University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of EngineeringOnline: Autumn 2012
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Professor Jim Hendrix is serving as interim chair for the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. William Velander, who held the D.R. Voelte Jr. and N.A. Keegan Endowed Chair in Engineering, continues as a CHME professor while he works on building an NIH center in years ahead. An active search is in progress for a new department leader.

Electrical Engineering graduate student Yue Zhao was honored with a Best Paper award at IEEE’s Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo (ITEC 2012). He co-wrote the paper with EE Assistant Professor Wei Qiao and Long Wu, a researcher from the John Deere Co. Their work focused on “Oscillation mitigation for sliding-mode observers in sensorless control of IPMSMs,” which has relevance in the development of hybrid electric vehicles—an area of interest to many companies.

Research led by Namas Chandra, professor of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, appeared in the September issue of Popular Science in "Labs That Go Boom.” The feature focused on UNL Trauma Mechanics work to study the impact of shock waves from improvised explosive devices on the body and brain, and help develop protective armor for soldiers.

Cho Wing "Solomon" To, professor of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, was named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2012. Distinction as an ASME Fellow is the highest elected grade of ASME membership, recognizing exceptional engineering achievements and contributions to the engineering profession.

Engineers Without Borders – NU student chapter won a $1,000 Give Back B1G Award from UNL’s Center for Civic Engagement in 2012; the chapter also earned this honor in 2011.

Mechanical & Materials Engineering Assistant Professor Jung Yul Lim received a Scientist Development Grant from the American Heart Association (AHA). Lim’s lab focuses on engineering stem cell fate using extracellular cues; in this AHA-funded project, Lim’s research will be applied to an obesity study toward preventing heart diseases and stroke. With this three-year, $214,500 grant, his team aims to inhibit stem cell adipogenesis (creation of fat) by applying mechanical signal (cell stretch) and soluble factor (retinoic acid) aspects. Exploring the mechanical-biochemical interaction, the research also looks to reveal the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in how fat is generated.

Curling photofrom left, Reichenbach, Dong, Vuran and Irmak

Computer Science & Engineering doctoral student Xin Dong serves as entrepreneurial lead in research with CSE Associate Professor Mehmet Can Vuran to develop wireless underground sensor networks providing agricultural producers with real-time information about soil moisture and changing conditions for more efficient irrigation management. They received a $50,000 NSF Innovation Corps award, under the I-Corps program’s goal to help guide commercialization for scientific discoveries that offer great benefits to society. Their project also involves CSE Professor Stephen Reichenbach as a mentor and Suat Irmak—professor of Biological Systems Engineering, interim director of the Nebraska Water Center and leader of the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network—as an adviser.

 
Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard visits Nebraska EngineeringTesla team pic

A radiant red Tesla Roadster in the parking lot of Nebraska Hall has earned admiration for its sleek sportscar lines and sustainability. The car belongs to Don Cox, ’59 B.S. and ’60 M.S. ELEC, who returned to Nebraska after retiring from an active career in mobile communications (and most recently, teaching at Stanford University, where he earned his Ph.D.). This fall, Cox (fourth from right, standing) taught a course on electric vehicles for UNL Electrical Engineering, including field trips for students to test drive the car; best of all, Cox brought Martin Eberhard (fourth from left), his friend and co-founder of Tesla Motors, to speak at Nebraska Engineering. Eberhard, with degrees in computer and electrical engineering, wowed the crowd by answering a variety of questions about engineering and startups.


Research involving Jinsong Huang, Mechanical & Materials Engineering assistant professor, appeared in two prominent journals. Huang co-wrote "Understanding the effect of ferroelectric polarization on power conversion efficiency of organic photovoltaic devices," in the September 2012 cover story of the journal Energy & Environmental Science. The Nov. 11 edition of Nature Nanotechnology featured Huang’s paper, “A nanocomposite ultraviolet photodetector based on interfacial trap-controlled charge injection,” detailing a way to detect light at a much longer distance than is currently possible, using nanocomposite hybrid photodetector (HPD) devices.

Civil Engineering’s Karen Schurr, P.E., and Carrie Mohlman earned honors at ARTBA's “Women Leaders in Transportation Design & Construction” event in the summer of 2012. Schurr received the Ethel S. Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award. Named after ARTBA’s executive director from the mid-1920s, it is given to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, long-term service in the industry’s public or private sectors and dedication to the advancement of innovation and other women leaders. She was applauded for her leadership and work teaching at UNL and in her prior service with the Nebraska Department of Roads. Mohlman gained the Future Industry Spotlight Award, which celebrates students who have achieved an outstanding academic record and demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills within and outside of the academic environment. As a graduate research assistant maintaining a 4.0 grade average, she conducts research on commercial driver fatigue and compiles commodity flow surveys for counties in Nebraska. She also volunteers with the “Road, Rails and Racecars” afterschool mentoring program for middle school students, which encourages young adults to explore careers in the transportation field.

Tobias Louw, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering graduate student, earned a prestigious UNL Fling Fellowship, including a $20,000 stipend, tuition and fees for the 2012-13 academic year.

David Swanson, Computer Science & Engineering research professor, is the principal investigator with "Open Science Grid Consortium: The Next Five Years: Distributed High Throughput Computing for the Nation's Scientists, Researchers, Educators, and Students," a project receiving an NSF sub-award (via the University of Wisconsin-Madison) for $283,000.

Chen Li, Civil Engineering graduate student, received a UNL Othmer Recruitment Fellowship, including an $8,000 stipend and a departmental assistantship for three academic years.

 

 

 
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