SoE News

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.

Back in UCI’s Engineering Tower, graduate student Adam Luke, 23, pores over computerized hydraulic models that he has spent weeks constructing of the Tijuana River estuary straddling the U.S.-Mexico border. This is where flooding would hit hardest, he thinks, gazing at a destitute Mexican canyon community. And here, he notes, taking stock of Imperial Beach on the U.S. side, is where higher king tides combined with fiercer storms could swamp several streets.

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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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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.

Falahatpisheh’s research involves using advanced post-processing methods related to magnetic resonance imaging to study the hearts of patients born with a complex congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). TOF involves four anatomical abnormalities in the heart that mainly affects the right-side of the heart, and although it is surgically repaired during infancy, it may eventually lead to right-sided heart failure. Falahatpisheh will study the flow inside the hearts of patients who have the defect and have had surgical repair, and compare with the normal hearts in volunteers.

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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.

 

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

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.

Jul 3, 2014
Research Leads to Novel Inhaler

Asthma sufferers and others with pulmonary disorders are well acquainted with nebulizers.

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.”

Hua Sun with Henry Samueli Jun 17, 2014
UCI student is finalist in global Broadcom competition

UC Irvine graduate student Hua Sun presented innovative engineering research June 4 at the Broadcom Foundation University Research Competition. He was awarded $1,000 for his work on how to provide efficient, reliable wireless networks in the future. Sun, who’s seeking a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, was among 12 student finalists from 11 universities competing in a poster session at Broadcom’s annual Technical Conference. They shared insights into their projects and discussed how eventual applications of their research could improve lives and contribute to society.

"Hua Sun's enthusiasm for research is truly infectious," says Syed Jafar, an associate professor and Sun's Ph.D. adviser. "He is not intimidated by hard problems. He has the ability to quickly recognize the most meaningful aspect of a challenge and works tirelessly with great ingenuity to solve it. Collaborating with him is always a great pleasure."

More than 400 distinguished engineers judged the entries. “This competition, spearheaded by Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli, celebrates academic excellence and social awareness among students who perform extraordinary research at the doctoral level,” said Paula Golden, executive director of the foundation. “The intellectual power of the finalists, who come from universities across the world, is profound, and we are honored to have them compete.”

Jun 16, 2014
UC Irvine Hosts 15th Annual UC Bioengineering Symposium

More than 300 bioengineering students and faculty from 10 University of California campuses will congregate at UC Irvine this week, June 18-20, for the 15th annual UC Bioengineering Symposium.  The event brings these engineers together to share knowledge and best practices and to forge stronger relationships and collaborations.

Hosted by the Samueli School’s Biomedical Engineering Department, this year’s event features four keynote speakers, including Masimo Corporation Founder and CEO Joe Kiani, Edwards Lifesciences Corporation Vice President Stanton Rowe and biomedical engineering professors Nimmi Ramanujam (Duke University) and Bruce Tromberg (UCI and Beckman Laser Institute).

A special highlight will be the student and junior faculty “Shark Tank,” modeled after the popular television show in which budding entrepreneurs pitch their new business ideas to a panel of potential investors. Six student teams and six faculty members will pitch to a panel of judges for a chance to win cash prizes. Broadcom co-founder Henry Samueli will be amongst the “sharks” questioning the faculty. See here for a schedule.

“The focus of this symposium is unique and timely,” says conference organizer and UCI Associate Professor Michelle Khine. “It is focused on medical technology innovations: how to translate our ‘ah-ha’ moments into real world solutions to the most difficult medical challenges. Bioengineering is the No. 1 growth profession in Southern California. By bringing industry together with all 10 UC campuses, we hope to synergize our efforts to create effective medical technologies and a pipeline of new innovators.”

Turning a special day into a historic event, President Barack Obama addressed more than 6,000 graduating UC Irvine students and 30,000 family members and friends at a commencement ceremony Saturday, June 14, at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. photo: Steve Zylius/UC Irvine Communications Jun 16, 2014
Congratulations Class of 2014!

The Henry Samueli School of Engineering sent 695 Anteater Engineers with bachelors degrees, 240 with Masters degrees and 92 with Doctorate degrees out into the world this past weekend, after a full slate of graduation activities, that included a UCI-wide commencement with President Barack Obama at Angel Stadium on Saturday and a school celebration with the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the Bren Events Center on Sunday. Students and their family and friends attended a graduation celebration Friday that included a display of senior design projects and a ceremony in which students pledged the Order of the Engineer.

President Barack Obama greeted more than 6,000 members of UC Irvine’s class of 2014 and 30,000 family members and friends at a special commencement ceremony Saturday at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Obama encouraged graduates to take on the challenges of climate change in the same way the nation answered the call to reach the moon in the 1960s.

Obama gave kudos to UCI for being “ahead of the curve” on the issue.

Nasrin Nasrollahi Jun 10, 2014
Engineering Doctoral Student’s Dissertation Selected for Special Publication

Nasrin Nasrollahi’s dissertation has been selected by scientific publisher Springer for its Springer Theses series. Nasrollahi has finished her doctorate in civil and environmental engineering working with Distinguished Professor Soroosh Sorooshian and Associate Professor Kuo-lin Hsu in the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing (CHRS). Theses in this annual publication are selected for their scientific excellence and impact on research. They must be nominated and endorsed by two recognized specialists.

The CHRS provides global, near real-time rainfall information using remote sensing technology. With a mathematical modeling approach, the center processes different electromagnetic signals picked up by satellites from clouds and storm systems and converts them into rain estimates. Used primarily by government officials and climate researchers for flood forecasting around the world, the information is also accessible to the public via the Internet.

Nasrollahi’s dissertation research involved improving the quality of precipitation estimation information that is provided by the center. She applied a multi-satellite, multi-spectral approach, incorporating data on clouds and rainfall from two recent NASA satellites and using machine learning techniques to develop a better estimate of rainfall. She also added a filter to reduce false rain signals in the data, which significantly improved the results.

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.

From left: Professor Scott Samuelsen, Fulbright Scholar Dustin McLarty, Associate Professor Jack Brouwer May 28, 2014
UCI Engineering Postdoc Receives Prestigious Fulbright

Dustin McLarty, a postdoctoral researcher at the Advanced Power and Energy Program, will take what he’s learned working on UCI’s micro-grid power supply to Italy, on a Fulbright scholarship.

Sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Program offers highly competitive, merit-based grants for students and young professionals to study, conduct research or exercise their talents abroad. Founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946, the Fulbright today is the largest U.S. international exchange program. It currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 140 countries. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and people of other countries.

“UCI has one of the most cutting edge micro-grids in the world,” says McLarty. “It provides the campus electricity, cooling and heating with close to 99 percent self-generated power, almost none of the energy is coming from Southern California Edison.”

A micro-grid is a similar but smaller version of the traditional power grid and consists of power generation, distribution and controls such as voltage regulation and switch gears. Micro-grids integrate renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind power, hydrology, geothermal, waste-to-energy, and combined heat and power systems. They can operate on their own or be connected to the traditional grid, and they have a closer proximity between the power generation and the power user. UCI’s micro-grid integrates solar, fuel cell, thermal and natural gas to serve the campus’s needs.

McLarty’s research has to do with leveling out the intermittencies involved with a grid that relies on renewable sources of energy. “We put all these new energy sources on the grid and they don’t behave like our old ones, so we have to come up with a mix of new technologies that can interface, store and deploy the renewables in a way that levels out the power supply.”

Alma Carrillo and Andrew Timothy gather transportation data at Joshua Tree National Park May 20, 2014
Student Transportation Engineers Examine Joshua Tree Congestion

UPDATE 5-22-14: UCI transportation engineers win ITE Student Chapter of the year for Southern California section, besting Cal Poly Pomona and UCLA for the top spot.

UCI’s student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) heads to the ITE Southern California Section Student Competition this week where the students will present results from their Joshua Tree National Park Transit Feasibility Study.

The National Parks Conservation Association commissioned the UCI students, primarily civil and environmental engineering seniors, to study the feasibility of establishing a shuttle transit system to alleviate traffic and parking congestion for visitors to Joshua Tree. The students were mentored by ITE faculty adviser Professor Stephen Ritchie and doctoral student Sarah Hernandez.

“This is the most ambitious project yet undertaken by our student chapter, and it provided an outstanding opportunity for students to work on complex real-world problems and gain skills that will be invaluable for their future careers,” says Ritchie. “ Our chapter has placed first and second in the annual ITE Competition in the last three years, and while we’re naturally hoping for a place on the podium this year, most of all I’m extremely proud of the dedication, professionalism and team effort of our chapter.”

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