News

UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman Sep 18, 2014
UC Regents approve appointment of Howard Gillman as UC Irvine chancellor

The University of California Board of Regents today (Sept. 18) approved President Janet Napolitano’s selection of Howard Gillman, Ph.D., as the sixth chancellor of UC Irvine.

Gillman, UC Irvine provost and executive vice chancellor for the past year and interim chancellor since July 1, leads a campus with more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,400 staff. Consistently ranked among the nation’s best universities, it is a major intellectual and cultural center that generates an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion in Orange County, and provides medical care as the county’s only academic medical center.

A seasoned university academic leader and accomplished fundraiser, Gillman, 55, is a nationally recognized expert on constitutional studies and judicial politics. He has authored or co-authored seven books and dozens of articles, and has received several awards for teaching.

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St. Margaret's students with UC Irvine engineering professors Sep 17, 2014
St. Margaret’s High School Summer Internship Program Celebrates 10 Years at Samueli School

Seven high school students participated in this year’s St. Margaret’s Episcopal School Summer Internship Program at the Samueli School of Engineering. They presented their research projects to their parents, teachers and the engineering faculty and graduate students who mentored them at a recent event in the Harut Barsamian Colloquia Room, hosted by Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington.

Now in its 10th year, the internship program matches high-potential students with a faculty member and research area based on their interests. Spearheaded by Engineering Leadership Council member Stacey Nicholas, the program aims to inspire enthusiasm for STEM fields with the hope that the high school students will pursue these areas as they move forward in their education and careers.  Washington reports that 85 percent of the U.S. economy is tied to advances in STEM, but only 4 percent of our workforce is in these areas.

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Professor Bill Cooper Sep 15, 2014
Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Names Bill Cooper a Fellow

UC Irvine civil and environmental engineering professor Bill Cooper has been selected by his peers as a Fellow of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP). Cooper served as director of the UCI Urban Water Research Center before taking leave to become director of the National Science Foundation’s Environmental Engineering Program.

“Having been in the field of environmental engineering science since my ‘stint’ in the U.S. Army in the early ‘70s, I am indeed honored by this designation,” says Cooper. “The impact of AEESP is increasing and with sustainability at the heart of many discussions in science and engineering, I see this organization playing a pivotal role in the future.”

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2014 Saudia Arabia International Program Sep 11, 2014
Saudi Arabia International Program Continues to Improve in its Third Year

Saudi Arabia International Program students celebrated the conclusion of the 10-week accelerated session with a spirited Summer Symposium in the Harut Barsamian Colloquia Room. At the event, 13 international engineering students displayed their hard work with posters and oral presentations, while faculty, staff and guests toured the room and voted on their favorite project. 

Now in its third year, the Saudi Arabia International Program is a collaboration between Salman bin Abdulaziz University and the Samueli School of Engineering. Students are matched with engineering faculty whose special expertise aligns with their own interests and career goals. The curriculum encompasses fundamental knowledge and introduces tools and programs required to pursue an advanced career in technical areas related to their specialization.

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Douglas Thorpe ’82, Photo by Steve Zylius Sep 10, 2014
The king of drones
Douglas Thorpe ’82 has spent decades developing unmanned aerial vehicles for all kinds of uses

On an overcast morning in late May 1976, Douglas Thorpe ’82, then a UC Irvine freshman, was on his way to school when a small plane fell out of the sky. The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza crashed in an empty field near campus, killing everyone on board. Thorpe was first on the scene, and what he saw changed his life.

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UCI Distinguished Professor Satya Atluri. Photo by Steve Zylius Sep 10, 2014
UCI Distinguished Professor Satya Atluri Recognized with AIAA Crichlow Trust Prize

The American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) announced in August that UCI Distinguished Professor Satya Atluri has been selected to receive the Walter J. and Angeline H. Crichlow Trust Prize, one of the AIAA’s most prestigious awards. Presented every four years, the prize recognizes an individual for a specific achievement or body of work that has become significant during the immediate past 15 years. The prize carries an honorarium of $100,000.

Atluri has conducted groundbreaking mathematical work, including inventing the so-called “meshless method” that has aided the design of safer materials and structures used in aircraft. Throughout his career, Atluri’s work has encompassed theoretical, applied and computational mechanics of solids and fluids; and structural longevity, failure prevention and health management.

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Peter J. Burke Sep 9, 2014
Awards Recognize Excellence in Teaching, Research and Innovation

Seven Samueli School faculty members earned 2014 recognition awards at last spring’s faculty meeting. Dean Gregory Washington initiated the annual awards to acknowledge the valued contributions of faculty. In this inaugural year, department chairs submitted nominations, and the Dean’s Office selected the honorees. In future years, a special committee will be designated to determine the winners.

The awards were given to one junior, mid-career and senior faculty member in each category of research excellence and teaching innovation, and one professor was selected as the Innovator of the Year. Here are the honorees, excerpted from the nomination forms.

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UC Irvine doctoral student Kristen Goodrich and campus academic sustainability director Abigail Reyes examine a severely eroded and flood-ravaged canyon area in Tijuana, Mexico, as part of UCI’s FloodRISE project. Steve Zylius / UC Irvine Aug 13, 2014
Rising waters

UCI students help coastal communities brace for climate change

UC Irvine undergraduates Tristan Lanza and Enrique Uribe have been catching the bus regularly from campus down to Newport Beach to knock on doors. Lanza, 21, noticed the first time they neared the coast right where flooding would likely begin.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Aug 8, 2014
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Awards Training Grants to UCI

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has awarded the Samueli School’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science two major training grants for students who plan on future careers in the nuclear field. The grants, totaling $600,000 over four years, will fund graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships.

Ahmad Falahatpisheh Aug 7, 2014
UCI Biomedical Engineering Postdoc Receives Prestigious Scholarship from American Heart Association

The American Heart Association (AHA) has awarded UC Irvine postdoctoral scholar Ahmad Falahatpisheh with a two-year ($82,000) scholarship. Falahatpisheh, an expert in computational modeling of the heart, works with Dr. Arash Kheradvar, associate professor of biomedical engineering, in the Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology.

Before heading to Australia, the students visit the Forge Wetland in Irvine. UCI professor Stanley Grant (far left) explains to Lynze Cheung of UCI, Maddy Walzem of UC San Diego and Clint Rosser of UC San Diego (from left) how the field instrument he’s pointing at (an acoustic Doppler velocimeter) measures water flow. Courtesy of Elena Sy Su Jul 29, 2014
Walkabout for water

Twelve UC undergrads go Down Under to study Aussie approaches to drought, conservation and resource management

Bright undergraduates from UC Irvine, UCLA and UC San Diego spent some of this summer Down Under, immersing themselves in drought solutions, wetlands design and related issues – sometimes literally.

“I thought it was ground, and it wasn’t. It was water, it was cold, and it got way deep,” says Clint Rosser, who’ll be a UC San Diego senior this fall, describing how he accidentally plunged waist-deep into a mucky wetland near Melbourne, Australia, in mid-July.

He and 11 others were part of this year’s Undergraduate Partnerships for International Research & Education Program Down Under, funded by the National Science Foundation. While submerged, Rosser asked his fellow student researchers to pass him a bottle so he could collect a water sample for pollutant analysis.

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Sabee Molloi Jul 24, 2014
Academy of Radiology Research honors Sabee Molloi as Distinguished Investigator

Sabee Molloi, professor of radiological sciences at UCI, has been named a Distinguished Investigator of the Academy of Radiology Research. The honor recognizes imaging researchers for their significant contributions in the field of medical imaging. Molloi, who holds joint faculty appointments in biomedical engineering and electrical engineering, focuses on developing novel diagnostic imaging techniques for breast cancer and cardiac disease.

At UCI, his research group has developed a dual-energy mammography technique that takes images of a breast at different energy levels to measure tissue density, which is important because women with dense breast tissue are four to five times more likely to develop tumors. And partnering with Carlos Iribarren, a research scientist from Kaiser Permanente, he is assessing whether breast arterial calcification detected by mammography can be used to gauge cardiovascular disease risk. For this effort, the two have received a $6.8 million grant from the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute to study mammography-identified calcium buildup in breast arteries in more than 5,000 African American, Latino, Asian and white women at three Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Northern California. The researchers will test whether these calcifications correlate with several cardiovascular disease risk factors. A technique to accurately measure breast arterial calcium mass was developed in Molloi’s laboratory.

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illustration by Matt Woodworth Jul 16, 2014
Squid Skin Protein Could Improve Biomedical Technologies, UCI Study Shows

Conductivity could charge up futuristic disease treatments

The common pencil squid (Loliginidae) may hold the key to a new generation of medical technologies that could communicate more directly with the human body. UC Irvine materials science researchers have discovered that reflectin, a protein in the tentacled creature’s skin, can conduct positive electrical charges, or protons, making it a promising material for building biologically inspired devices.

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Dean Gregory Washington, Engineering Mentee Deysi Alvarado, Dean Hal Stern Jul 15, 2014
Mentorship Program Makes a Strong Impression in its First Year

At a spirited June event in the Student Center’s Pacific Ballroom, a group of students from both the Samueli School of Engineering and the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences gathered with their mentors to celebrate a successful end to the two schools’ inaugural Undergraduate Mentorship Program.

Dean Washington with will.i.am Jul 8, 2014
UCI engineering dean attends White House Makers Faire

Event provides inspiration for turning student and community ideas into prototypes

Gregory Washington, dean of UCI’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and a strong advocate for American manufacturing, recently attended the first White House Makers Faire, which spotlighted production innovation at campuses nationwide. UC Irvine showcased its 3-D design and printing capabilities, including the National Center for Rapid Technologies, or Rapid Tech. The nonprofit trains students in 3-D techniques and provides faculty and private businesses with efficiently produced, critically needed product prototypes.

Washington mingled with the host of the “Bill Nye the Science Guy” educational TV show, musical super star will.i.am and other creative minds. What most impressed him were products he saw from schools.

Jul 3, 2014
Research Leads to Novel Inhaler

Asthma sufferers and others with pulmonary disorders are well acquainted with nebulizers. They’re those sometimes bulky gadgets, also known as inhalers, which disperse an aerosol stream of medication directly into the lungs.

Unfortunately, though, most commercial nebulizers are capable only of poly-disbursement, meaning they disperse droplets of varying sizes. That is not efficacious for many pulmonary drugs, which are effective only when droplets are a specific size: 2-6 microns. Adding mesh screens to the commercial inhalers helps create some droplets of desirable size, but the often-viscous medicines can get stuck in the mesh, clogging the devices.

Jul 2, 2014
Butterworth and Beall competitions reward the best in both hardware and software

To the naked eye, this year’s Butterworth Product Development Competition at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences looked much as it always has. All throughout the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) in late May, teams of earnest students, under the watchful eye of their industry, faculty and alumni mentors, gave impassioned presentations about their innovative projects to a panel of distinguished judges, with the results announced at a festive gathering that evening.

But if you’d been to previous installments of the contest, you might have sensed that there were perhaps more snappily dressed students around. Well, there were – roughly twice as many. The 11th annual Butterworth development competition was also the inaugural year for the Beall Student Design Competition.

The Butterworth competition is named for, and generously supported by, Bren School alumnus Paul Butterworth (B.S. ’74, M.S. ’81), chief technical officer of AccessG2 Inc. The Beall competition is made possible by the generosity of the Beall Family Foundation.

Where Butterworth emphasizes software, and requires that at least one team member be from ICS, Beall focuses on hardware, and requires that least one team member be from the Samueli School of Engineering. The two competitions were not only concurrent and complementary, they also overlapped: Several teams entered their projects in both competitions.

There was also more prize money at stake – a total of $30,000 between the Butterworth and Beall contests.

From left: Satya Atluri, Syed Jafar and Matt Law Jun 25, 2014
Three Engineering Faculty -- Satya Atluri, Syed Jafar and Matt Law -- Among Most Highly Cited Researchers

Three Samueli School engineering professors – Satya Atluri, Syed A. Jafar and Matt Law – have been recognized as among the world’s leading scientific minds, according to the 2014 Highly Cited Researchers list published by Thomson Reuters. The list of highly cited scholars includes preeminent researchers in 21 fields of the sciences and social sciences who have demonstrated great influence in their field as measured by citations to their work. This list is based on papers published during the 11-year period 2002-2012. Researchers are selected not only for total citations but also for the number of highly cited papers contributed. When one researcher cites another’s work, he/she is acknowledging the relevance of that work to the current study. Fewer than one-half of one percent of all published researchers are included in the listing.

Satya Atluri, a Distinguished Professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the Center for Aerospace Research and Education, conducts groundbreaking mathematical work, including inventing the so-called “meshless method” that has aided the design of safer materials for aircraft. Throughout his career, his work has encompassed theoretical, applied and computational mechanics of solids and fluids; and structural longevity, failure prevention and health management. Atluri most recently received India’s Padma Bhushan award “for distinguished service of high order in the field of engineering and science.”

Syed Jafar, an associate professor in electrical engineering and computer science, analyzes the capacity of wireless communication networks. In addition to his earlier work on multiple antenna (MIMO) technology and cognitive radio, Jafar is best known for his seminal work on the idea known as interference alignment, in which he shows how a resource such as bandwidth in a network can be shared among competing users in such a manner that each user gets half of the total bandwidth free from interference from others. Jafar and his first year Ph.D. student Viveck Cadambe were among the youngest researchers ever to win the prestigious IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award, and interference alignment has since been recognized as one of the "Top Topics" and as a "Fast Moving Research Front" by Sciencewatch in 2011.

Matt Law, an assistant professor of chemistry who holds a joint appointment in chemical engineering and materials science, develops new nanoscale and Earth-abundant materials for producing electricity and chemical fuels from sunlight. Law’s current research interests include quantum dot solar cells, the physics of metal sulfide semiconductors, and devices that split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Stacey Nicholas with Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington Jun 20, 2014
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UCI receives $9.5 million gift

Donation from Stacey Nicholas’ Opus Foundation will support STEM efforts

Stacey Nicholas’ Opus Foundation has made a $9.5 million gift to The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine. The donation will establish a $2 million endowed deanship; fund student scholarships and graduate fellowships; and support school programs that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics outreach. It will also facilitate an ongoing partnership with St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano.

“I am so happy and so honored to be a part of the engineering school at UCI,” said Nicholas, who established the Opus Foundation to support her interest in the arts and STEM education outreach. “I greatly admire and support Dean [Gregory] Washington’s commitment to outreach, diversity and innovation in STEM education. I am thrilled to be able to make a difference.”

Nicholas is a member of the Samueli School’s Engineering Leadership Council and Diversity Advisory Board, a trustee at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, and a former member of the South Coast Repertory and Pacific Symphony boards. She spearheaded the creation of a summer internship program for high school students at the Samueli School. Nearing its 10-year anniversary this summer, the competitive program places talented high school seniors in engineering labs under the guidance of professors and graduate students for six weeks of intensive, college-level experience.

Ana Papio, Saman Kabiri and Franco De Flaviis Jun 17, 2014
Donation Expands Simulation Opportunity

Design. Test. Adapt. Repeat. For many years, trial and error guided product development. Engineers designed on paper, built a prototype, tested it in the lab, and made changes based on test results. They repeated the process an untold number of times, until the product met specifications. It was costly and time-consuming.

Today, engineers design and test products on their computers with CAD (computer-aided design) and simulation software. And now, thanks to a generous donation from software company ANSYS, Inc., a new generation of UC Irvine students has the opportunity to use the software simulation tools, making them ready and able to compete for jobs after graduation.

ANSYS has donated more than 500 licenses that cover both electrical and mechanical engineering software packages, as well as multi-physics (multidisciplinary) simulations. The donation also includes High Performance Computing (HPC) licenses for cluster computing, so that multiple computers can work together as one supercomputer to solve large-scale problems.

The simulation software predicts how specific devices will react in real-world situations. For example, what happens when you run electromagnetic currents through a printed circuit board? How does the antenna work in the system? What happens when you bend certain materials, drop them, or heat them up?
 
Engineering professor Franco De Flaviis has used the software for years in his research, and has had access to a limited number of licenses to share with his graduate students. He was instrumental in securing the new, much larger donation. “We’re really excited about this partnership with ANSYS,” he says. “Because everybody in industry uses this software, our students will be much more competitive when they graduate.”

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