Pratt People

Assistant ECE Professor Rebecca Willett has just been awarded a $500,000 one-year grant as a member of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Computer Science Study Panel to further her research on discrete event data analysis. Last year, 12 junior faculty in computer science and related dsciplines were selected from a nationwide pool of applicants to participate in the program’s first phase. Of these, she and nine others were chosen to continue into the second phase with significant DARPA funding.

CEE Professor Tomasz Hueckel and his co-PI, associate MEMS Professor Piotr Marszalek, have been awarded a $334,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for research on chemo-mechanical nano-scale mechanisms of aging of soils. The reviews of their grant proposal found particular merit in the planned interdisciplinary collaboration between two the relatively distant fields of geomechanics and materials science.

Warren Grill, associate professor of BME, participated April 26-28 in the 2007 German American Frontiers of Engineering symposium in Hanover, Germany, where he gave a talk on "Brain Stimulation: From Computers to the Clinic." The meeting was jointly sponsored by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the German Alexander von Humboldt Society and was intended to promote intellectual exchange and collaboration between young engineers in the U.S. and Germany. Grill also has been honored with the 2007 Boston University College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award for Service to the Profession. The award recognizes his accomplishments in the fields of engineering, neural prostheses, and neural engineering, and was presented May 19 during Boston University's Reunion/Commencement weekend. He earned his B.S. in biomedical engineering from Boston University in 1989.

Henry Petroski, Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering, delivered the Alfred H. Samborn Distinguished Lecture in the College of Engineering at the University of Toledo on April 30. Samborn is the retired owner and partner of SSOE Inc., an international architecture-engineer design firm based in Toledo, and a former civil engineering faculty member at the University of Toledo. Petroski’s lecture, entitled “To Engineer Is Human,” was delivered on the day that Sanborn turned 90 years old.

Nan Jokerst, J. A. Jones Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, gave the opening plenary talk April 26 at the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplant Conference in San Francisco. The title of her address was: "Nanotechnology in Medicine and Transplantation."

A paper by Assistant CEE Professor Andrew Schuler has been selected for a "spotlight" in an upcoming issue of Biotechnology and Bioengineering. The paper is titled, “Distributed state simulation of endogenous processes in biological wastewater treatment.” Four papers are selected from each issue for the “spotlight,” which is aimed at keeping readers abreast of happenings in areas that might not be their specialty.

The T.A. Brown Mechanical Aerator was awarded an Honorable Mention in the EPA’s 3rd Annual P3 Awards – People, Prosperity, and the Planet. The mechanical aerator was developed to help restore shrimp and fish hatcheries in tsunami-torn Indonesia. The project follows an excursion by David Schaad, assistant CEE chair, and five engineering student members of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) to Banda Aceh following the Christmas tsunami of 2004. The aerator is named in honor of engineering student Tyler Brown, who participated in the EWB trip. He was killed by a drunk driver in October 2005.

A student team from Raleigh’s Enloe High School, mentored by Charles Parker, a researcher in the laboratory of ECE Professor Jeffrey Glass, won 1st place in the Senior Team Division at the State Science Fair of North Carolina. The team represented North Carolina at the Intel International Science Engineering Fair in Albuquerque, N.M. Its project is titled "Non-Classical Wetting Behavior of Various Liquids on Carbon Nanotube Substrates."

Professor Earl Dowell has been selected to receive the Spirit of St. Louis Medal from the ASME for “pioneering contributions to aeroelasticity, structural dynamics and unsteady aerodynamics which had an enormous impact on aerospace technology.”

BME seniors Turan Kayagil, Matan Setton, and Jenny Yuan have been selected as finalists in the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Design Technology Society of North America Student Design Competition. Their invention is an exercise motivator called a DevilRider. It allows a stationary bicycle to be interfaced with almost any assistive device. The DevilRider senses pedaling speed and sends control commands to devices that might operate a toy, turn on music, or play a movie. The idea is to provide a motivator to establish consistent exercise routines for people with special needs. The students developed their device in the BME 260 Devices for People with Disabilities capstone design course. The device will be used to motivate local teens with autism to exercise without caregiver intervention.

CEE students did well again in the ASCE Carolinas Conference, held this year at Georgia Tech. Pratt’s team won the Quiz Bowl and took third place in the Mystery Design Challenge, which was a sustainable engineering oriented scavenger hunt. The team consisted of seniors Claudia Fischmann, Nicole Axelrod, Rachel Lavon, Greg Heller and Tom Vogt; juniors Lee Pearson, Steve Worrell, Cleland Robertson, Ian Cassidy and Josclyn Harrington; sophomores Lauren Lewis, Jessica Barlow and Dana Nicholson and freshman Stephanie Everett.

J.A. Jones Distinguished Professor Adrian Bejan was an invited panel speaker at the NSF Workshop on Frontiers in Transport Phenomena Research and Education, held at the University of Connecticut on May 17-18, 2007. He spoke on "Energy and the Environment: Thermodynamics of Heat and Fluid Flow Configuration." Bejan also will give the opening keynote lecture at the Canadian Congress of Applied Mechanics, CANCAM 2007, June 4-8, in Toronto. The title of his invited lecture was "The Constructal Law of Design in Nature".

Graduate student Prabhakar Shrestha in CEE Professor Ana Barros' laboratory has won a NASA Earth System Science Fellowship for his work on "Characterization of Aerosol-Cloud-Rainfall Interactions and Water Cycle Impacts in the Himalayas."

Carmella Parrott has joined the Master of Engineering Management Program as a Staff Assistant supporting students, processing finances, and coordinating courses for the program. She comes to Duke from Audiocodes in Research Triangle Park, where she served as Office Manager and Sales Administrator.

A paper co-authored by BME professor Morton Friedman and Heather Himburg, a former doctoral student in Friedman's lab who is now a postdoc at Duke's Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, has been selected by the reviewers and associate editors of the American Society of Mechanical Engineer's Journal of Biomechanical Engineering as the best paper for 2006. Their winning report is entitled "Correspondence of Low Mean Shear and High Harmonic Content in the Porcine Iliac Arteries."