September 6-11, 2011


September 06, 2011

Faculty News


Prof. Kausik Sarkar (MAE), in collaboration with a colleague from Boston University, has received a three-year, $450,000 NSF grant (shared equally between the two universities) to develop a new ultrasound-based molecular imaging of diseases. The project aims to engineer tiny lipid-coated bubbles that are targeted to specific diseases and can be injected into a patient; once injected, the bubbles will attach themselves to the diseased part of the body and show up in the ultrasound image.

On August 16th, Prof. Jason Zara (ECE) was awarded U.S. Patent #7,999,945 "Optical coherence tomography/acoustic radiation force imaging probe."

Books & Papers:

Rachael Jonassen (EMSE adjunct professor) recently published an invited article in a special double issue of Climate Change devoted to recommendations for improving the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) process for the Fifth Assessment Report due in 2014. The title of the article is "Improving conveyance of uncertainties in the findings of the IPCC." The research presented there is based on the recently published LMI-CliCKE tool of all IPCC findings together with uncertainty metrics and other searchable terms. The co-author of the article is Roger Pielke, Jr., who has also posted interesting discussions provoked by the article.

Prof. Chunlei Liang (MAE) has published the following paper with his former colleagues at Stanford University: Chunlei Liang, Andre. S. Chan, and Antony Jameson (2011), "A p-multigrid spectral difference method for incompressible Navier-Stokes equations." Computers and Fluids.

Profs. Julie Ryan and Tom Mazzuchi (EMSE) published the following paper with Ms. Julianna Lopez de la Cruz, a visiting student from Delft University of Technology: J. J. C. H. Ryan, T. A. Mazzuchi, D. J. Ryan, J. Lopez de la Cruz, and R. M. Cooke. "Quantifying information security risks using expert judgment elicitation." Computers and Operations Research, Vol. 39, 2012, pp.774-784. The work was based on Ms. Cruz' master's thesis, which was co-directed by Profs. Ryan and Mazzuchi from GW, Prof. Dan Ryan from National Defense University, and Prof. Roger Cooke from Delft University of Technology. Ms Cruz went on to a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering at Delft University of Technology.

Conferences & Presentations:

Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi (MAE) and his students attended the ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conference & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE 2011), August 28-31, in Washington, DC. Prof. Ben-Tzvi, along with his doctoral student William Rone, presented their paper, "Finite Element Modeling of a Microdroplet Generator with Integrated Sensing," as part of the 2011 ASME/IEEE International Conference on Mechatronic and Embedded Systems and Applications (MESA2011).

Prof. Matthew Kay (ECE) and several of his graduate students attended the 33rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, held August 30-September 3, in Boston. The group presented two peer-reviewed conference papers. Huda Asfour (ECE graduate student) presented her work on signal processing of fluorescence signals: Asfour H, Swift LM, Sarvazyan NA, Doroslovacki M, Kay MW, "Preprocessing of fluoresced transmembrane potential signals for cardiac optical mapping." Wei Wang (ECE and a University of Delaware graduate student) presented his work on hardware-optimized cardiac arrhythmia simulations: Wang W, Huang H, Kay MW, Cavazos J., "GPGPU accelerated cardiac arrhythmia simulations." Profs. Howie Huang (ECE) and John Cavazos (University of Delaware) were Wei's primary research mentors.


The First International Workshop on Climate Informatics took place at the New York Academy of Sciences on August 26th. This inaugural event brought together experts, students, and researchers from the fields of computer science, statistics, and climate science in order to launch the field of climate informatics. The goal of climate informatics is to accelerate discovery in climate science with machine learning. Cutting-edge research on data analysis methodologies from machine learning, data mining, and statistics is poised to facilitate rapid progress in answering pressing questions in climate science. Prof. Claire Monteleoni (CS) co-chaired the event with Gavin Schmidt, who leads the NASA GISS climate modeling team. Sponsors and presenting partners included multiple departments and centers at Columbia University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, The New York Academy of Sciences, NEC Laboratories America, and Yahoo! Labs. For more information, please visit: or

Prof. Lijie Grace Zhang (MAE) has been invited to serve as an honorary editorial board member of the International Journal of Nanomedicine (IJN). As one of the leading journals in the nanomedicine field, IJN has an impact factor of 4.976. The journal publishes research in the application of nanotechnology in diagnostics, therapeutics, and drug delivery systems throughout the biomedical field.

Student News

Students from Prof. Pinhas Ben-Tzvi's Spring 2011 graduate robotics course presented their class project at the Student Mechanism & Robot Design Competition, which was part of the ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conference & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE 2011), held August 28-31, in Washington, DC. Their project, titled RAIL: Robotic Arm for Interactive Learning, was one of 13 finalists selected from among 40 entrants and was awarded 3rd Place in the Robot-Graduate category. Students in the class included: Kenan Cole, Chad Gilman, Hasan Goktas, Samudra Haque, Zhou Ma, Paul Moubarak, Jacalyn Ouellette, William Rone, Sharath Sharathi, Jon Torrey and Edwin Zambrana

Staff News

Lisa Jennings has recently joined the SEAS Office of Undergraduate Student Services, Advising and Records as a professional advisor. She brings with her more than 12 years of specialized experience managing academic advisement and career development programs for students pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines. Through grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Mellon Foundation, Lisa previously advised Honors students and developed retention programs in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences at Howard University. In 2005, she joined the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and as a senior manager served as outreach liaison to the broader STEM community, including stakeholders at the pre-college and collegiate levels, professional engineering societies, educator associations, media groups such as PBS and Universal Studios, and science museums.

Lisa holds a Master of Education in higher education administration from GW's GSEHD. She also holds a Master of Arts in literature from The American University and a Bachelor of Arts from Howard University. Lisa can be reached in 104 Tompkins Hall or at

Kristin Pallister has recently changed positions in the SEAS Office of Undergraduate Student Services, Advising and Records. She previously served as a retention and special programs graduate assistant and now serves as a professional advisor. In her previous position, she revamped the walk-in tutoring program, set a formal academic probation program into motion, and established additional tutoring for students in need of extra math preparation. She also coordinated and assisted with multiple events for undergraduate students, including the Pelton Senior Design Competition, Order of the Engineer, alumni panels, and the R&D Showcase. Kristin looks forward to continuing such efforts and expanding into new arenas as a professional advisor. She also hopes to impart her experience as a successful graduate of SEAS to current undergraduate students.

Kristin received her Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering from SEAS in 2010 and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in the same field. She can be reached in 104 Tompkins Hall or at

Guest Vignette

One of the three research directions in Prof. Lijie Grace Zhang's Bioengineering Lab in Nanomedicine and Tissue Engineering is stem cell engineering. Prof. Zhang and her doctoral students are working to understand how nano and chemical environments control stem cell differentiation, which will be an exciting and significant step toward successfully using stem cells to treat human diseases and thoroughly remold the efficacy of current stem cell therapies.

As promising progenitor cells for tissue/organ regeneration, stem cells have two unique features: (1) stem cells have the self-renewal capability to generate numerous descendant cells identical to the mother cells, and (2) they have the potent ability to differentiate into multiple cell types and tissues in the human body. However, one of the main challenges in current stem cell research is understanding how to selectively differentiate and effectively deliver stem cells into favorable cell types at targeted sites. In one particular project, Prof. Zhang and her students are designing a biomimetic, nanostructured system similar to the natural tissue extracellular matrix to direct human mesenchymal stem cells' behavior. The success of this research will advance their understanding of the stem cell regulating mechanism, which may lead to a fundamental impact on stem cell-based tissue and organ regenerations and the health industry. (Provided courtesy of Prof. Lijie Grace Zhang of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering)

[Correction: Last week's Guest Vignette was incorrectly labeled. The vignette was written by Prof. Julie Ryan of EMSE, not Prof. Royce Francis]

SEAS Events

SAVE THE DATE: "Dare to Dream"
A talk by SEAS alumna Anousheh Ansari
Tuesday, September 27
Time and Location: TBD

MAE Seminar: "Recent Developments in the Viscous Flux Formulations for the High Order Spectral Volume Navier Stokes Solver"
Ravi Kannan, Research Engineer, CFD Research Corporation
Monday, September 12
2:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall

NSF Diversity Seminar: "The Importance of Broadening Participation in Engineering"
Omnia El-Hakim, National Science Foundation
Thursday, September 15
4:30 - 5:30 pm
258 Duques Hall

MAE Seminar: "Novel Computational Methods with Applications in Life Science and Engineering"
Pinhas Bar-Yoseph, Technion-ITT (Israel)
Tuesday, September 20
1:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall

MAE Seminar: "Intelligent Continuum Surgical Slaves"
Nabil Simaan, Vanderbilt University
Monday, September 26
2:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall

MAE Seminar: "A Kalman/Particle Filter-Based Position and Orientation Estimation Method Using a Position Sensor/Inertial Measurement Unit Hybrid System"
William Melek, University of Waterloo (Canada)
Thursday, October 27
2:00 pm
736 Phillips Hall

Dissertation Defenses

Name of Student Defending: Ariel S. Castillo
Title of Dissertation: "Determination of Solar Energy Transition Potential for Department of Defense Facilities and Non-Tactical Vehicles"
Advisor: Jonathan Deason (EMSE)
Tuesday, September 13
10:00 a.m.
1776 G Street, N.W, Conference Room 122

Name of Student Defending: Ahmed Zaid Al-Husain
Title of Dissertation: "Barriers to Knowledge Management in Saudi Arabia With Respect to the Saudi Arabian National Information Technology Plan"
Advisor: Lile Murphree; Co-advisor: Charles Bixler (EMSE)
Thursday, September 22
12:00 noon
1776 G Street, N.W, Conference Room 122