE) worked with the students to organize the presentations.

Five SEAS doctoral students have successfully completed GW's Future Faculty Program. The program is offered to GW's doctoral students every fall through the Office of Teaching and Learning Collaborative. The students are: Liping Ai (ECE), Hatem ElBidweihy (ECE), Jiaoyan "Jenny" Li (MAE), Asha Rani (ECE), and Huachuan Wang (MAE).

Terasa Vassallo, a CEE senior, will receive a scholarship from the Women in Transportation - DC on December 10 and will have the chance to compete for a WTS International scholarship.

Other News

This spring SEAS will offer a new technical elective,  SEAS 6100: Innovation & Technology. This three-credit course is about using creativity, engineering, and business skills to invent the next big thing. The course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students who are majoring in one of the engineering or business disciplines. The course will be offered Thursdays from 3:30 to 6:00 pm during the spring 2014 semester. More details are available @innovationGW or contact Prof. Volker Sorger (ECE).

SSL Certificates through InCommon: In partnership with the Division of IT, SEAS CF offers 2048 bit SSL certificates free of charge to SEAS staff and faculty. For more information, please email

Guest Vignette

This past September, about 90 researchers in climate science and data science descended on Boulder, Colorado, nearly a week after severe flooding had battered the region. Luckily, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), where we held our workshop, was largely unscathed, due to its high perch on the mesa.

This was the third year of the International Workshop on Climate Informatics, whose goal is to bring together researchers in climate science and data science (machine learning, data mining, and statistics) to accelerate discovery in answering pressing questions about climate change. Such questions include the relation of the increased prevalence of extreme weather events to changes in the climate.

Indeed, when we launched the workshop in 2011, and came together for the first time, at the New York Academy of Sciences in lower Manhattan, it was the day before Hurricane Irene was scheduled to make land-fall, which closed the NYC Subway (for the first time in the history of the NYC Subway), put us in the Evacuation Zone, and caused many participants' flights to be cancelled.

The National Science Foundation has now committed to support the workshop through 2016 (with a grant to GW), and we hope research in climate informatics will make a significant positive impact on understanding climate change. (Provided courtesy of Prof. Claire Monteleoni of the Department of Computer Science)

SEAS Events

MAE Seminar: "Design and Manufacturing of Biologically Inspired Robots"
Speaker: Dr. Satyandra K. Gupta, Maryland Robotics Center, University of Maryland, College Park and NSF's Division of Information & Intelligent Systems
Monday, December 9
11:00 am
736 Phillips Hall

SAVE the DATE: 8th Annual SEAS Student Research & Development Showcase
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
12:00 – 3:00 pm (Poster set-up, Judging)
3:00 – 6:00 pm (Opens to the public)
Marvin Center Grand Ballroom
The R&D Showcase is a great opportunity for students to gain exposure for their projects and to network for jobs before graduation! The deadline to apply is December 20, 2013.
First Place = $5,000
Second Place = $4,000
Third Place = $3,000
Best Undergraduate Poster = $2,000
Entrepreneurship Prize = $2,000
Winning mentors will receive $1,000 per poster to be used towards research.

Other Events

Comsol Multiphysics 4.4 Webinar (free)
Thursday, December 12
2:00 pm
Comsol is hosting a free webinar to teach others about its latest software release, COMSOL Multiphysics 4.4. The webinar includes a Q&A session. 

Version 4.4 includes many new features, such as:

  • a new COMSOL desktop interface for Windows with a ribbon design
  • a completely new Multiphysics node in the model tree
  • one-click select
  • auto-complete search to quickly find results variables
  • geometry subsequences for user-defined geometric primitives
  • if/else statements in the model tree for conditional geometry creation
  • the ability to export mesh to NASTRAN file formats
  • time-unit handling in the solvers

Sandia National Laboratories' LDRD Program
Speaker: Dr. Julia Phillips, vice president and CTO, Sandia National Laboratories
Tuesday, December 17
2:00 – 3:00 pm
227 Ross Hall

Dissertation Defenses

Name of Student Defending: Marjan Nabili
Title of Dissertation: "Ultrasound-enhanced Delivery of Antibiotics and Anti-inflammatory Drugs into the Eye"
Advisor: Prof. Vesna Zderic (ECE)
Tuesday, December 10
1:00 - 3:30 pm
640 Phillips Hall