2014 News

Professors Abraham Lee (left) and Ian Papautsky at kick-off meeting for CADMIM Apr 10, 2014
New NSF Center Leverages Industry Partnerships to Improve Microfluidic Devices

Thirteen industry partners gathered today at UC Irvine’s Samueli School of Engineering for the inaugural meeting of a newly established National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC). The Center for Advanced Design and Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics (CADMIM) will develop design tools and manufacturing technologies for integrated microfluidics, also known as labs-on-a-chip. These tiny devices can be used for cost-effective, quick and easy diagnosis of problems in the environment, agriculture and human health.  

The mission of the center is to advance research and education on the science, engineering and applications of integrated microfluidic design and expandable production through dedicated ongoing industrial partnerships.

read more

This project is designed to help patients with Parkinson's Disease Mar 31, 2014
97 Senior Projects Displayed at Winter Design Review

Engineering students proudly showed off their senior design projects at the 2014 Winter Design Review in mid-March. More than 500 students were involved in 97 projects.

The students had been working on their projects for two quarters, and the Winter Design Review provided an opportunity for them to present their ideas to industry reviewers, as well as display and demonstrate the projects to a wider audience. About 45 industry representatives were on hand to review and give student teams feedback on their innovative ideas. Sixteen teams were selected for Dean’s Choice Awards (see below).

read more

Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, talks about "The California Opportunity." Mar 25, 2014
Symposium Gathers Leaders in Fuel Cell Technology

The National Fuel Cell Symposium in late February offered a meeting of the minds for researchers, policymakers and industry representatives – all important stakeholders -- in fuel cell technology.

“Finding cleaner, better, more effective ways to power ourselves around, and power the things we use every day is one of the most important challenges we face in the world today,” said UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake.

Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) at UCI’s Samueli School, the symposium at the Beckman Center was attended by nearly 300 people. The day’s speakers expressed their excitement that the future had arrived for fuel cells.

read more

Professor James Earthman demonstrating how titanium clubs can cause golf course fires Mar 19, 2014
Titanium Clubs Can Cause Golf Course Fires, UCI Study Finds

Sparks fly when head hits rocks in the rough, potentially igniting brush

Titanium alloy golf clubs can cause dangerous wildfires, according to UC Irvine scientists. When a club coated with the lightweight metal is swung and strikes a rock, it creates sparks that can heat to more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit for long enough to ignite dry foliage, according to findings published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Fire and Materials. Orange County, Calif., fire investigators asked UC Irvine to determine whether such clubs could have caused blazes at Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine and Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo a few years ago.

“One fire almost reached homes before they stopped it. This unintended hazard could potentially lead to someone’s death,” said Samueli School chemical engineering & materials science professor James Earthman, lead author on the paper. “A very real danger exists, particularly in the Southwest, as long as certain golf clubs remain in use.” He suspected that the titanium heads on some clubs designed for use in “the rough” – natural areas off irrigated fairways – could be to blame for the fires.

read more


          
Assistant Professor Kristen Davis judges the water filtration competition Mar 14, 2014
Samueli School Celebrates E-Week

Nearly 900 engineering students participated in E-Week 2014, organized by the Samueli School’s Engineering Student Council (ESC).  This year’s theme was “The Art of Engineering,” and all students who checked in received a Samueli School t-shirt. The celebration featured the Dean’s Pancake Breakfast, an Awards Banquet, 10 competitions, a BBQ and the annual softball game, pitting students against faculty. Students broke the professors’ long-running winning streak with a tie game. 

E-Week is an annual event aimed at increasing public awareness and appreciation for the engineering profession. Established in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, the weeklong celebration provides an avenue for students to demonstrate inventiveness and imagination through a variety of events.

read more

Payam Heydari (center) with officers of the Orange County Engineering Council Mar 13, 2014
OC Engineering Council Names Payam Heydari a Distinguished Educator

The Orange County Engineering Council honored Payam Heydari with a Distinguished Engineering Educator Award at its National Engineering Week awards banquet in February.

Mar 5, 2014
Thomas Yuen ’74 earns UCI Alumni Association’s Extraordinarius award

Thomas Yuen, entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader, will receive UC Irvine’s Extraordinarius award May 15 at the 44th annual Lauds & Laurels ceremony, sponsored by the UCI Alumni Association.

From left: Engineering graduate students Jolie McLane, Eugene Lee and Sophia Lin Feb 24, 2014
A Hundred Tiny Hands Hopes to Inspire Young Scientists

Michelle Khine is known for her playful approach to science. She used a toy – Shrinky Dinks – to invent a method of quickly and cheaply developing custom microfluidic chips for researchers to use in their labs.

Chang Liu's research featured in Nature Chemical Biology Feb 21, 2014
Biomedical Engineer Designs a Living Cell with Second DNA Replication System

UC Irvine’s Chang Liu has created an engineered living cell with a second DNA replication system that mutates independently of and without harming the cell’s original genome. This parallel replication cell works like a two-lane highway -- with a fast lane and a slow lane -- for direct evolution in a lab setting.  With it, biomedical engineers will be able to rapidly evolve a huge array of biomolecules with custom desired functions. Liu and his research group published their work in the March issue of Nature Chemical Biology.

“Using the evolutionary process in a bioengineering lab is historically a very inefficient endeavor because you have to constantly move DNA into and out of cells,” explains Liu, an assistant professor in biomedical engineering. “This is because high mutation rates, necessary to create enough diversity to find new function on laboratory timescales, are only available in a test tube. High mutation rates are not available inside cells. In fact, organismal mutation rates must be kept extremely low because modern organisms have large complex genomes that are easily broken by high mutation rates.”

The parallel replication system designed by Liu can be made highly error-prone without hurting the genome, and any gene encoded on the new system will undergo rapid evolution. “Genes of interest placed in the fast lane can potentially evolve thousands to millions of times faster than they would if they were encoded in the genome, or the slow lane,” says Liu.

Anima Anandkumar Feb 18, 2014
Anandkumar Receives ‘Early-Career’ Sloan Research Fellowship for her Work in Machine Learning

Anima Anandkumar, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has been awarded a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship for her work at the interface of theory and practice of large-scale machine learning and high-dimensional statistics. Bestowed annually since 1955 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the two-year fellowships go to 126 early-career scientists and scholars in the U.S. and Canada whose achievements and potential identify them as the next generation of scientific leaders. Fellows – who are nominated by their peers – receive $50,000 to further their work. “It’s a great honor to join the prestigious ranks of Sloan Fellows,” Anandkumar says. “The support from the Sloan Foundation will enable me to continue my research on large-scale machine learning.”


Her work, broadly speaking, involves building intelligent computers that can learn from the world around them, said her colleague Padhraic Smyth, a professor of computer science and statistics in the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences. “This field is very hot right now, both in academic research and in the commercial world,” he said. “Companies such as Google and Microsoft and many others are using machine learning to develop self-driving cars, intelligent speech recognition, smart cameras, search engines that can better understand what you type, and more.” Machine learning also is helping biologists better understand cancer data and climate scientists to interpret patterns in vast quantities of climate data, said Smyth.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman Feb 14, 2014
Department of Energy Makes Solar Decathlon Official at UCI

On a clear and appropriately sunny Southern California day, the Calit2 courtyard yesterday provided a picturesque setting for a formal announcement that many at UC Irvine had been anticipating eagerly.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman Feb 13, 2014
UC Irvine to lead “Team Orange” at Solar Decathlon 2015

Deputy Energy Secretary announces contestants, decathlon site in campus visit

UC Irvine and three fellow Orange County campuses will compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2015, the international student competition to design and build the best solar-powered home. Chapman University, Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College will join UC Irvine as “Team Orange” to create a residence that reflects the traits of the drought-resistant, sun-loving California poppy.

“I’m thrilled that Team Orange has been selected to compete in this world-class event,” said Gregory Washington, dean of UC Irvine’s Samueli School of Engineering, who will lead the effort. His research specialty is “smart” materials that harvest energy. “We and our partners will show California and the nation that our campuses and Orange County lead the way on innovative, affordable solar power and other clean energy advances. The home team can definitely win.”

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman will visit UC Irvine today to announce the 20 teams selected to compete in Solar Decathlon 2015, which will be held at the Orange County Great Park. (The event will be live streamed at www.energy.gov/live.) Teams, from colleges and universities across the country and around the world, will now begin the nearly two-year process of building solar-powered houses that are affordable, innovative and highly energy-efficient.

“As President Obama made clear in the State of the Union address, we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy that creates a safer and more sustainable planet, while ensuring American students and workers have the skills they need for the challenging jobs of today and tomorrow,” Poneman said. “The Solar Decathlon provides the next generation of America’s architects, engineers and entrepreneurs with the real-world experience and training they need to strengthen U.S. innovation and support new, clean sources of energy.”

Dr. Arash Kheradvar holds a model of a heart valve used in his research to advance cardiovascular science. Feb 7, 2014
The Children’s Heart Foundation and American Heart Association Sponsor Two Cardiovascular Science Projects in Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Arash Kheradvar, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, has received two prestigious grants to advance research and development in cardiovascular science.

The Children’s Heart Foundation has awarded Kheradvar $200,000 over two years to support a hybrid tissue-engineered heart valve. Kheradvar and his research team are developing a patient-specific heart valve prosthesis with self-regenerating capacity. “This approach to engineering heart valves holds promise for combining the mechanical valves’ long-term durability advantages with biological valves’ self-regenerating capacity and improved biocompatibility and hemodynamics,” explains Kheradvar, a Fellow of the American Heart Association.

Kheradvar has also received a Grant-in-Aid from the American Heart Association to study patients with right-sided heart failure, using UC Irvine’s state-of-the-art 4-D-flow echocardiography technology. Despite the fact that right-sided heart failure may carry a worse prognosis than left-sided heart failure, almost no quantitative information is available on flow patterns inside the right ventricle. The main reasons for this lack of knowledge are the highly 3-D flow within the right side of the heart, and the inability of current imaging modalities to quantitatively map such 3-D blood flow patterns.

“This study should help us better understand the blood flow features in failing right hearts and devise more efficient therapies for these patients,” says Kheradvar.

From left: Gregory Washington, Said Elghobashi, Derek Dunn-Rankin Feb 6, 2014
Said Elghobashi Elected to National Academy of Engineering

The celebratory events started early as colleagues gathered to congratulate Said Elghobashi on his election to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Elghobashi is one of 67 new U.S. members and 11 new foreign associates announced today by the academy.

A professor in the Samueli School’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), Elghobashi has spent his career at UC Irvine. His research over the decades has involved challenging and important areas of fluid dynamics: turbulent flows, multiphase flows, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). His leadership in each of these areas has been well recognized, and his early works have impacted the standard commercial CFD computer codes in the field. His more recent works are setting future trends.

“It’s a good feeling to know that your peers have read your work and then voted to bestow this honor,” says Elghobashi.  “I woke up this morning to about 50 emails from around the world.”

UCI Chancellor Michael Drake, Provost Howard Gillman and Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington were on hand at a morning event to recognize Elghobashi. The chancellor noted that this was a great and much deserved honor. “Very few people rise to the top of this list. The nomination is extraordinarily competitive,” he said. “Then to get through the ballot takes the acknowledgement from peers that your work is truly invaluable.”

“What I’m most proud of with this recognition is that Said is organic to UCI,” said Washington. “He exemplifies what this university is all about. He took a chance when coming here 35 years ago, and he is as much responsible for its success as any senior administrator.”

Michelle Digman angles a laser beam into a special microscope to excite the flourescent molecules in tissue Jan 31, 2014
Biomedical Engineer Receives Grant from Allergan

Allergan has awarded Michelle Digman a $787,000 grant to study how a subunit of botulinum neuro-toxin affects cells and tissue on a molecular level. An assistant professor of biomedical engineering, Digman’s research expertise involves using optical microscopy tools to track molecules and microscopic particles in living cells and tissues. She is a co-investigator of UC Irvine’s Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics, an NIH Biotechnology Resource for the development of fluorescence microscopy.

With this grant, she will be using fluorescent imaging to track the transport and diffusion of the toxin in living cells, to better understand any biochemical and physiological changes that occur. She will also study metabolic changes in tissue at the point of injection.

“Botulinum neuro-toxin is used in a variety of clinical treatments including neuromuscular diseases, epilepsy and pain-related illnesses,” says Digman. “This study is important on a clinical level and will provide valuable information in the development of future therapies for pain-related disorders.”

From lef: Payam Heydari, Hamid Jafarkhani, Syed Jafar Jan 30, 2014
Samueli School Engineers Named IEEE Distinguished Lecturers

The IEEE has selected two Samueli School professors to serve as 2014-2015 Distinguished Lecturers: Professor Payam Heydari for its Solid-State Circuits Society and Chancellor’s Professor Hamid Jafarkhani for its Communications Society.

IEEE Distinguished Lecturers are engineering professionals who lead their fields in new technical developments that shape the global community. They serve two-year terms and deliver lectures at chapter meetings and regional seminars around the world.

Heydari’s research expertise involves the design and analysis of novel terahertz, millimeter-wave and radio-frequency integrated circuits. His group at the Nanoscale Communication Integrated Circuits Labs recently showcased the world’s highest frequency wireless transceiver, operating at a record breaking 210 GHz in complementary metal oxide semiconductor process, at the 2013 International Solid-State Circuits Conference and is slated to present the world’s highest frequency synthesizer at 300 GHz at next year’s conference. “I am honored and privileged to be recognized as part of this selected group of scientists/researchers within the IEEE society,” says Heydari.

Jafarkhani’s expertise is in distributed beam-forming in wireless relay-interference networks, cooperative communications, limited feedback beam-forming in MIMO, and distributed space-time coding.

Another Samueli School electrical engineer, Professor Syed Jafar is in the midst of a two-year term as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Communications Society. “These lectures have been rewarding, as the audience tends to have broader interests than those of a typical technical conference audience,” says Jafar, who has shared his expertise in interference alignment and index coding with IEEE chapters in Cleveland, Columbus, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Iowa.

Hamid Jafarkhani (right) receives IEEE Sumner Award Jan 27, 2014
Engineering Professor Receives the IEEE Sumner Award

The IEEE presented UC Irvine Chancellor’s Professor Hamid Jafarkhani with the 2013 Eric E. Sumner Award at its Global Communications Conference in Atlanta in December. Jafarkhani is a co-recipient of the award, which recognizes researchers’ outstanding contributions to communications technology.

“It is an honor to receive such a prestigious award,” says Jafarkhani, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of the Center for Pervasive Communications and Computing.

The collective work of Jafarkhani and two colleagues has helped the wireless communications industry improve quality of service and increase network capacity and has been a key enabler for fourth generation OFDM/MIMO systems. The trio’s research has greatly influenced the standardization, commercialization and advancement of space-time codes. In particular the award citation called out Jafarkhani’s contributions to “block signaling for multiple antennas.”

L-R:  Robert Regue, Anna Papio, Jaime Duarte, and Yue Yu. Jan 23, 2014
Engineering Students Test their App in Local Art Center

“In the museum world, we are always looking for ways to deepen visitor’s engagement with art,” explains Kate Hoffman, executive director of the Huntington Beach Art Center (HBAC). So when a group of graduate students from the engineering and computer science departments approached her with an idea for using technology to enhance visitors’ experience, she loved it.

The students tested their idea – a mobile application called Kaleri – at the HBAC in early December. Kaleri (which stems from the Greek word for gallery) does two things. First it provides a technologically savvy way for users to delve into a piece of artwork. Using innovative indoor positioning technology, the application recognizes the art that is closest to the visitor and displays it on a mobile device. Visitors can interact with a given piece of art by rating, bookmarking, using social networks to share with their friends, and storing this interaction for future retrieval. The second objective of Kaleri is to understand visitors’ behaviors – common routes, most viewed items, time spent at each artwork, comments posted, and returning visitor information – to help museums provide more engaging experiences. During the pilot test, 40 people used Kaleri to explore HBAC’s sculpture-based exhibit of contemporary art: Reverberation.

“This was an opportunity for our visitors to instantly learn more about a piece,” says Hoffman. “We are a city owned and operated institution with a limited budget. We aren’t able to offer audio tours. This was a way to access information through a type of technology that many people are familiar with and that generates excitement.”

Archives:
2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002