Faculty and Grad Student News

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Chair in Academic Medicine, Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and a professor of Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering, blogs that on its first anniversary, the Food & Drug Administration’s Office of Minority Health – which he had advocated strongly for during his term on the National Science Board – invited him to speak on ways in which race, culture and ethnicity should be considered in adopting regulatory policies and actions. He delivered his talk as part of the first “FDA Commissioner Health Disparities Lectureship.”

Dr. Ashish Mhadeshwar, an assistant professor in the Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering Department, has received an American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund grant of $100,000 in support of his research program.  Dr. Mhadeshwar’s research primarily focuses on computational design of next-generation materials using scale-bridging computations and experiments.

Dr. Richard Parnas, professor of Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering, was awarded a three-year Chinese government grant, in collaboration with Sichuan University, to teach a course on reaction engineering to junior level chemical engineers and developing a research program on reactive distillation.  A major aim of the collaboration is to develop an exchange program with Sichuan University for undergraduate students to build upon the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two universities last year.

The Electrical & Computer Engineering Department recently honored two graduate students with spring 2012 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards. The recipients were Kimberly Kaltenecker, who served as an instructor in Dr. Eric Donkor’s Optical Engineering Laboratory, and Matthew Tarca, who taught in Dr. Sung Yeul Park’s Power Electronics course.  Kimberly (B.S. Electrical Engineering, North Carolina State) balances her academic life with participation as a trumpeter in UConn’s Marching Band. She seeks out undergraduate engineering students to assist them achieving the same school/life balance that she has mastered. Matthew (B.S. Electrical Engineering, UConn ’09) is involved in research involving system level topologies for smart grid and micro grids, and fuel cell power systems for portable applications.

Some major grants awarded recently to engineering faculty include the following:

Dr. Mun Choi (School of Engineering) – Northeast Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Senior Alliance, National Science Foundation/EHR/University of Massachusetts, $330,001, 9/11-8/16

Dr. Shalabh Gupta (Electrical & Computer Engineering) – Prognostic and Health Management of Hamilton Systems in Boeing 787, United Technologies-Hamilton Sundstrand, $100,000, 1/12-12/12

Dr. Hanchen Huang (Mechanical Engineering) – Nuclear Fellowship Program Applied Research in Radiation Damage and Mitigation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)/University of Hartford, $185,772, 4/12-5/15

Dr. Horea Ilies (Mechanical Engineering) – Medial Zones: Foundations and Engineering Applications, National Science Foundation, $375,000, 9/12-8/15

Dr. Lanbo Liu (Civil & Environmental Engineering) – University of Connecticut – USGS Cooperative Agreement: Cooperative Hydrogeophysics and Water-Resources Research, DOI/US Geological Survey, $218,027, 6/12-5/17

Dr. Jeffrey McCutcheon (Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering) – Polymeric Membranes for Emerging Separation Processes, Solvay Specialty Polymers, $102,679, 1/12-4/13

Dr. Peter Willett (Electrical & Computer Engineering) – Data Reduction and Fusion for Remote Diagnostics, NASA/National Aeronautics & Space Administration/Qualtech Systems Inc., $180,000, 12/09-8/11

Dr. Peng Zhang (Center for Clean Energy Engineering)Evaluation of Selective Hardening Options, Northeast Utilities, $147,012, 3/12-10/12