Research News


Waste Not, Want Not

Dr. Rumana Riffat (Civil & Environmental Engineering): As rising energy costs drive up the cost of wastewater treatment, treatment plants are looking to find new ways to lower the energy use associated with wastewater treatment, and to re-use the by-products of the treated water. One of the people they are consulting is Dr. Rumana Riffat.

The Art of Computing

Dr. Tim Wood (Computer Science): Dr. Tim Wood helps create the infrastructure inside computers that is necessary to help run the “big data,” or data-intensive, operations that we all hear so much about these days. He is finding ways to make that infrastructure more reliable, more efficient, and more secure.

A Fresh Perspective

Dr. Tian Lan (Electrical & Computer Engineering): Optimization research normally aims to improve the performance of computing systems—for example, making data transfer on a smart phone faster—but Dr. Tian Lan is applying optimization techniques to cyber security problems. And that, he says, is a new perspective.

A Systems Approach

Dr. Ekundayo Shittu (Engineering Management & Systems Engineering): Dr. Ekundayo Shittu studies the economics of global climate change and how public policy should be structured in response to global climate change concerns.

Manifold Tasks

Dr. Taeyoung Lee (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering): Dr. Taeyoung Lee conducts research in dynamics and controls. One of his current research projects—transporting a payload by several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)—has both military and commercial applications.

No Small Task

Dr. Zhenyu Li (Biomedical Engineering): Dr. Zhenyu Li works with colleagues and students to develop “lab-on-a-chip” technologies that will give patients access to portable medical diagnostic devices for more timely, personalized healthcare.

Get Smart

Dr. Adam Wickenheiser (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering): Dr. Adam Wickenheiser uses smart materials to develop sensors and actuators for bird-scale aircraft, which are one- to two-foot, unmanned aircraft that may one day be used for monitoring or surveillance missions close to the ground or within cities.

So Much Potential

Dr. Lijie “Grace” Zhang (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering): Dr. Lijie “Grace” Zhang and her research partners work to find the optimum conditions to develop stem cells for tissue regeneration—that is, they want to be able to better control the stem cell behavior so that it will change to the specific tissues they are trying to regenerate.

Making Predictions

Dr. Tianshu Li (Civil & Environmental Engineering): As engineering moves further into nanoscale technologies, computational materials scientists like Dr. Tianshu Li are playing an increasingly important role in the materials science field, a field once dominated by experimentalists.

The Bridge

Dr. Joseph Barbera (Engineering Management & Systems Engineering): He‘s a doctor—an emergency physician, actually—who is on the engineering faculty . . . and he sees his job as building bridges, but not the concrete or steel variety. Dr. Joseph Barbera sees management science as the bridge that can connect colleagues across disciplines that otherwise do not often communicate or coordinate with each other.

A Quick Start

Dr. Philippe Bardet (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering): Dr. Philippe Bardet and his SEAS colleagues, Drs. Elias Balaras and Majid Manzari, have an $860,000 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant to devise a model to simulate the impact of earthquake-induced fuel rod vibrations inside a nuclear reactor. By developing better predictive tools, they hope to better refine the safety limits of particular reactors.