Pratt People

Jingdong Tian, assistant professor of BME, has been awarded a Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award. This award, which provides $100,000 a year for three years, will support Tian’s work in "New Technologies and Methods for Developing Optimized Quick-Response DNA Vaccines for Infectious Diseases." Also receiving a Hartwell award is Guopeng Feng of the Department of Neurology in the medical school. The Hartwell competition funds early-stage, innovative, and cutting-edge biomedical research to benefit children.

Five faculty members were honored at the Engineering Awards Banquet on April 21. They include the following:

Kathryn R. Nightingale, assistant professor of BME, received the Klein Family Distinguished Teaching Award. This award is give each year to an outstanding educator nominated by the engineering students and selected by a faculty committee. These faculty members inspire students to learn, engage students in the classroom, and share their love of engineering.

David J. Brady, Addy Family Professor of ECE, received the Stansell Family Distinguished Research Award. This honor is awarded to an outstanding researcher nominated by the department chairs and selected by a faculty committee. Winners of this annual award inspire their colleagues, serve others, contribute to the knowledge base and have a deep passion for their work.

Joseph C. Nadeau, associate CEE professor of the practice, received the Lois and John L. Imhoff Distinguished Teaching Award in recognition of his superior dedication to undergraduate teaching. He was nominated by engineering students and selected by a faculty committee.

Earl H. Dowell, William Holland Hall Professor of MEMS, was honored with the Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research. This award recognizes the career achievements of one individual who, over the years, through excellence in both teaching and research has challenged and nurtured Pratt students and strongly contributed to knowledge.

George A. Truskey, professor and chair of BME, was selected to receive the Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising. In recognizing one individual each year, this award honors all members of our engineering community, who, over the years, through excellence in mentoring and advising have nurtured and guided students and colleagues.

Michael Garcia, a postdoctoral researcher who works jointly with ECE Professors April Brown and Jeff Glass, has won a National Research Council Fellowship from the National Academy of Sciences. The fellowship will provide $56,000 of funding support for Garcia to conduct research at Duke through the Army Research Office over the next year, with the possibility of up to three years of funding. His research will aim to develop a novel nitric oxide sensor, with potential application to medicine, environmental monitoring and defense, using compound semiconductors with enhanced material properties.

CEE graduate student Amrika Deonarine was awarded 3rd place in the student poster competition at the annual conference of the North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute on March 27-28 in Raleigh. The title of her poster presentation was: "Assessment of Surface Water Mercury Concentrations in the Restored Upper Sandy Creek Riparian Ecosystem" and was authored by Deonarine and her adviser Helen Hsu-Kim, assistant CEE professor.

A news release and a followup video produced by the local NBC affiliate on a light-based "optical biopsy" probe developed by BME assistant professor Adam Waxand associates generated widespread publicity for Pratt and Duke last month. The story was picked up by at least 95 outlets across the country, primarily television stations in markets of all sizes. The release by science writer Kendall Morgan of Pratt's Communications office was accompanied by multiple sound bites from an interview with Wax.

ECE graduate student Matthew Royal for winning a prestigious three-year National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship sponsored and funded by the Department of Defense. Royal was selected by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research from over 3,400 applications. The fellowship covers tuition and fees for three years and provides an average $31,000 annual stipend.

Two of three winners of the first WiSE OWL Award are from Pratt. The winners are Dawn Pedrotty, a graduate student in Professor Nenad Bursac’s lab in BME; Molly Miller, a graduate student in Professor Anne Lazarides’ lab in MEMS; and Audrey Chang, a graduate student in the biology department. The WiSE OWL Awards are sponsored by Women in Science and Engineering and co-sponsored by Graduate Student Affairs. They honor female graduate students, post-docs and laboratry technicians who have contributed not only to the scientific community through research excellence, but also to the Duke and the Durham communities through exemplary leadership and mentoring. There were 49 nominees from political science, pharmacology, environment, engineering, chemistry, math, physics, psychology and biology.

David Kahler, CEE graduate student, was elected to a second term as treasurer of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, and Ali Saaem, BME graduate student, was elected as 2007-2008 Community Affairs Coordinator. Kahler is the only member of the 2006-2007 executive board to remain on the executive board for the coming year. Other engineers who served on the executive board this year were Lara Oliver (ECE, attorney general), Elizabeth Irish (MEMS, student groups liaison), and Audrey Ellerbee (BME, president).

BME graduate student Andre Loyd won third place and $1,000 in the National Society of Black Engineers technical paper writing contest. His paper was entitled Thresholding Techniques for Developing Geometrically Accurate Pediatric Skull and Cervical Spine Models. Co-authors were BME graduate students Jason Luck and N. Buraglia, and Professors Donald Frush (pediatrics), Barry Myers (BME) and Roger Nightingale (BME).

Five Pratt staff members were selected to the Duke Excellence Team and honored at a banquet April 2. They are Autumn Wenner, ECE; Dwina Martin, CEE; Kip Coonley, ECE; Martha Absher, Dean's Office; and Ruby Carpenter, CEE. This was an initiative of the Duke Student Government, and it was sponsored by the Office of the President, Duke University Stores, Office of Public and Governmental Affairs, Office of Student Affairs, Washington Duke Inn, Duke Dining Services, Duke Performances, The Chronicle and the Duke Copy Center. Members of the Community Interaction Committee, who screened the nominations, reported they were inspired by the strong and abundant student-employee friendships depicted in the nominations. A total of 140 people were selected from 255 nominations from across Duke.

Some 200 engineering alumni came to Duke for reunion weekend. Many participated in tours of Pratt's facilities, Dean Kristina Johnson delivered her annual State of the School address and the Engineering Alumni Association sponsored the Reunion Social Hour. Classes recognized at the reunion were ’57, ’62, ’67, ’72, ’77, ’82, ’87, ’92, ’97 and ’02.

A team called “Full Belly Project” won $5,000 in the Social Enterprise category at this year's Start-Up Challenge Competition. It seeks to distribute nut shellers to farmers in Uganda, and its members include CEE senior Benjamin Abram, Pratt freshman William Patrick and Pratt junior Lee Pearson. Also winning $5,000 for Best Tradeshow Performance was a team called “iHeart” that is developing a low-cost infant incubator for developing countries. Its Pratt members include junior Timothy Antonelli and MEM students Glen Rabito, Marty Brunworth, Archana Ranawat, Valerie Speth, Batul Tambawalla, Silver Wang, Genoveva Wong and Zhenyu Yang. Among the committee co-chairs was Pratt senior Sarah Fox Roberts.

Paul Weber, a first year graduate student in MEMS, has won a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship for which he will receive tuition and fees for three years and an average $31,000 annual stipend. Weber is working with Professor Laurens Howle on his project sponsored by the Office of Naval Research to develop better probability models for predicting whether scuba divers will experience decompression sickness.

Adrienne Stiff-Roberts, assistant ECE professor, has won a 2007 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program Award worth $349,200 for three years. Her winning proposal is titled "Hybrid Nanomaterials for Multi-spectral Infrared Photodetection." The ONR says winners of the award “are among the best and brightest young academic researchers in this country.”

Mike Gunter has been promoted to the position of Associate Dean, Facilities and Infrastructure. This was effective April 4.

Pratt first-year student Alex Villasante has been elected a co-president for the upcoming school year of Mi Gente, Duke’s Latino student association. According to an article in the Chronicle, Villasante said she would like to see Mi Gente evolve into a group that meets the needs of Duke's entire Hispanic population as well as the entire Duke community.

Duke’s Engineers Without Borders chapter was recognized at the international EWB conference in Amherst, Mass., with a $1,000 award in the Appropriate Technology division for the group’s first project, a mechanical aerator. The aerator was used in 2005 to help Indonesian shrimp farmers increase their shrimp yields and recover from the tsunami. A photograph taken by Deirdre McShane (Pratt '05) had a won 3rd place in the "People and Places" photography contest. She was a CEE major who helped establish Duke’s EWB chapter, and was part of the team that went to Indonesia.

Henry Petroski, the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering, delivered a lecture entitled “To Engineer Is Human” in the Ralph and Betty George Engineering Ethics Speaker Series at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, on April 9.

William Hwang, Rhodes Scholar who graduated from Pratt last May, reports that his United InnoWorks Academy missed out on winning the Golden BRICK Award. But he says the $10,000 BRICK Award he earlier won for social entrepreneurship from the not-for-profit organization Do Something Inc. will be very helpful for InnoWorks’ programs this year. And he notes that Doritos will soon launch a promotion featuring InnoWorks on the backs of their 13 oz. bags of Nacho Cheese chips. Hwang started InnoWorks to use volunteer college students to teach underprivileged students science, technology, engineering and math.

Pratt ECE graduate John W. Cornwell continues to receive attention for his beer launcher invention. Cornwell, who graduated last May, was recently on the Ellen DeGeneres TV show. He was on the Late Show with David Letterman last month. Check out his invention.

Blake S. Wilson E’74 was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award at the annual Engineering Alumni Council awards ceremony. Scott D. Olson E’91 was honored with the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award, and Henry Petroski, the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering, was honored with a Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the engineering community and Duke University.

ECE Professor April Brown will become Senior Associate Dean for Research on July 1 when Professor Rob Clark takes over the helm of MEMS. Professor Brown will facilitate cross-disciplinary research group and center activity, assist in identifying and tracking funding opportunities for faculty, students and staff, and coordinate the activities of the graduate programs across the school. She brings to the position experience as chairperson of ECE and, before coming to Duke, she was associate dean at Georgia Tech and executive assistant for the president of Georgia Tech. She is an author or coauthor of over 250 publications/presentations and is a Fellow of the IEEE, and she has served on numerous committees and editorial boards.

Adrian Bejan, J.A. Jones Professor of MEMS, organized the second Constructal Theory of Social Dynamics Workshop held in the Fitzpatrick Center. The workshop brought together social scientists and engineers to develop a predictive theory of social organization. Specific talks included: "Constructal View of the Scaling Laws of Street Networks - the Dynamics Behind Geometry”; "Majority Discrimination against a Minority: The Analogue of Heat Radiation" and "Canine Constructal Theory: Do Dogs Optimize Globally or Locally?"

BME graduate student Lawrence M. Boyd has been selected to receive one of three Dean's Awards for Excellence in Mentoring. This is the time first time graduate students have been honored for mentoring.

BME Professor Mort Friedman has been asked to serve as one of the two group leaders on organ-specific mechanics at a Summit of Experts in Biomechanics, to be held in Keystone, Colo. in June. The meeting, under the auspices of the U.S. National Committee for Biomechanics, will bring 50 invitees to Keystone to identify new pathways for biomechanics research and applications for the next decade.

Steve Noneman, a project manager at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center for the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite Mission visited Pratt to give Duke’s newly formed AIAA student chapter a founding plaque. Noneman is the regional director for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Chapter president Stephen Clark, a junior in MEMS, helped organize a pizza luncheon for undergrads, grad students and faculty working in the aeronautics field.