Engineering faculty awarded professorships

The College of Engineering recently awarded and virtually celebrated several professorships:

  • MechE’s Conrad Tucker was awarded the Arthur Hamerschlag Career Development Professorship in Mechanical Engineering. This career development professorship is awarded to support a non-tenured faculty member in MechE. 
  • MechE’s Jessica Zhang was awarded the George Tallman Ladd and Florence Barrett Ladd Research Professorship in Mechanical Engineering which is awarded to support a senior faculty member in MechE.
  • ECE’s Brandon Lucia was awarded the Sathaye Family Foundation Career Development Professorship. Through the Sathaye Family Foundation, ECE alumni Shirish and Archana Sathaye established this professorship in 1993 to support a non-tenured faculty member in ECE.
  • ECE’s Anthony Rowe was awarded the Siewiorek and Walker Family Professorship. Daniel Siewiorek and Karon Walker established this professorship in 2014 to support a senior faculty member whose work lies at the intersection of electrical and computer engineering and computer science. Dan Siewiorek has spent nearly five decades as a member of Carnegie Mellon’s faculty and has made outstanding contributions to computer systems design, dependable computing, and the field of human-computer interaction.

Zhang gives talk at ASME convention
American Society of Mechanical Engineers

MechE’s Jessica Zhang delivered an invited talk as part of the ASME Committee on Computing and Applied Mechanics (CONCAM) Distinguished Lectures on Computational Mechanics at the ASME IMECE 2020 conference in November. In this talk, she presented her latest research on neuron material transport simulation in complex neurite networks using isogeometric analysis and machine learning techniques.

Zhang named Japan Prize nominator
The Japan Prize Foundation

MechE’s Jessica Zhang was recently invited by the Japan Prize Foundation to become the Official Nominator for the prestigious “Japan Prize,” which is awarded to scientists and researchers worldwide whose original and outstanding achievements in science and technology are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and served the cause of peace and prosperity for mankind. At present this international prize is often considered one of the most prestigious awards in science and technology fields after the Nobel Prize. The Japan Prize Foundation invites prominent scientists and researchers from around the world who lead their respective fields of science to become the Official Nominators for the “Japan Prize.”

Panat quoted on rapid COVID test

MechE’s Rahul Panat was quoted in MedicalExpo on a rapid COVID test that he and his team developed. The test enables Covid antibodies, the blood-borne protein that attacks the coronavirus, to be detected in 10 seconds. “Micro 3D printing allows you to produce new shapes in devices and new combinations of materials,” Panat said. “The progress we are making today in biomedical devices is inherently tied to the progress in microfabrication.”

Engineering staff nominated for Andy Awards
Carnegie Mellon University

Multiple College of Engineering staff have been nominated for CMU’s Andy Awards. Andy awards are given to those whose work has had a significant impact on the university. Nominations include:

  • Commitment to Excellence (Rookie): ECE’s Quinn Hagerty and Nik Nemec, INI’s Jennifer Spirer, MechE’s Amy Carroll
  • Commitment to Excellence (Veteran): CEE’s David Vey, Deans Offices Samuel Boyer and Dan Giammetteo, ECE’s Claire Bauerle and Kristen Geiger
  • Commitment to Students: Deans Offices: Kurt Larsen, ECE’s Megan Oliver, MechE’s Melissa Brown,
  • Spirit: Deans Offices Krista Burns, III’s Leia Delabahan, INIs Sari Smith


Weber’s brain research featured

MechE’s Doug Weber’s research on using the brain to control computers was featured in Wired. In an article published in the Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery, Australian and US researchers describe how two people with paralysis due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) used such a device to send texts and fool around online by brain-control alone.

Whitefoot named to World Economic Forum Global Future Councils
Carnegie Mellon University

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot has been named to the World Economic Forum’s network of Global Future Councils, where she will serve on the Clean Air council. During the 2020-21 term, which runs from October 2020 to September 2021, members will contribute insight and ideas for the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset initiative to help world leaders and the global public to better understand, address, and prepare for the post-COVID world. The World Economic Forum is providing the Councils a platform for advancing multi-stakeholder collaboration and systems thinking, which are needed more than ever to respond to rapid social and technological change.

Engineering professors named teaching fellows
Carnegie Mellon University

BME’s Rosalyn Abbott, MechE’s Mark Bedillion, and CEE’s Gerald Wang have been named Provost’s Inclusive Teaching Fellows. This is awarded to faculty who are working with the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Education Innovation to develop and disseminate new approaches to inclusive and equitable teaching in their classrooms. It provides a $5,000 fellowship for an academic year.

“There are a lot of folks of every race and every gender and every background, who you might not find in the textbooks, who have made huge contributions to this field,” Wang said. “I want students to see that people in the field look every bit like the diversity that we have in this classroom.”

Viswanathan quoted on batteries
Financial Times

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in the Financial Times on batteries. Viswanathan is developing a battery that will be more energy-efficient and up to 30 percent lighter than standard lithium-ion batteries, as well as enable air taxis to travel longer on one charge. “Air taxis [will also be] cheaper to run because it becomes more energy-efficient if your battery is lighter,” he adds.

Agwu wins technical presentation award
The National GEM Consortium

MechE Ph.D. student Uchechukwu (Uche) Agwu won first place in the Technical Presentation Competition on September 11 at the Annual GEM Conference. Agwu’s presentation placed first in the Ph.D. category. Agwu is a first-year Ph.D. student under MechE Professor Kenji Shimada.

Robinson recognized for aerosol research
American Association for Aerosol Research

MechE Head Allen Robinson has been awarded the AAAR David Sinclair award, which recognizes sustained excellence in aerosol research and technology by an established scientist still active in his or her career. The individual’s research must have a lasting impact in aerosol science. The award memorializes David Sinclair, one of aerosol science’s great innovators, known for his knowledge, ingenuity, and energy.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership opportunity

The College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion. As the college’s senior diversity officer, the associate dean will have the opportunity to lead a significant expansion of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts at a world-renowned college at the forefront of engineering education and research.

Majidi quoted in Soft Robotics podcast
Soft Robotics Podcast

MechE’s Carmel Majidi was interviewed for Soft Robotics Podcast on science and life. He talked about equations he finds important and provided some advice.


Engineering students named ACS scholars
Carnegie Mellon University

Ten CMU College of Engineering students were selected as Andrew Carnegie Scholars by the university. They are Charlotte (Charlie) Andreasen (MechE/EPP), Seema Kamath (MechE), Stefanie McMillan (MSE/BME), Jessica Meng (ECE), Valentina Ortiz de Zárate (CEE), Ryan Rusali (CEE/EPP), Sanjana Shah (ChemE/BME), Nicole Shi (MSE/EPP), Ishita Sinha (ECE), and Saeed Syed (ChemE). 

ACS Scholars are undergraduate seniors who embody Carnegie Mellon’s high standards of academic excellence, volunteerism, leadership, and involvement in student organizations, athletics, or the arts. They are selected each year by their deans and department heads to represent their class in service and leadership. Each scholar receives a monetary award—made possible by the generosity of ACS members—to support their academic and personal growth.

Mendoza and Ni to participate in Berkeley workshop
U.C. Berkeley Department of Mechanical Engineering

MechE Ph.D. students Edgar Mendoza and Longchang Ni have been selected to participate in the ME Rising Stars workshop organized by UC Berkeley. The Rising Stars in Mechanical Engineering workshop supports senior graduate students and postdocs who are considering careers in academia. The purpose of the workshop is for participants to gain career skills, connect with a cohort of peers, and engage with mentors.

Robinson published on EPA
Lancaster Online

MechE Head Allen Robinson published an op-ed on Lancaster Online about the EPA’s denial of science and the effect it has on Pennsylvanian methane pollution. “This denial of science and failure of leadership at the federal level make strong, swift and decisive action on methane rules at the state level all the more imperative,” Robinson and his co-author wrote.


Norby interviewed on childhood robotics experience
Twin Cities PBS

MechE Ph.D. student Joe Norby was interviewed by Twin Cities PBS about his experience building robots as a kid. He now works in the Robomechanics Lab at CMU.

Johnson mentioned on remote robotic course

MechE’s Aaron Johnson was mentioned in VentureBeat on how his robotics course adjusted to online class during the coronavirus pandemic. Johnson’s bio-inspired robot design course had to go fully remote, he told IEEE Spectrum. But none of the teams drastically altered their projects or opted for simulated designs. To get around the logistical challenges, students dropped off and shipped parts to their collaborators, bought simple tools like soldering irons, and had Johnson 3D-print parts and mail them. Each team even managed to put together demo videos from their remote locations.

Jayan and Barati Farimani featured on norovirus project
Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance

MechE’s Reeja Jayan and Amir Barati Farimani were featured in the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance newsletter on their Norovirus Sensor project. Their norovirus project used polymers to detect norovirus, then the data is analyzed by an algorithm. Now, they are adapting the project for the novel coronavirus.

Presto on reduced pollution

MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted by WESA in an article discussing the impact of less traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Presto found that less driving led to decreases in carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions, as well as reduced fine particulate matter, small particles that can lead to serious health problems. While this research specifically addresses the effects of life during the pandemic, Presto also says that “this is what a potential future atmosphere could look like” in the Pittsburgh region if half of all vehicles became electric cars.

MechE alum Thomas Healy featured in Forbes

MechE alum Thomas Healy was featured in a Forbes article about his company, Hyliion, and its place in the “electric-powered big rig revolution.” Named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2017, Healy, 28, has developed an “e-axle” (electrified axle) powered by lithium batteries, his solution for electrifying long-haul trucks. While other companies are building new trucks from the ground-up, Healy decided to develop technology that could be added to old trucks or incorporated into new ones. “The goal was to be able to allow them to still buy the truck they already know and love and have it with a brand-new power train that will really revolutionize their logistics,” he said.

Presto quoted on pollution

MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted in WESA on pollution during the coronavirus pandemic. The original research was done by Presto and MechE Head Allen Robinson. In a recent paper, a Carnegie Mellon University research group documented a drop in air pollutants. Their work showed that less driving meant lower concentrations of emissions such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Presto said more surprising was the decrease in fine particulate matter, which are really small particles that can cause big health problems. “That was the same whether we were in a high-traffic place or a low-traffic place,” he said.

Viswanathan quoted on batteries
Clean Technica

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in Clean Technica on soft solid electrolytes in batteries. Soft solid electrolytes could protect batteries from dendrite formation, a dangerous lithium spike that can cause the battery to fail. “In 2017, when the conventional wisdom was that you need a hard electrolyte, we proposed that a new dendrite suppression mechanism is possible with a soft solid electrolyte,” Viswanathan said. “It is amazing to find a material realization of this approach with PIM composites.”

Majidi on new biopolymer for soft robots
Chemical & Engineering News

MechE’s Carmel Majidi was quoted in Chemical & Engineering News about a new protein-based biopolymer found in squid that researchers are using in soft robots. Majidi was not involved in the study. The material has impressive self-healing capabilities and can be molded into parts and films via heat or water. Another advantage is that it can be broken down and reused. “This is a very compelling example of using synthetic biology to engineer new classes of materials,” said Majidi.


Viswanathan published on electric vehicle batteries
The Conversation

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan and Ph.D. students Alexander Bills and Shashank Sripad published an article in The Conversation on their electric vehicle battery research. “Forecasting when that price crossover will occur requires models that account for the cost variables,” they wrote. “Our group at Carnegie Mellon University has developed a model of battery costs that accounts for all aspects of EV battery manufacturing.”

Sripad quoted on self-driving cars

MechE’s Shashank Sripad was quoted in WIRED on electric self-driving cars. “A bunch of commentators used to suggest the first automatic vehicles might have to be gas hybrids,” says Sripad. “But we believe that, if we want to do electric vehicles, autonomy will be compatible with it.”

Joshi wins Crystal Award
Society of Cryobiology

MechE Ph.D. student Purva Joshi won The Peter Steponkus Crystal Award at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Society for Cryobiology. The Crystal Award is the highest student award of the Society for Cryobiology, awarded to the winner of the student competition during its annual meeting (Cryo 2020). Joshi will receive the Peter L. Steponkus Crystal Award Plaque and an honorarium.

Jen and Sullivan quoted on coronavirus
Shared Air Podcast

ChemE’s Coty Jen and MechE’s Ryan Sullivan appeared on MechE’s Albert Presto’s podcast, Shared Air, on the role of masks in the coronavirus pandemic. They also discussed how coronavirus spreads. “We’re taking a lot of clues about how other viruses are spread,” Jen said. “There’s a lot of evidence coming out that...really strongly points to airborne transmission.”

Viswanathan on autonomous, electric cars

MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan spoke with Bloomberg about the current debate between the two most prominent technologies in the car industry: autonomous driving and electric cars. Some believe that autonomous driving technology will expend and limit an electric car’s battery life and range. Viswanathan finds that the range trade-off is likely to be below 15 percent in urban areas and as low as five percent in suburban areas, and that the lidars and computers necessary for autonomous driving are getting better while using less energy. “We’re getting to a point where we won’t need to choose between autonomous driving and electric cars,” he said.


Sullivan paper named among RSC Best of 2019
Royal Society of Chemistry

MechE’s Ryan Sullivan and collaborators at the University of Washington had a research paper named among the Best Papers 2019 - Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Johnson’s robot design course featured in IEEE Spectrum
IEEE Spectrum

MechE’s Aaron Johnson’s Robot Design and Experimentation course was featured in an IEEE Spectrum article highlighting how roboticists (and their robots) have been working from home. After the course turned remote, Johnson expected some of the course teams to drastically alter their projects, but none did. “We managed to keep all of the projects more or less as planned,” said Johnson. “We accomplished this by drop/shipping parts to students, buying some simple tools (soldering irons, etc.), and having me 3D print parts and mail them.”

Dayal, Babaei co-author paper on lipid receptor formation
Pitt Engineering

CEE/MechE’s Kaushik Dayal and MechE’s Mahnoush Babaei co-authored a new study published in the Journal of Mechanics and Physics of Solids. The paper explores how pathogens use clever methods to invade cell membranes—namely, deceiving the membrane into thinking the virus is safe, instigating the formation process of lipid rafts, which are more likely to allow the virus to enter the cell. The study analyzes the physical components of what takes places during ligand-binding; understanding how viruses use lipid rafts could lead to new approaches to treat and prevent viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. This paper was a collaboration with multiple institutions worldwide, including Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.

Taylor featured on nanostructures
Multiple sources

MechE’s Rebecca Taylor was featured in multiple sources, including ScienceDaily, Nanowerk, Science Codex, and Azonano, on her research on nanostructures. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a method for self-assembling nanostructures with gamma-modified peptide nucleic acid (γPNA), a synthetic mimic of DNA. The process has the potential to impact nanomanufacturing as well as future biomedical technologies like targeted diagnostics and drug delivery. “As mechanical engineers, we were prepared for the challenge of solving a structural design problem,” Taylor said. “Due to the unusual helical twist, we had to come up with a new approach for weaving these pieces together.”

Halilaj receives ASB Young Scientist Award

MechE’s Eni Halilaj has won the American Society of Biomechanics Young Scientist Award. The award will be presented at this year’s ASB meeting in August.

Jayan gives IMPI keynote
International Microwave Power Institute

MechE’s B. Reeja Jayan will give the keynote address at the 54th Annual Microwave Power Symposium on June 15. Her talk, “Why Microwave-heating is More Than Just Heating,” examines her exploratory research that lays the groundwork for using microwave fields to engineer new materials

Cagan receives ASME award
CMU Mechanical Engineering

MechE’s Jonathan Cagan has been named the 2020 recipient of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Award. This award recognizes a person who exemplifies the best in furthering engineering design education through vision, interactions with students and industry, scholarship and impact on the next generation of engineers, and a person whose action serves as a role model for other educators to emulate.


Webster-Wood named Wimmer Faculty Fellow

MechE’s Vickie Webster-Wood has been named a 2020-2021 Wimmer Faculty Fellow. Supported by the Wimmer Family Foundation and in collaboration with the Eberly Center, the fellowship is designed for junior faculty members interested in enhancing their teaching through concentrated work. Webster-Wood plans to design interactive demonstrations and build virtual labs for the course “Gadgetry: Sensors, Actuators, and Processors.” These demonstrations and labs will promote active learning and improve students’ mechatronic intuition.

Majidi quoted on liquid metal lattice material
Physics World

MechE’s Carmel Majidi was quoted by Physics World about a new liquid metal lattice that can be crushed and then reheated to return to its original shape. Majidi says that a material like this, which can change shape, stiffness, and ability to bear load, has many potential capabilities, including applications in soft robotics, wearable computing systems, or wearable robotics. “[This work] nicely builds on past research in stiffness tuning and shape memory materials,” he said. “[It] is an excellent demonstration of how low melting point metals can be used for creating smart and adaptive structures.”

Presto introduces new podcast
Apple Podcast

MechE’s Albert Presto has created a new podcast called Shared Air with MechE Ph.D. student Rose Eilenberg. Their podcast is about air pollution, air quality, climate, and science communication.

Rubin quoted on Pittsburgh emissions
Next Pittsburgh

EPP/MechE’s Ed Rubin was quoted in Next Pittsburgh on Pittsburgh emissions. Two of Pittsburghers’ favorite things, beef and beer, are the biggest sources of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in the local food system, according to a new study by a team of 19 Carnegie Mellon students. “What we tried to do for the first time is to put together an overall picture to give policymakers an idea of where the biggest impacts are, and where actions to change the system could be beneficial,” says Rubin. “We couldn’t find any other major metropolitan areas that had done something like this.” 

Shimada quoted on robots
San Francisco Chronicle

MechE’s Kenji Shimada was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle about robots. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, researchers are looking into ways robots could be used to lower the risk of transmission. Shimada is working on a mobile robotic arm able to disinfect high-risk areas like hospital rooms using chemicals or ultraviolet light. He envisions a technology able to map a room and track where the machine has cleaned. “Nothing is visible so you need a digital model to keep track of that,” Shimada said of finding and killing the coronavirus and other microscopic threats. He said he plans to begin testing prototypes on campus, but it could be a year or two before an operational version of the machine is ready, underscoring the need to repurpose some technologies for the time being.

Robinson appointed university professor

MechE Department Head Allen Robinson was appointed a University Professor by Carnegie Mellon University. University Professor is the highest rank faculty can receive.

Shen quoted on metamaterials
Tech Explorist

MechE’s Sheng Shen’s research on metamaterials was featured on Tech Explorist. Shen and Ph.D. candidate Jiayu Li created a new scale law to describe the thermal emission properties of metamaterials. “At CMU, we are applying this new scale law to design novel metamaterial-based thermal infrared devices for a variety of applications including infrared signature control, infrared sensing, thermal management, and thermal energy conversion,” Shen said. 

Majidi quoted on soft robots
Science Blog

MechE’s Carmel Majidi’s research on soft robots was featured on Science Blog and in Unite.AI. Along with collaborators from UCLA, Majidi was able to simulate soft robots with computer models. “Robots made out of hard and inflexible materials are relatively easy to model using existing computer simulation tools,” said Majidi. “Until now, there haven’t been good software tools to simulate robots that are soft and squishy. Our work is one of the first to demonstrate how soft robots can be successfully simulated using the same computer graphics software that has been used to model hair and fabrics in blockbuster films and animated movies.”

Carnegie Mellon team wins top design
America Makes

MechE’s Kenji Shimada and Erica Martelly’s face mask design, Moldable Masks, were named a top design in America Makes’ “Fit to Face Challenge.“ Fit to Face Challenge participants were tasked with optimizing a face mask’s continuous fit-to-face contact for a wide range of face types. “Judging the Fit to Face Challenge designs was difficult as the submissions were all very good,” said America Makes Technology Director Brandon Ribic, Ph.D. “It was clear that designers spent significant time developing these masks to meet each of the challenge criteria.”

Nakamura earns NIST NRC Postdoctoral Research Associateship

Nathan Nakamura has been recognized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) NRC Postdoctoral Research Associateship Program. The program brings in research scientists and engineers of unusual promise and ability to perform advanced research related to the NIST mission. A member of Reeja Jayan's Far-From-Equilibrium Materials Laboratory, Nakamura has completed the Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering.


MechE’s Madelynne Long named a CMWA awardee
Carnegie Mellon Women’s Association

MechE student Madelynne Long was named the College of Engineering’s awardee of the Carnegie Mellon Women’s Association’s 2020 scholarship. The CMWA Awards began in 1964 to honor “an outstanding girl at the university.” Over the years, that tradition has grown to recognize an awardee from each of the university’s seven schools and colleges.

LeDuc’s research on microstructures featured
Advanced Science News

An image of MechE’s Philip LeDuc’s research on microstructures was featured in Advanced Science News' “This month in pictures” for April 2020. The image, which is likened to a garden maze, shows a microstructure made by LeDuc and his colleagues. The image was originally featured in issue 16 of Small.


LeDuc receives Lazarus Award
The Piper

MechE’s Philip LeDuc has recieved the 2020 Barbara Lazarus Award for Graduate Student and Junior Faculty Mentoring. Named after a beloved member of the Carnegie Mellon community, the Barbara Lazarus Award celebrates those who foster an inviting and nurturing environment for graduate students and young faculty at the university. It was first awarded in 2005.

Presto quoted on Pittsburgh air pollution
York Dispatch

MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted in the York Dispatch on the decrease in Pittsburgh air pollution after the coronavirus shutdown. Presto said he first noticed an “obvious change” to air quality levels, specifically for particulate matter, after March 13, when Gov. Tom Wolf first ordered a shutdown of all nonessential businesses and closed schools throughout Pennsylvania. With fewer vehicles on the road, scientists have taken note of the almost-overnight effects of lower air pollution. “There's a definite difference,” Presto said of the changes in air quality in March. “It was like a light switch almost.”

Protecting health care workers

Health care workers are particularly vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 during intubation procedures when patients can expel a broad spray of infectious fluid. Burak Ozdoganlar, the Ver Planck Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and collaborators in the Heritage Valley Health System in Western Pennsylvania have a solution—a clear, acrylic containment box that significantly reduces the risk of spreading the coronavirus.


CMU Engineering faculty awarded Scott Institute seed grants
Scott Institute

Eight research projects lead by CMU Engineering faculty have been awarded 2020 Seed Grants for Energy Research by the Scott Institue for Energy Innovation. The awards allow Carnegie Mellon professors to jump-start their cutting-edge work, and provide valuable funding to increase readiness for substantial external consideration and funding. 

The 2020 seed funding winners include the following engineering researchers:

EPP’s Paulina Jaramillo

MechE’s B. Reeja Jayan and Shawn Litster

ECE’s Vyas Sekar and Swarun Kumar

MechE’s Sheng Shen and ECE’s Xu Zhang

EPP’s Parth Vaishnav and EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot 

ECE/CyLab’s Osman Yağan and ECE’s Carlee Joe-Wong

MSE’s Mohammad Islam

Presto quoted on Pittsburgh pollution
90.5 WESA

MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted by WESA about pollution since the coronavirus pandemic brought stay-at-home orders to Pittsburgh. Pollution in Pittsburgh has “flatlined” since stay-at-home orders have shut down large parts of the economy, said Presto, who’s been watching air quality monitors around Allegheny County. He said those drops are especially detectable during morning and evening rush hours. “Typically you see a big bump (in pollution) every morning from people going to work,” he said. “That’s pretty much disappeared the last couple of weeks.”

College of Engineering students earn NSF GRFP awards
National Science Foundation

Several students in the College of Engineering have earned National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program awards, and some have received honorable mention. Congratulations to the following students: 

Award Honorees

Susana Beltrán (MechE)
Kevin Dai (MechE)
Xining Gao (BME)
Anatoliy Kuznetsov (ChemE)
Victor Rodriguez (EPP)
Varun Shankar (MechE)
Shivani Shukla (BME)
Angela Yang (BME) 
Jessica Yin (MechE)

Honorable Mention

Alexander Bills (MechE)
Jacob Brenneman (MechE)
Emma Clement (CEE)
Nolen Keeys (MechE)
Ryan Yeh (MechE)


Beuth quoted on 3D printing

MechE’s Jack Beuth was quoted in Axios on using 3D printing to help fight coronavirus. While some suggest 3D printing can be used to quickly make equipment to fight the novel coronavirus, Beuth says 3D printing is not as fast as traditional manufacturing. Furthermore, life-saving equipment, such as ventilators, can’t be 3D printed because they’re subject to strict regulations. “You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to print it, it looks good, we’re good to go,’” Beuth said. “It’s not really a technical challenge. It’s the delay in introducing a new manufacturing process.”

Bettinger, Dahl, and Zhang named AIMBE Fellows

BME/MSE’s Christopher Bettinger, BME/ChemE’s Kris Dahl, and MechE’s Jessica Zhang have been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)’s College of Fellows, Class of 2020. Bettinger and Zhang were nominated by BME Head Bin He; Dahl was nominated by Professor Joyce Wong at Boston University. The fellowship is an honorific designation, and fellows are expected to contribute to AIMBE’s critical mission to advance excellence and advocate for the medical and biological engineering fields. Zhang has also been elected as an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Fellow (2019).

Panat on Finding Genius Podcast
Finding Genius Podcast

MechE’s Rahul Panat was a guest on the Finding Genius Podcast; he discussed his work in microscale additive manufacturing, microelectronics, and 3D printing. “[My] focus is on using this technology—of micro and nanoscale 3D printing—to create new types of biomedical devices, or giving additional functionality to biomedical devices, getting high capacity lithium batteries, and creating more sensitive sensors for various applications,” said Panat.

CMU Engineering participates in third annual “Rethink the Rink”

CMU Engineering teamed up with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Covestro—a materials supplier—in the third annual “Rethink the Rink” make-a-thon. This year, they were also joined by sports equipment supplier Bauer Hockey. Over spring break, teams of students created shoulder and elbow pad designs to better protect hockey players. Students maximized protection and mobility by using various materials. 

“The Make-a-thon not only gives students an opportunity to apply their problem-solving and analytic skills to a real-world challenge, but also to expand their professional networks beyond the academic setting through collaboration with industry experts,” said William Sanders, dean of the College of Engineering.

Rethink the Rink activity was covered in multiple outlets including Rubber World and Plastics News, as well as on NHL.com and Covestro’s web site.

Coronavirus information
Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon is taking preventative measures to protect the well-being of its university community as the coronavirus outbreak continues to be a rapidly changing situation. Until further notice, all CMU graduate and undergraduate programs on the Pittsburgh campus will move to remote, virtual or alternative teaching and assessment. See the latest updates.


Whitefoot’s paper cited on Trump policy
The Atlantic

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot’s paper was cited in The Atlantic on the Trump administration’s Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule policy. This policy, called SAFE for short, is in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study—a study Whitefoot and her co-authors claim has “fundamental flaws and inconsistencies.”


Rabin recognized for cryopreservation work
National Institutes of Health

MechE’s Yoed Rabin has been recognized multiple times for his impressive work with cryopreservation. Rabin received two grants from the National Institutes of Health, and was elected as an Honorary Member of the International Society of Cryosurgery.

IEEE Spectrum features Soft Machines Lab video
IEEE Spectrum

IEEE Spectrum’s Video Friday featured a video about a new soft, multifunctional composite from MechE’s Carmel Majidi’s Soft Machines Lab. The composite remains electrically conductive when stretched and exhibits a number of other desirable properties for soft robotics and stretchable electronics.

Cagan research on training AI in design featured
ZME Science

ZME Science featured a new study by MechE’s Jon Cagan and Ph.D. candidate Ayush Raina that shows how artificial intelligence (AI) can be trained to learn complex design problems. In their research, they had neural networks watch human designers during the design process and then emulate them. This reaped results just as good, if not better, than human designers.

Zhang delivers keynote on neuron material transport simulation

MechE’s Jessica Zhang recently spoke at an INdAM workshop on Geometric Challenges in Isogeometric Analysis in Rome, Italy from January 27 - 31. She presented her latest research on material transport simulation in complex neurite networks using isogeometric analysis and machine learning techniques. This project was initialized by a MechE departmental seed grant and now is being supported by NSF.

Taylor featured in interdisciplinary podcast
Office Hours

MechE’s Rebecca Taylor was featured in Office Hours, Joyce Wang’s podcast focused on interdisciplinary cooperation. In it, Taylor discusses nanotechnology, design, and more with CMU Fine Arts Professor Molly Steenson.


CMU Engineering honors staff in 25th annual recognition awards

On January 22, CMU Engineering staff gathered for the 25th annual College of Engineering Staff Recognition Awards, honoring their work in 2019. Length-of-service awards were presented for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 35 years in the college, as well as individual awards. The Innovation Award went to MechE’s Rachel Teeny. CEE’s Cathy Shaefer won the Inspirational Leadership Award. The Continuous Excellence Award went to CEE’s David Vey. EPP’s Adam Loucks received the Spirit Award. The Rookie Award went to CyLab’s Terri Deasy. MSE’s Jeanna Pekarcik won the Burritt Education Award for enthusiasm for education. View photos from the event.

Cohon, Robinson, and Muller published in Bloomberg Environment about natural gas extraction
Bloomberg Environment

CEE/EPP’s Jared Cohon, EPP’s Nicholas Muller, and MechE Head Allen Robinson published a letter about the costs of gas extraction in Bloomberg Environment. “The fact that the impacts from emissions cross county and state boundaries is a clear indication of the need for federal management of natural gas extraction and use,” they write. “Our contention is that society must determine whether these trade-offs are, in effect, worth it.”

Barati Farimani develops new water-desalination material
Popular Mechanics

MechE’s Amir Barati Farimani was featured in Popular Mechanics for developing a new material to improve the process of water desalination. The team’s metal organic framework is micro-thin and was shown in simulations to perform water desalination better than the traditional membrane method.

Majidi’s new soft materials featured in multiple outlets

MechE’s Carmel Majidi and his Soft Machines Lab were recognized by Create Digital Magazine, SiliconRepublic, and Tech Briefs for creating a new classes of materials for soft robotics, including shape-morphing, self-healing “Thubber,” which can stretch, change shape, and conduct heat and electricity with a portable electronic source of power. The team has also created a stretchable material that senses, processes, and responds to its environment. “Because it has neural-like electrical pathways, it is one step closer to artificial nervous tissue,” says Majidi.



St. Pierre named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30

Forbes has named MechE postdoctoral researcher Ryan St. Pierre to its 30 Under 30 Science 2020 list. St. Pierre develops microscale, insect-inspired robots in Meche’s Sarah Bergbreiter’s lab.


de Boer's article featured on journal cover
Journal of Applied Physics

A paper by MechE’s Maarten de Boer was featured on the cover of Journal of Applied Physics. It was also promoted as an Editor’s Pick and will be displayed on the journal’s homepage.

LeDuc joins Beckman Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Council
Beckman Foundation

MechE’s Philip LeDuc has joined the Beckman Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Council. LeDuc received the Beckman young Investigator Award in 2005 and has since served the foundation in many roles, including as a member of the Executive Committee of the Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows Program. In his new role, he will advise and review the Foundation’s program and award winners for the Board of Directors, as well as suggest changes or new avenues for funding.

Robinson published op-ed in Scientific American
Scientific American

MechE Head Allen Robinson published an opinion piece in Scientific American about air quality in the United States and the work that still needs to be done to improve it. ”There is emerging evidence of significant public health impacts of fine-particle pollution,” he noted. “More than 30,000 premature deaths could be avoided by tightening the standard—with greater impacts, on average, in counties that have lower incomes and higher poverty rates.”