ChEMS News

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.

The NRC is committed to increasing the capability of U.S. universities and colleges to educate and train a new workforce that can conduct research and development in the field of energy demand and safe and efficient nuclear energy.

“This is a great opportunity for UCI engineering students interested in nuclear energy,” says Mikael Nilsson, an assistant professor and the principal investigator (PI) for the grants. “It builds on our existing research programs and offers students enhanced career options.”

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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.

 

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.

Air Force Office of Scientific Research Jun 6, 2014
Air Force Selects Two UCI Engineers as Young Investigators

Alon Gorodetsky and Allon Hochbaum have been awarded Young Investigator Research Program grants from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Both are assistant professors in the Samueli School’s Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Department.

The Air Force gives young investigator awards to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the U.S. who show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research. The program’s objective is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.

Gorodetsky and his research group are currently exploring the electrical properties of reflectin, a protein found in the skin cells of cephalopods, or squid. The goal of this project is to use protein engineering principles to understand and enhance the conductive properties of this material.

Through funding of this award, Hochbaum is investigating electrically conductive materials inspired by bacterial fibers. In addition to studying their function in organisms, the Hochbaum lab is characterizing their physical properties and integrating them into devices for applications in medical sensors and renewable energy technology.

National Science Foundation May 2, 2014
Seven Engineering Grad Students Earn NSF Research Fellowships

The National Science Foundation has granted seven UC Irvine engineering graduate students a research fellowship. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. 

"The School of Engineering is thrilled that such dedicated and talented students have chosen UCI for their graduate work - these awards recognize years of consistent and exceptional effort,” says Lee Swindlehurst, associate dean for research and graduate studies. “The number of awards the school received this year is a strong indicator of both the quality of our graduate student body and the hard work of our faculty in focused recruiting of top-tier domestic students."

Across campus, 37 students won fellowships this year, putting UCI ninth in the nation and tied for second within the University of California system for the prestigious awards. Here are the Samueli School’s 2014 fellowship awardees.

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.

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.

 


          
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.

“This week is intended to benefit the engineering students, and if they take advantage of the opportunity, they can get a lot out of it,” says Liz Brooks, ESC president. “The week is put on to celebrate engineering and acknowledge all of the hard work engineers do every single day. After participating in UCI’s E-Week since I was a freshman, I can say it is continuously improving every year.”

H. Kumar Wickramasinghe Dec 12, 2013
Engineer Named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Professor H. Kumar Wickramasinghe is among 143 innovators to be named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for 2013. Wickramasinghe is a UC Irvine professor and the Henry Samueli Endowed Chair in electrical engineering and computer science, with joint appointments in biomedical engineering and chemical engineering and materials science.

Being named a NAI Fellow is distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

Wickramasinghe, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, is a well-respected pioneer in nanotechnology. He currently holds 94 patents. Some of his most significant inventions and contributions to the nano field include the development of the vibrating mode atomic force microscope (AFM), the magnetic force microscope, the electrostatic force microscope, the Kelvin probe force microscope, the scanning thermal microscope, and the apertureless near-field optical microscope. Most of these scanning probe microscopes are standard instruments used today for nano-scale characterization.

"I am humbled and honored to be among this distinguished group of Nobel Laureates and National Medal Prize winners,” says Wickramasinghe. “The greatest thrill I get is to see some of my inventions translated to practice and in use all over the world."

Hung Nguyen Oct 28, 2013
Chemical Engineer’s Research Makes the Cover of Advanced Healthcare Materials

Hung Nguyen’s research is featured on the cover of the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Healthcare Materials. An assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science, Nguyen investigates the self-assembly of biological and biomimetic nanoscale materials based on amino acids and nucleic acids for applications in nanotechnology, drug delivery, tissue engineering, gene therapy, disease diagnostics, antiviral therapeutics and imaging agent development.

The Advanced Healthcare Materials journal featured Nguyen’s study involving peptide amphiphiles, an emerging class of self-assembling molecules. He and his team, including first author graduate student Iris Fu, an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, used simulations to examine the self-assembly process in detail.

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Farghalli Mohamed with UCI Chancellor Michael Drake Oct 7, 2013
Well-Loved Professor Retires, Goes out with a Rhyme

Beloved engineering professor Farghalli A. Mohamed celebrated his retirement and 70th birthday in late September surrounded by colleagues, faculty, staff and friends.

Ali Mohraz Sep 23, 2013
NASA to Fund Microgravity-related Research at the Samueli School

NASA has selected a project of Ali Mohraz’s to fund under its “Research Opportunities in Complex Fluids and Macromolecular Biophysics” program. 

squid sketch by Doris Dialogu Sep 9, 2013
UCI researchers fabricate new camouflage coating from squid protein

Material that mimics calamari skin is invisible to infrared cameras

building a fuel cell Jul 22, 2013
Having Fun, FABcamp Style

The Samueli School’s FABcamp got off to a boisterous beginning with a full roster of middle school children. The first group of 9 girls and 20 boys could be seen touring labs and walking around the school in bright yellow t-shirts. 

Laser Associate Sciences Jun 21, 2013
Engineering Students Achieve a Strong Showing at Merage Business Plan Competition

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering was well represented in the 2013 Business Plan Competition at UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business, with teams from Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology dominating the campuswide division.

NSF logo Jun 4, 2013
Five Engineering Grad Students Earn NSF Research Fellowships

The National Science Foundation has granted five UC Irvine engineering graduate students a research fellowship, and another three honorable mentions. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. 

As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend, opportunities for international research and professional development. Here are the Samueli School’s 2013 NSF fellowship program awardees:

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G.P. Li Jun 3, 2013
Collaborator in Chief

Don’t let the piles of paperwork fool you – G.P. Li has a systematic strategy for pursuing innovation

G.P. Li learned how to make an elevator pitch early in his career. His first corporate gig was with IBM, an innovative company that holds the top spot for number of U.S. patents granted. Today, the UC Irvine engineering professor and director of the campus’s California Institute for Telecommunications & Information Technology makes it his mission to teach students this valuable skill.

“My goal is to train them to be future leaders – CEOs and CTOs,” says Li, who has founded four companies based on his inventions.

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May 9, 2013
Tenacity pays off for tissue engineer

Public Impact Fellowship supports Seema Ehsan’s efforts to develop a better way of testing cancer drugs

The cost of bringing a new drug to the marketplace, from discovery to clinical trials, ranges from $55 million to more than $1 billion. Seema Ehsan aspires to change that, particularly for cancer drugs. A chemical engineering doctoral candidate, she spends eight to 10 hours a day in the laboratory growing tumors.

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Apr 11, 2013
American Ceramic Society Names Professor Martha Mecartney a Fellow

Martha Mecartney, professor of chemical engineering and materials science at UCI’s The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, has been named a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS). The Society gives the title of Fellow to scientists, engineers and business leaders who have distinguished themselves through outstanding contributions to the ceramic arts or sciences, broad and productive scholarship in ceramic science and technology, conspicuous achievement in ceramic industry, or by outstanding service to the Society.

“It is an incredible honor to be selected as a Fellow among such esteemed colleagues, and I am delighted,” says Mecartney, whose research is in the development of new multiphase oxide ceramics for energy applications, understanding how grain boundaries and interfaces control physical and chemical properties, and analytical transmission electron microscopy. “What's taken me by surprise is the outpouring of congratulations from around the world."

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Feb 27, 2013
NSF Grants Prestigious CAREER Award to Professor Timothy Rupert

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recognized Timothy Rupert with a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award.

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