Texas A&M Engineering News The Look College is one of the largest engineering schools in the country, ranking third in undergraduate enrollment and sixth in graduate enrollment by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in its 2011 survey. The Look College also ranked seventh in the number bachelor's degrees awarded, 13th in master's degrees awarded and 10th in doctoral degrees awarded. And our college consistently ranks among the nation's top public undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. http://engineering.tamu.edu Fri, 27 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST Fri, 27 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST Floudas awarded Constantin Caratheodory Prize Kidron Vestal <kidron@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/27/floudas-awarded-constantin-caratheodory-prize <p><a href="/chemical/people/floudas-chris"><img width="210" height="270" src="/media/2213490/floudas_web_2015.jpg" alt="floudas_web" class="leftalign"/>Dr. Christodoulos Floudas</a>, director of the Texas A&amp;M Energy Institute and the Erle Nye ’59 Chair Professor for Engineering Excellence, was awarded the <a href="http://www.isogop.org/caratheodory-prize">Constantin Caratheodory Prize</a> by the International Society of Global Optimization (iSoGO) in a presentation at the World Congress on Global Optimization in Gainesville, Florida, on Feb. 24. </p> <p>Floudas is one of three individuals to receive this joint prize. The bi-annual award is given to an individual or group who has made fundamental contributions to theory, algorithms and applications of global optimization.</p> <p>“I am honored and humbled by this lifetime recognition, especially since this award bears the name of the great mathematician Constantin Carathéodory," said Floudas, who is a member of iSoGO. </p> <p>Floudas’ research interests lie at the interface of chemical engineering, applied mathematics, operations research, computer science and molecular biology. Among other areas, his research relies heavily on mathematical modeling at the microscopic, mesoscopic and macroscopic level, rigorous optimization theory, algorithms and large-scale computations on high performance clusters of workstations. </p> <p>He is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering. </p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/27/floudas-awarded-constantin-caratheodory-prize http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/27/floudas-awarded-constantin-caratheodory-prize Fri, 27 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST Graduate Student Invitational: Chemical engineering department Kidron Vestal <kidron@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/27/graduate-student-invitational-chemical-engineering-department <p>Twelve men and women from around the nation attended a graduate student invitational in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering Feb. 27, 2015, wherein they learned first-hand about the program and had opportunities to meet and consult with faculty and students. The attendees have been accepted into the graduate student program and have until April 15 of this year to finalize their decision. </p> <p><img width="472" height="315" src="/media/2254724/katieford_472x315.jpg" alt="katieford"/></p> <p>Katie Ford (above left), a visiting senior from Auburn University, listens as Abhijeet Shinde, Ph.D. student, discusses his research. Ford said she wanted to observe the "different applications of research and how students were able to branch off...to get a feel for their freedom. All the answers were really positive." While she said she hasn't made her decision yet, Ford said, "I'll probably be coming here." </p> <p><img width="700" height="467" src="/media/2254723/gradstudents-copy_700x467.jpg" alt="gradstudents" class="leftalign"/></p> <p>Wen Zhu (above left), Ph.D. student, presents her research to Dr. Chad Mashuga, assistant professor of chemical engineering, and Candria Jones (center), a student visiting from Prairie View Texas A&amp;M University. </p> <p><img width="700" height="467" src="/media/2254725/yanpu_700x467.jpg" alt="gradstudents2" class="leftalign"/>Ph.D. student Yanpu Zhang (above) shared with prospective graduate students her various experiences in research. "Even though I am a second-year student, I've already finished a manuscript and I'll give an oral presentation at the American Physical Society (APS) next week in San Antonio. I'm happy to show our research and what can be done here."</p> <p>Dr. Arul Jayaraman, professor of chemcial engineering and the director of the graduate program, said, "We offer a very vibrant and diverse academic environment which we think will prepare students for careers in chemical engineering and other opportunities after graduation." </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/27/graduate-student-invitational-chemical-engineering-department http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/27/graduate-student-invitational-chemical-engineering-department Fri, 27 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST Computer Science and Engineering faculty and students participate in AAAI-2015 and IAAI-15 Kathy Flores <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/25/computer-science-and-engineering-faculty-and-students-participate-in-aaai-2015-and-iaai-15 <p><img width="510" height="301" src="/media/2228277/aaai_2015_choe_510x301.jpg" alt="AAAI 2015 - Choe" class="leftalign"/>Faculty and students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at Texas A&amp;M University recently participated in the top joint conference in the world for artificial intelligence research. The AAAI Twenty-Ninth Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-2015) co-located with the Twenty-Seventh Annual Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence (IAAI-15) was held in Austin, Texas, from Jan. 25-29.</p> <p>During the IAAI-15 Paper Session on <i>Semantic Web, Knowledge Based Systems, and Ontologies</i>, CSE doctoral student Sasin Janpuangtong presented, "Leveraging Ontologies to Improve Model Generalization Automatically with Online Data Sources," co-authored by CSE Assistant Professor <a href="/cse/people/dshell">Dylan Shell</a> and Janpuangtong. Their research describes a framework that allows a novice to create models that generalize from data easily. "Making it easier to produce models, opens up vistas for inexperienced users; and helping automate the process of making sense of—and providing new interpretations for—existing data is one way to tame the deluge of data," said Shell.</p> <p>An invited presentation, "Fully Decentralized Task Swaps with Optimized Local Searching," by Lantao Liu, CSE Shell's former graduate student, Nathan Michael, and Shell was presented by Postdoctoral Fellow Liu during the Texas VII section of the <i>AAAI-2015 Technical Sessions / Robotics: Science and Systems 2014 Presentations</i>. The research demonstrated that the proposed fully decentralized task swap method "converges quickly without sacrificing much optimality."</p> <p><img width="329" height="235" src="/media/2228280/aaai_2015_hammond_329x235.jpg" alt="AAAI 2015 - Hammond" class="rightalign"/>CSE Associate Professor <a href="/cse/people/tahammond">Tracy Hammond</a>, director of the Sketch Recognition Lab; Laura Barreto, Hammond's previous summer Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates student; and CSE doctoral student Paul Taele co-authored "Maestoso: An Intelligent Educational Sketching Tool for Learning Music Theory." Barreto and Taele presented their research during the IAAI-15 Paper Session on <i>Machine Learning, Information Fusion, and HCI</i>. They described an intelligent sketch user interface for teaching music theory to novice music students through sketching and automated feedback.</p> <p>In AAAI-2015's Technical <i>Funding Information Session</i>, CSE graduate student Anshul Gupta presented an article entitled "Automatic Assessment of OCR Quality in Historical Documents," which describes an iterative classification algorithm to identify errors in optical character recognition of early-modern texts (1475-1800). The work was a collaborative project between Professor Laura Mandel from Texas A&amp;M's Department of English and CSE professors <a href="/cse/people/rfuruta">Rick Furuta</a> and <a href="/cse/people/rgutierrez-osuna">Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna</a>.</p> <p>Workshops to discuss frontiers in AI were featured at the conference. CSE Professor <a href="/cse/people/cyoonsuck">Yoonsuck Choe</a>, director of the Brain Networks Laboratory, and his students presented the poster "Tool Construction and Use Challenge: Tooling Test Rebooted" at Workshop 6 - <i>Beyond the Turing Test</i>. The poster proposed the possibility of using tool construction and tool use as a measure of intelligence, an ability observed only in humans and a handful of animals.</p> <p>Another workshop co-located with AAAI-2015 was the <a href="/news/2015/02/11/shell-and-amato-co-organize-nsf-sponsored-workshop"> NSF-sponsored Workshop on Research Issues at the Boundary of AI and Robotics</a> organized by CSE Unocal Professor <a href="/cse/people/namato">Nancy M. Amato</a>, CSE's Shell, and Dr. Sven Koenig of the University of Southern California. One of the goal's of this workshop was to produce a roadmap for future work at the boundary of AI and robotics. CSE Raytheon Professor <a href="/cse/people/rmurphy">Robin R. Murphy</a> was an invited speaker posing the question—AI and Robotics: Are We Asking the Right Questions? Murphy also co-chaired a breakout session for the workshop.</p> <p><a href="http://crasar.org/"><img width="328" height="219" src="/media/2228278/aaai_2015_suarez_328x219.jpg" alt="AAAI 2015 - Suarez" class="leftalign"/></a><a href="http://crasar.org/">TEES Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue</a> (CRASAR) students NSF Graduate Fellow Brittany Duncan, NSF Bridge to the Doctorate Fellow Jesus Suarez, and Grant Wilde, a CSE graduate student in computer engineering, exhibited different rescue robots at the AAAI-15 exhibition. The students and CRASAR director Murphy were featured in interviews by Austin affiliate KVUE (<a href="http://www.kvue.com/story/news/local/2015/01/26/artificial-intelligence-robots-austin/22376941/">http://www.kvue.com/story/news/local/2015/01/26/artificial-intelligence-robots-austin/22376941/</a>) and Houston KHOU (<a href="http://www.khou.com/story/news/local/texas/2015/01/27/artificial-intelligence-on-display-austin-conference/22394269/">http://www.khou.com/story/news/local/texas/2015/01/27/artificial-intelligence-on-display-austin-conference/22394269/</a>).</p> <p>———<br /> <i>Photo top left:</i> Dr. Yoonsuck Choe (3rd from left) and his students<br /> <i>Photo bottom left:</i> Jesus Suarez manning the CRASAR booth<br /> <i>Photo right:</i> Laura Barreto at lectern</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/25/computer-science-and-engineering-faculty-and-students-participate-in-aaai-2015-and-iaai-15 http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/25/computer-science-and-engineering-faculty-and-students-participate-in-aaai-2015-and-iaai-15 Wed, 25 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST Three of a Kind: Chemical engineering faculty awarded Kidron Vestal <kidron@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/three-of-a-kind-chemical-engineering-faculty-awarded <p>Three faculty members from the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering will be recognized by the Dwight Look College of Engineering at an awards banquet May 6 for honors they have recently received.  </p> <p><a href="/materials/people/jlutkenhaus"><img width="210" height="270" src="/media/2158146/lutkenhaus_web.jpg" alt="lutkenhaus_2015" class="leftalign"/>Dr. Jodie Lutkenhaus</a>, associate professor and William and Ruth Neely Faculty Fellow, received the <strong>George Armistead, Jr. ’23 Faculty Excellence Teaching Award</strong> for the second time. “My approach to teaching is to make the material as interesting and engaging as possible. I also believe that all students deserve a fair chance in the course, so I try to help any who are weak in a particular area to bring them up to speed,” said Lutkenhaus.</p> <p> </p> <p><a href="/chemical/people/vugaz"><img width="210" height="270" src="/media/1535802/Ugaz_Web.jpg" alt="Ugaz Web" class="leftalign"/>Dr. Victor Ugaz</a>, professor and holder of the Charles D. Holland ’53 Professorship, received the <strong>Charles Crawford Distinguished Service Award</strong>. “It is an incredible inspiration to work at a place like Texas A&amp;M where the students and faculty are so committed to service, both in their profession and in the community,” said Ugaz, who also is an associate department head and director of the undergraduate program. </p> <p>   </p> <p> </p> <p><a href="/chemical/people/zcheng"><img width="210" height="270" src="/media/2142404/cheng_2015_web.jpg" alt="cheng_2015" class="leftalign"/>Dr. Zhengdong Cheng</a>, associate professor, received the <strong>William Keeler Memorial Award</strong>. “The opportunity to contribute toward the ever-advancing state of chemical engineering at Texas A&amp;M is a wonder and a passion for myself and others in this discipline. To see my research group collaborate in this way makes the award all the more meaningful,” said Cheng. </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/three-of-a-kind-chemical-engineering-faculty-awarded http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/three-of-a-kind-chemical-engineering-faculty-awarded Tue, 24 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST Huang presented Google Faculty Research Award Kathy Flores <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/huang-presented-google-faculty-research-award <p><a href="/cse/people/huang-jeff"><img width="197" height="265" src="/media/1462018/jeffhuang-tamu-web.jpg" alt="Image Of Jeff Huang" class="leftalign"/>Dr. Jeff Huang</a>, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, was chosen by the Google Faculty Research Awards Program as a recipient of financial support for his proposal, "Scalable and Practical Debugging Techniques for Large Concurrent Software." This project is one of 122 chosen from a total of 808 considered by Google during its winter 2015 call for research project proposals.</p> <p>"Software debugging is a challenging task, yet debugging parallel software is harder," said Huang. "The goal of this research project is to investigate scalable and practical debugging techniques for real world parallel software running on multicore platforms.</p> <p>"Parallel software, which allows multiple computations executed in parallel, is the only way to unleash the computation power provided by today's multicore processors. Unfortunately, parallel programming is much harder, and debugging parallel programs is notoriously difficult. When a failure occurs in a parallel program, it is even challenging to reproduce the failure because the scheduling of parallel computations may not be deterministic.</p> <p>"The hoped for result of this research is that it will lead to a debugging framework that will help diagnose failures in large complex parallel software by quickly detecting, reproducing, and localizing failures with minimal program slowdown."</p> <p>Huang joined the Parasol Laboratory in fall 2014. He came to Texas A&amp;M from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he was a postdoctoral research associate working with Dr. Grigore Rosu on "Runtime Verification of Concurrent and Distributed Systems." Huang currently teaches a graduate course in Fundamentals of Software Analysis.</p> <p>His research focuses on developing techniques and tools for improving software performance and reliability based on fundamental program analyses and programming language theory.</p> <p>Among Huang's many honors are the 2013 ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Dissertation Award for his doctoral thesis, "Effective Methods for Debugging Concurrent Software," and a Distinguished Paper Award from the 2013 ACM SIGPLAN conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI). He was also the winner of the 2012 PLDI Student Research Competition and a winner of the 2010 Professor Samuel Chanson Best Teaching Assistant Award.</p> <p>One of the goals of the Google Faculty Research Awards Program is to fund leading edge advancements in new technology projects in computer science, engineering, and related fields. Its next submission deadline is April 15, 2015. To learn more about the Google Faculty Research Awards Program, visit <a target="_blank" href="http://research.google.com/university/relations/research_awards.html">http://research.google.com/university/relations/research_awards.html</a>.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/huang-presented-google-faculty-research-award http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/huang-presented-google-faculty-research-award Tue, 24 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST Jiménez in HPCA Hall of Fame Rachel Rose <rdaggie@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/jimenez-in-hpca-hall-of-fame <p><img width="180" height="245" src="/media/552380/jimenez.jpg" alt="Image of Daniel Jimenez" class="leftalign"/>Dr. Daniel A. Jiménez, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, has been included in the High Performance Computer Architecture (HPCA) Hall of Fame for having seven papers in the IEEE International Symposium on High Performance Computer Architecture. There are 47 researchers from across the country who have this prestigious designation, for which one needs six or more papers published in the HCPA.</p> <p>Jiménez has been a faculty member with since 2013. He received his bachelor's degree in computer science and systems design and his master's degree in computer science, both from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He received his Ph.D. in computer sciences from the University of Texas at Austin.</p> <p>His five most recent HPCA papers are listed below.</p> <p>— "Adaptive Placement and Migration Policy for an STT-RAM-Based Hybrid Cache," HPCA 2014, co-authored with Zhe Wang, Cong Xu, Guangyu Sun, and Yuan Xie. This paper proposes a hybrid last-level cache using spin torque transfer RAM alongside SRAM giving the capacity advantage of STT-RAM with the write-latency advantage of SRAM.<br /><br />— "Improving Cache Performance Using Read-Write Partitioning," HPCA 2014, co-authored with Samira Khan, Alaa R. Alameldeen, Chris Wilkerson, and Onur Mutlu. This paper shows that distinguishing between clean and dirty blocks in cache sets enables a superior replacement policy, yielding improved performance. This paper was nominated for the Best Paper award.<br /><br />— "Improving Multi-Core Performance Using Mixed-Cell Cache Architecture," HPCA 2013, co-authored with Samira Khan, Alaa Alameldeen, Chris Wilkerson, and Jaydeep Kulkarni. This paper introduces a last-level cache design that mixes large SRAM cells with small SRAM cells to provide improved capacity while maintaining reliability by keeping modified data in the large cells. The idea enables an improvement in both performance and power.<br /><br />— "Decoupled Dynamic Cache Segmentation," HPCA 2012, HPCA 2012, co-authored with Samira M. Khan and Zhe Wang. This paper shows how to divide cache sets into two partitions, each of which is managed with a different replacement policy. It proposes a novel prediction mechanism to find the best size for a partition. The technique improves performance while allowing a reduced hardware budget.<br /><br />— "A Decoupled KILO-Instruction Processor," HPCA 2006, co-authored with Miquel Pericàs, Ruben González, Adrian Cristal, and Mateo Valero. This paper shows how to combine many in-order components to build a large-instruction-window processor with low implementation cost. It introduces the concept of "execution locality" and exploits it to build a high-performance microprocessor.</p> <p>Jiménez’s research interests include computer architecture and compliers. He is known for inventing the perceptron branch predictor, first published with co-author Calvin Lin in HPCA 2001. This method for predicting conditional branches is now used in machines made by AMD and Oracle. This semester, he is teaching CSCE 613: (Advanced) Operating Systems.</p> <p>Yingying Tian is a current Ph.D. student at Texas A&amp;M and Zhe Wang is a former Texas A&amp;M Ph.D. student who is now working for Intel.</p> <p>The IEEE Computer Society is a community for leaders in the technology sphere and the world's leading membership organization dedicated to computer science and technology. This organization sponsors more than <a href="http://www.computer.org/web/conferences">200 technical conferences</a> and events each year, and the meeting this February was the 21st conference in the series.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/jimenez-in-hpca-hall-of-fame http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/jimenez-in-hpca-hall-of-fame Tue, 24 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST Texas A&M-led research aimed at treating brain aneurysms receives $2.5 million NIH grant Ryan Garcia <ryan.garcia99@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/maitland-grant <p><img width="700" height="603" src="/media/2226501/d-maitland-in-lab-web.jpg" alt="Maitland in lab"/></p> <p>A Texas A&amp;M University-led research effort aimed at treating potentially fatal brain aneurysms by filling them with polymer foams has received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with the goal of beginning human trials by 2018. </p> <p>The three-year grant, which is supported by the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), is led by Duncan Maitland, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&amp;M. Maitland’s team of researchers includes colleagues from his department, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&amp;M, and Mayo Medical School. The research is a collaboration between Maitland’s Biomedical Device Laboratory and the startup company Shape Memory Therapeutics. </p> <p>The treatment, Maitland explains, makes use of special plastics called polyurethane-based shape memory polymer foams (SMPs) and could provide doctors with a more effective and less risky method for treating aneurysms – blood-filled, balloon-like bulges in the walls of a blood vessels that can rupture and cause neurological damage that is debilitating or even fatal, especially if near the brain. </p> <p>Cerebral aneurysm ruptures occur in 30,000 people per year in the United States, and nearly 75 percent of those patients will either die or become neurologically debilitated, Maitland says.</p> <p>Typically, treatment of aneurysms involves implanting platinum coils to reduce pressure on the vessel walls so that healing can occur before the aneurysm ruptures, Maitland says. These coils, he explains, can be effective but also can pose risks to the patient. In addition to sometimes causing inflammation that can inhibit healing, these coils can compact over time and cause subsequent rupture or re-rupture or lead to the formation of aneurysms adjacent to the original aneurysm, he says.</p> <p>Maitland is working to overcome the limitations of conventional treatment methods by employing an alternate filling method for aneurysms that relies on polyurethane-based SMP foam instead of platinum coils. These foams have the ability to be made into a primary shape and then transformed into another shape with an increase in temperature, Maitland notes.</p> <p>Their shape-shifting ability makes these foams an ideal material for filling aneurysms, he explains. In Maitland’s system, the SMP foam remains in a temporary crimped shape so that it can be inserted into a blood vessel and delivered to the aneurysm with the use of a microcatheter. Once at the aneurysm site, the foam is triggered to expand and fill the aneurysm sac by body temperature, Maitland says. Similar to how a sponge works, the SMP foam enables blood to fill the aneurysm, forming a clot and promoting and accelerating healing through the volume of the aneurysm and, importantly, at the neck or opening of the aneurysm.</p> <p>No current devices, Maitland says, match both the volume filling and surface area characteristics of the team’s SMP-based device. For the 2mm diameter coil, the surface area is 29 times more than the next best device, and the volume filling is 20 times better than the next best device, Maitland notes. That’s important because high surface area and improved volume filling lead to dramatically improved healing when compared to bare platinum coils, Maitland explains. </p> <p>Test results have revealed SMP foams promote long-term health of the areas of the blood vessel affected by the aneurysm, reducing the chances of the aneurysm reforming, Maitland says. This is evidenced, he explains, by the formation of the types of cells and tissue that lead to a more stabilized healing. For example, aneurysms treated with SMP foams show an increased presence of collagen instead of fibrin. Collagen, he says, is a far more mechanically stable tissue than fibrin, which is a short-term “patch” and abundant in aneurysms treated with coils. That’s a promising finding, Maitland says, because the more stabilized an aneurysm is, the less likely it will be to require re-treatment – something that unfortunately occurs in about 40 percent of aneurysms treated with coils.</p> <p>In addition to demonstrating the promotion of an aggressive healing response in aneurysms, the SMP foams developed by Maitland and his team are showing strong signs of biocompatibility – their ability to be accepted by the body. In fact, the foams are outperforming other FDA-approved materials used in blood vessels, he notes. That’s important, Maitland says, because it means less inflammation in the area, which can inhibit the healing process. Typically, foreign objects implanted in the body trigger an inflammatory response as the body attempts to reject them, but the SMP foams used by Maitland show minimal inflammation once they are inserted into the aneurysm. Histology studies comparing SMP foams to two types of commonly used FDA-approved sutures used in vascular surgeries show the foams to outperform both types of sutures, meaning fewer cells associated with inflammation are showing up near the foams, Maitland notes.</p> <p><img width="700" height="262" src="/media/2226502/smp-foam-web.jpg" alt="SMP foam"/><em>[A crimped SMP foam device is delivered to an aneurysm via catheter and then expands to a permanent shape within the aneurysm where it stabilizes the aneurysm and promotes healing.]</em></p> <p>The team’s grant is titled, “Shape Memory Polymer Embolic Foams for Treating Cerebrovascular Aneurysms” and is funded under the NINDS Cooperative Program in Translational Research (U01). </p> <p>Shape Memory Therapeutics has contracted with BioTex, Inc., a medical device manufacturer based in Houston to lead product development and manufacturing for the project. Ashok Gowda, president of BioTex, will work with the research team. Gowda is a 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award recipient of the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&amp;M. </p> <p>Additional senior team members include Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&amp;M; Fred Clubb, director of the Cardiovascular Pathology Laboratory in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&amp;M; Jonathan Hartman, chair of the Shape Memory Therapeutics advisory board; David Kallmes, M.D., at the Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic; and Linda Mummah-Schendel, NAMSA Medical Research Manager. Pre-clinical, quality systems and regulatory support will be provided by NAMSA, a medical research organization providing expert regulatory, laboratory, clinical and compliance services to medical device and healthcare product manufacturers.</p> <p>Contact: Duncan Maitland, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, at 979.458.3471 or via email: <a href="mailto:djmaitland@tamu.edu">djmaitland@tamu.edu</a> or Ryan Garcia at 979.847.5833 or via email: <a href="mailto:ryan.garcia99@tamu.edu">ryan.garcia99@tamu.edu</a>. </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/maitland-grant http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/24/maitland-grant Tue, 24 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST Biomedical engineering undergrad making a difference through research Ryan Garcia <ryan.garcia99@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/20/undergrad-barry-research <p><img width="700" height="525" src="/media/2221149/barry-in-lab-web_700x525.jpg" alt="Mikayla Barry"/></p> <p>Mikayla Barry always knew she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, but the undergraduate biomedical engineering major had no idea she would be helping develop a potentially life-saving technology so soon after embarking upon her academic career at Texas A&amp;M University.</p> <p>Merely a year into the pursuit of her degree, the 20-year-old Barry is working to develop a coating for medical devices that prevents clotting as well as infection. She’s part of a research team led by Associate Professor Melissa Grunlan, an authority on biomaterials and regenerative therapies from the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.</p> <p>Though it’s still in its initial stages of development, early tests indicate the coating – which can be applied to a variety of implantable medical devices such as catheters – demonstrates a reduction in protein adhesion as well as common bacteria adhesion, Grunlan notes. In other words, blood and bacteria are less able to stick to the coating, meaning fewer clots and a decreased chance of infection. That’s particularly important for patients treated with catheters, Grunlan explains.</p> <p>“People who have end-stage renal disease may receive dialysis with a catheter, but these catheters are very prone to failure due to thrombosis, or clotting, on the device, Grunlan says. “The worst-case scenario is that the clot can be dislodged and lead to a potentially fatal embolism.”</p> <hr /> <h3>"It’s a learning experience that integrates what I am learning in the classroom with what I would like to do in a laboratory environment someday after I graduate.”</h3> <hr /> <p>Looking to overcome this serious issue, medical professionals have relied on the anti-clotting drug heparin, which is typically locked within the catheter, but that approach can result in the inadvertent leaking of heparin into a patient. When this happens, Grunlan notes, the patient is essentially on a blood thinner during a time when he or she may require surgery due to poor health. It’s a bad combination, and what’s more, the outer surfaces of the catheter remain susceptible to clotting, she explains.</p> <p>A better solution, Grunlan believes, lies in the manufacturing of a better catheter – one that’s more effective at preventing clotting and infection and less of a risk to patients. Achieving this, however, is no easy task; it requires manipulating the materials from which the catheter is made on a molecular level… That’s where Barry comes in.</p> <p>While such work may seem exceedingly complex for the average sophomore, the biomaterials research being conducted by Barry is right in her wheelhouse. An academic standout with a lifelong love for chemistry (her mother is a chemistry teacher) and the medical field, the Bryan, Texas native was eager to work in a lab environment.</p> <p>“Coming to Texas A&amp;M I was amazed by the biomedical engineering department and the applications that were available in pretty much anything medically related,” she said. “When I realized that I could combine that with chemistry, I knew I had a future in this and I’m excited.”</p> <p>The acclimation process was a rapid one for Barry; within weeks of joining Grunlan’s lab, she was producing the polymer coatings for the catheters and studying how the coatings interacted with the devices on which they were applied.</p> <p>“She took a typical path that a lot of our undergraduate student researchers do, although she started earlier than is typical – being a freshman is quite young to start research,” Grunlan said. “She is a very bright and motivated student and has demonstrated a strong research ability.”</p> <p>Barry acknowledged her initial days in the lab were defined by a steep learning curve.</p> <p>“Those first couple of weeks were quite exhausting, but considering where I am now, I am really glad I was put in head first because it gave me such a great opportunity to grow as a researcher and scholar,” Barry said. “While it’s a lot of time investment, it’s also time that is invested in my ability to learn, and what I learn in the lab corresponds with other things that I’m learning in my classes.”</p> <p>It’s the ultimate hands-on experience for someone with Barry’s aspirations. Spending about 10 hours a week in the lab, she conducts a range of experiments and tests that involve not only manufacturing the polymer coating but constantly measuring its effectiveness through a variety of different techniques that enable her to assess and refine the design of the coating.</p> <p>This coating, Barry explains, works by blending in a polymer additive that when incorporated into the main catheter material causes a specific interaction when the device surface contacts blood. When this happens, she says, a molecular reorganization of the surface takes place, and a hydrophilic, or water-attracting, polymer blooms to the surface. Because bacteria and proteins don’t adhere well to hydrophilic surfaces the polymer coating prevents potential clots and infections from forming, she says.</p> <p>“One of the greatest things about working in Dr. Grunlan’s lab is that while I am an undergraduate they don’t treat me like one,” Barry said. “They include me in all of the theory, and they help me understand why I’m doing what I’m doing. It’s not like a part-time job where I am just fulfilling tasks; it’s a learning experience that integrates what I am learning in the classroom with what I would like to do in a laboratory environment someday after I graduate.”</p> <p><img width="700" height="557" src="/media/2221148/barry-and-grunlan-web_700x557.jpg" alt="Mikayla Barry and Grunlan"/></p> <p>For now, it’s a fast and furious start to an academic career that’s already seen Barry honored as Texas A&amp;M’s first Beckman Scholar through an intensive written application and interview process that probed her goals, values and commitment to a career in scientific research and community service. The award honors the memory of Arnold O. Beckman. Beckman was founder-chairman emeritus of Beckman Instruments, Inc., and inventor of several scientific instruments, including the Beckman DU Spectrophotometer, which revolutionized chemical analysis.</p> <p>Through the scholars program, Barry and Grunlan attended the Beckman Symposium in Newport Beach last summer to meet other Beckman Scholars and mentors and hear presentations from prominent scientists from across the nation.</p> <p>Now a sophomore, Barry is engaging in additional activities as part of her Beckman Scholars Program. She is part of the first-year University Scholars seminar through which she is further developing her leadership skills. In addition, she meets periodically with the executive and editorial boards of “Explorations: the Texas A&amp;M Undergraduate Journal” to discover how review and publication decisions are made, and she is preparing applications for several national fellowships in STEM areas.</p> <hr /> <h3>“Those first couple of weeks were quite exhausting, but considering where I am now, I am really glad I was put in head first..."</h3> <hr /> <p>Barry also has taken on leadership roles in the Texas A&amp;M Wind Symphony and Advocates for Christ Today, a church-based social justice organization, while maintaining a 4.0 GPR and her status as an honors student in the Dwight Look College of Engineering Honors Program.</p> <p>This spring, she will present her research from Grunlan’s lab at a meeting of the National American Chemical Society in Denver where she will have the opportunity to speak with people from around the world about her work and also learn more about graduate school and a career in the biomaterials field, areas Barry intends to pursue with the same fervor that’s characterized her undergraduate studies.</p> <p>“After I graduate from Texas A&amp;M with my biomedical engineering degree I hope to continue graduate studies, preferably in polymer chemistry or some sort of biomaterials field,” she said. “I would like to earn my Ph.D. and do postdoctoral research and become a faculty member at a research university where I can be in a position to enable other undergraduates with the same type of experience I am having with Dr. Grunlan at Texas A&amp;M.”</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/20/undergrad-barry-research http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/20/undergrad-barry-research Fri, 20 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST Floudas recognized at Governor Abbott's 2015 State of the State Address Kidron Vestal <kidron@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/18/floudas-recognized-at-governor-abbotts-2015-state-of-the-state-address <p><img width="210" height="270" src="/media/2213490/floudas_web_2015.jpg" alt="floudas_web" class="leftalign"/><a href="/chemical/people/floudas-chris">Dr. Christodoulos Floudas</a> was recognized Tuesday, Feb. 17, by Governor Greg Abbott at the 2015 State of the State Address in Austin, Texas, before a joint session of the Texas House and Senate. Floudas was welcomed to the event by Abbott and introduced for his leadership of the Texas A&amp;M Energy Institute. A full-length <a href="http://gov.texas.gov/news/press-release/20543">press release</a> and a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qo6zViKBZE">video</a> of the event have been released by the governor's office.</p> <p>Floudas is the Erle Nye '59 Chair Professor for Engineering Excellence in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University. He is the director of the <a href="http://energyengineering.org/">Texas A&amp;M Energy Institute</a> and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/18/floudas-recognized-at-governor-abbotts-2015-state-of-the-state-address http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/18/floudas-recognized-at-governor-abbotts-2015-state-of-the-state-address Wed, 18 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST Eighth annual Teacher Summit draws more than 140 high school teachers from around Texas LaShanta Green <lashanta@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/18/eighth-annual-teacher-summit-draws-more-than-140-high-school-teachers-from-around-texas <p>The Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University in partnership with the Texas A&amp;M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) recently hosted more than 140 high school science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers from across Texas at the eighth annual Engineering Teacher Summit &amp; P-12 Leadership Forum.</p> <p>The Teacher Summit is offered at no cost to the teachers and administrators through the generous donations of Texas A&amp;M’s Public Partnership and Outreach, Office of the Provost, ETA hand2mind and Texas Instruments. In addition to receiving materials to supplement their high school curriculum, teachers and administrators earned eight hours of continuing education for participating in the event.</p> <p>Dr. M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering, and Dr. Valerie Taylor, senior associate dean for academic affairs in the Look College, each spoke to the attendees. Banks and Taylor emphasized the importance of properly preparing high school students for success in an engineering major. Each provided overviews of the College of Engineering and applauded the participants’ efforts to attend Teacher Summit in order to serve their students using innovative and interactive teaching methods.</p> <p>Dr. Christine Cunningham was the keynote speaker. Cunningham is the vice president at the Museum of Science, Boston and founder of Engineering is Elementary™, a groundbreaking project that engages elementary children (and their teachers) in principles of engineering and technology. Cunningham spoke on the importance of making engineering more relevant, accessible and understandable to underserved and underrepresented populations. </p> <p>Breakout sessions in the form of experiential workshops followed the morning presentations. The workshops were designed with participants in mind, allowing interactions with workshop facilitators and fellow high school teachers. The introduction of new curriculum is imperative to addressing the disconnect students have regarding STEM fields.</p> <p>“The sessions allow for teachers and administrators to work hands-on with the curriculum, allowing for transformation to take place at multiple levels,” said Dr. Johannes Strobel, director of Educational Outreach Programs. “Teachers and administrators leave the summit filled with ideas on how to incorporate their experiences with the curriculum into their own classrooms.”</p> <p>Immediately following the sessions, panel presentations gave attendees an opportunity to ask questions directly to Texas A&amp;M faculty and students about how to best prepare their students for college courses. Departments within the Look College along with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and several educational companies hosted resource tables to promote programs and opportunities of interest to high school students.</p> <p>To learn more about the Engineering Teacher Summit &amp; P-12 Leadership Forum, visit the <a href="http://stemsummit.tamu.edu/">website</a> or call the Office of Educational Outreach Programs at 979-458-8590.</p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/18/eighth-annual-teacher-summit-draws-more-than-140-high-school-teachers-from-around-texas http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/02/18/eighth-annual-teacher-summit-draws-more-than-140-high-school-teachers-from-around-texas Wed, 18 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST